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Man struck while inspecting his (uninsured) vehicle at stop sign is eligible for PIP benefits.

Normally, the operator of an uninsured vehicle involved in a collision is not eligible to collect PIP benefits.  In Knox v. Auto Club Group Insurance Co., the Court of Appeals relied upon Supreme Court precedent to force the Auto Club to pay benefits it refused to pay.

Knox observed his ex-girlfriend parked in a pickup truck near his apartment.  He concluded that she was planning on vandalizing his van and decided to move it.  When he drove away from the apartment, however, the girlfriend followed him in her pickup.  At the intersection of Ballenger Highway, he stopped at a stop sign and the ex- drove her vehicle in to the rear of the van.  He put it in park and went to the rear of the van to inspect the damage:  she promptly struck him and the van with her pickup, causing him injury, prior to fleeing the scene.

Auto Club was assigned to respond to Knox's request for PIP benefits.  It maintained that his vehicle was "involved" in the collision, since it was parked partly on the road and therefore was therefore "parked in such a way as to cause unreasonable risk of the bodily injury."  The Court pointed to the Miller v. AutoOwners decision where the Supreme Court refused to apply a bright-line "on the road--unsafely parked" distinction.  In Miller, the Court had refused to consider a State Police cruiser unsafely parked, where it protruded into the traveled lane and was struck by a motorcylist.  In the instant case, even though Knox's vehicle was "parked" in the road, the Court concluded that under the circumstances and in broad daylight, it was not parked in a way as to cause unreasonable risk of injury."

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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