Farmers Insurance loses action for reimbursement of PIP benefits paid to occupant of parked, uninsured car
Felicya Yvonne Thomas allowed the insurance on her car to lapse, but drove it to a friend's house one evening and parked it on the street. Her sister accompanied her and was sitting in the parked car when it was struck by a hit-and-run motorist. Through the assigned claims plan, Farmers Insurance paid $160,000.00 in PIP medical expense to the sister, and sued Thomas for reimbursement. Thomas's attorneys noted that since the vehicle was legally parked at the time of the collision, Thomas owed no duty to reimburse Farmers for PIP benefits paid--a debt she would have owed if she had been operating the uninsured vehicle at the time of the collision. The trial court agreed that Thomas' argument was consistent with the plain language of the statute and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of Farmers' lawsuit.