No. 19 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, at No. 6531 of 1977, Civil Division.
Robert B. Smith, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Steven H. Wyckoff, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Spaeth, Hoffman, and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 278 Pa. Super. Page 570]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in concluding that he was not a "victim" as defined by the Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act*fn1 and thus not entitled to basic loss benefits from appellee, his automobile insurance carrier. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the court below.
On September 26, 1975, appellant drove his automobile, with a boat attached to the roof, to Keystone Lake in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Upon arriving at the lake, appellant parked his car, got out, and began to remove the boat from the car roof. As he was standing behind the car unloading the boat, appellant fell because of the condition of the land and sustained injuries. Appellant instituted this action to recover basic loss benefits pursuant to an insurance policy issued by appellee. Appellee's defense was
[ 278 Pa. Super. Page 571]
that appellant was not entitled to basic loss benefits because he was not a victim as defined in the No-fault Act. Because the facts were undisputed, both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The lower court granted appellee's motion, and appellant took this appeal.
Section 201 of the No-fault Act, 40 P.S. § 1009.201, provides in part: "If the accident resulting in injury occurs in this Commonwealth, any victim . . . is entitled to receive basic loss benefits in accordance with the provisions of this act." The No-fault Act defines "victim" as "an individual who suffers injury arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle . . . ." 40 P.S. § 1009.103. The No-fault Act further states:
"Maintenance or use of a motor vehicle" means maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a vehicle, including, incident to its maintenance or use as a vehicle, occupying, entering into, or alighting from it. Maintenance or use of a motor vehicle does not include:
Appellant argues that he was a "victim" under the No-fault Act because his conduct in unloading the boat occurred while he either was "occupying" or "alighting from" his vehicle. In construing the statutory definition of "victim," we begin by ascertaining the intent of the legislature. The purpose of the No-fault Act is "to establish at reasonable cost . . . a Statewide system of prompt and adequate basic loss benefits for motor vehicle accident victims . . . ." 40 P.S. § 1009.102(b). See DuBose v. McCoy, 275 Pa. Super. 246, 419 A.2d 705 (1980); Hayes v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 261 Pa. Super. 171, 395 A.2d 1370 (1978); Singer v. Sheppard, 33 Pa. ...