Michigan Millers loses unsupported argument against paying No Fault PIP benefits; must pay attorney fees
In Adanalic and Spectrum Health, et al., v. Harco National Insurance and Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company, the trial judge concluded that Michigan Millers owed PIP benefits to a truck driver who was unloading material from a disabled semitrailer when he was hurt. He had strapped himself to a pallet and was transferring the pallet from the trailer to his van when it fell off the ramp, causing him to suffer injury.
Michigan Millers argued that since Adanalic's injuries were suffered when he struck the ground, the statutory provision that required it to pay medical expenses incurred while unloading and in contact with property from a parked vehicle, did not apply. The higher court rejected this claim, pointing out that it was a blatant attempt to re-write the No Fault law.
Michigan Millers also argued that it should not owe PIP benefits since Adanalic was properly deemed an "employee" who should have received workers compensation benefits instead of PIP benefits. The Court panel pointed to the statutory language providing the insurer a credit only if workers compensation benefits were "available" to Adanalic: since he was deemed an independent contractor and denied workers compensation benefits, Michigan Millers was not entitled to the exemption it claimed. Lastly, the Court overturned the trial judge's failure to award legal fees to the plaintiffs: the Court noted that there was no legal support for Michigan Millers' arguments, which were "unreasonable" and "wholly inconsistent with the no fault act."