Dispute between two insurers over duty to pay PIP benefits is resolved.
Jerald Sours was injured in a car accident. He was occupying an uninsured vehicle owned and operated by Nakeysha Vond. While Ms. Vond was "uninsured" (and therefore could not collect any PIP benefits for her own injuries), her father--with whom she lived--owned a vehicle that was insured with Westfield Insurance Company. Westfield denied liability for Sours' PIP expenses (wages, services and medical) and Titan Insurance Co. was forced to pay them under the Assigned Claims Plan. Titan then sued Westfield for reimbursement, arguing that Westfield was the insurer "first in line" to pay PIP benefits to a passenger injured in a car operated by Vond under the statutory language of the no fault act.The Court noted that while Ms. Vond was not a "named insured" under the Westfield policy, she was a resident of her father's household and therefore covered by the policy for purposes of MCL 500.3114. Under that provision, although Westfield did not owe PIP benefits to Vond, because she was driving an owned, uninsured vehicle, she was an "insured operator" in terms of assigning coverage for an occupant's injuries. Therefore, Westfield stepped ahead of Titan as the "assigned" carrier and must pay the occupants' PIP benefits. The Court noted that this precise issue had been decided previously, offering no basis for Westfield's failure to pay benefits.