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Graber v Lintz; (COA - UNP; 6/16/2016; RB # 3544)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 326646; Unpublished
Judges Sawyer, Hoekstra and Wilder; Unanimous, Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion 


STATUTORY INDEXING:
Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of/Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]
Exception for Unreasonably Parked Vehicles [§3106(1)(a)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:
Not Applicable


CASE SUMMARY:
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals held that a claim for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits was properly dismissed because plaintiff’s injury, which occurred when he tripped over ruts that defendant’s vehicle had made in his yard, did not arise from the “ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of the uninsured automobile as an automobile.”

Plaintiff heard a loud noise in the night and went outside to find a truck driven by Terri Lintz in his yard. The truck had made large ruts in the yard when it drove through. After calling police, plaintiff returned outside and was looking for Lintz when he tripped over a rut in the yard and fell into the truck. Plaintiff claimed the fall aggravated his back injury and that he eventually needed surgery. Neither Lintz nor the car’s owner had no-fault insurance, and so plaintiff sought UM coverage under his no-fault policy with defendant Farm Bureau Insurance. Farm Bureau moved for summary disposition. The trial court granted the motion, ruling the motor vehicle was not being used as a motor vehicle at the time of plaintiff’s injury and, therefore, he was not entitled to UM benefits.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, pointing out that plaintiff was injured at the time that Lintz’s vehicle had already come to rest in the yard. Therefore, the Court said, the “arising out of” analysis under both MCL 500.3105 and MCL 500.3106’s parked vehicle exception had to focus on the vehicle after it came to rest, and not as it drove through plaintiff’s yard and made the ruts.

Looking at the language of the §3106 parked vehicle exception, the Court of Appeals found the risk that plaintiff encountered was not associated with how the vehicle was parked. The Court concluded:

“The danger posed was the potential of being injured by stumbling over or being tripped by the ruts in the yard. Appellant’s theory of the case is akin to the rejected ‘occasion for the injury’ test. In other words, appellant’s argument is essentially that the ruts would never have been created if the truck had not come into his yard, and if the ruts were not created, he would not have been injured tripping over them. This is not the risk and resultant injury that the exception was designed to compensate. The truck’s involvement in appellant’s injury is no more than incidental.”


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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