Owner using parked, uninsured car as "shelter" cannot collect PIP benefits
The Court of Appeals ruled on February 23 that Dena Gamble, a minor, could not collect PIP benefits from Farmers Insurance Company. Gamble was an occupant of a motor vehicle registered in her name, when it was struck by another vehicle. She suffered injuries and attempted to collect for her medical expenses through the insurance company having statutory priority for the collision. The Court rejected her claim, finding that she was ineligible for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under the No Fault Act because she was occupying her own, uninsured vehicle and that vehicle was "involved in the accident." The Court held that it did not matter that Gamble was using the parked vehicle as a structure for shelter at the time of her injury, rather than using it "as a motor vehicle." On many occasions, insurers have avoided the application of the No Fault Act by resorting to the statutory proscription that a vehicle must be in use "as a motor vehicle" for the Act to apply. The Court determined that this language does not apply to the non-insured exemption from PIP benefits.