No fault insurers fight over which is responsible for PIP expenses
Magnolia Hellams was forced to sue Home Owners Insurance Company and Indiana Insurance Company after both declined to pay her auto-related injury medical expenses. Home Owners insured Hellams' vehicle while Indiana insured the Funeral Home limousine she was occupying when it rear-ended the hearse in front of her during a funeral procession.
Normally, a carrier-for-hire must pay PIP benefits ahead of the victim's personal policy, but Indiana argued that the limousine service it provided was merely incidental to the businsess of the insured Pye Funeral Home, and therefore Home Owners should be the priority payor. It cited a case where a day-care provider was transporting two children in her personal vehicle as a favor for their mother as binding precedent.
The Court rejected Indiana's analysis. It pointed out that limousine service was provided in more than half of Pye's funerals and was an "integral" part of the business, even though it was not Pye's primary function. Therefore, Pye's insurer was obligated to pay PIP benefits ahead of Hellam's personal insurer.