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PHILOMENA FLOCZAK v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY (07/24/81)

filed: July 24, 1981.

PHILOMENA FLOCZAK
v.
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 412 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Action - Law, Philadelphia County at No. 3549 August Term 1978

COUNSEL

M. George Mooradian, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Charles S. Lieberman, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Spaeth, Brosky and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 289 Pa. Super. Page 440]

The issue presented in this case is whether a claim for basic work loss benefits under the Pennsylvania No-Fault Insurance Act*fn1 may be commenced by petition and rule. We hold that it may not be but that it must be commenced by praecipe for writ of summons or a complaint, as provided by Pa.R.C.P. 1007.

Appellee alleges that on December 18, 1976, she was hurt in an automobile accident, and as a result, incurred $2,326.75 in medical expenses and lost $8,082.90 in wages. She sought recovery under an insurance policy issued by appellant to the driver of the automobile in which she had been a passenger. When appellant failed to compensate her, appellee, on October 30, 1978, filed a petition and rule seeking payment of no-fault benefits, plus interest, attorney's fees, and costs. Appellant filed preliminary objections to the petition, including a motion to strike the petition, pleading that "[p]ursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1007 the proper method of bringing this action is by Summons or Complaint." (R.R. 6a) The lower court denied the motion to strike, stating:

[ 289 Pa. Super. Page 441]

It is our view that the intent of the Legislature as expressed in its findings, declared purpose, and provisions for prompt payment of no-fault benefits is to permit a claimant to proceed against an obligor-carrier in a relatively speedy and inexpensive manner to compel prompt payment. The commencement of a claim by petition and rule would accomplish these ends. Slip op. at 8.

We granted appellant's petition for permission to appeal. 42 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 702(b).

We are unable to accept the lower court's reasoning.*fn2 Section 106 of the No-Fault Act provides:

Time limitations on actions to recover benefits. --

(1) If no-fault benefits have not been paid for loss arising otherwise than from death, an action therefor may be commenced not later than two years after the victim suffers the loss and either knows, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that the loss was caused by the accident, or not later than four years after the accident, whichever is earlier. If no-fault benefits have been paid for loss arising otherwise than from death, an action for further benefits, other than ...


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