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Court upholds denial of some PIP benefits; reinstates partial claim

Weela Lowell caught two men breaking into his garage and chased them into a car parked in his driveway.  He struck the windshield of the car--breaking that hand--and then suffered wrist and rib injuries when the thieves dragged him to the ground while driving away.  He sought No Fault PIP benefits (medical and wages, basically) from Progressive, his insurer, arguing that his injuries were causally related to the use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.  Progressive argued that use of a vehicle was merely "fortuitous" to his injuries and was granted summary disposition by the trial judge.

Lowell appealed and the higher court partially concurred in his argument.  It upheld the denial of any medical coverage for the injuries that Lowell suffered when he struck the windshield of the stationary vehicle, but remanded the case for a jury decision as to the injuries suffered when the vehicle was in motion.  Since the car was in motion, "transporting" the thieves when Lowell was dragged to the ground, reasonable minds could conclude that Lowell's injuries resulted from the use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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