Injured owner of towed, inoperable vehicle cannot collect PIP benefits from at-fault's insurer
Earlvin Walker's car became inoperable, so he had it towed to a garage. He deemed the quoted cost of repair unreasonable, so he hired a tow company to tow the vehicle to his home 15 minutes away. In the meantime, he had canceled his insurance coverage on the inoperable vehicle. While the vehicle was being towed, the tow strap broke and Walker attempted to help the tow truck driver push the car out of the road. While engaged in this process, however, Walker was struck by a car operated by Bridget Rutowski and badly injured.
Walker sued Rutowski and her insurer, Titan Insurance, to collect his PIP benefits (basically medical expenses and up to three years of lost wages). The Court concluded that since Walker's own car was involved in the incident and uninsured, he was statutorily precluded from receiving PIP benefits or non-economic damages. The Judges of the Court of Appeals concluded that "fault" for statutory non-compliance was not an issue and that Walker was barred from benefits, regardless of the reasonableness of his own conduct.