No. 270 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division of Washington County, at No. 376 January Term 1979.
Joseph F. Grochmal, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Daniel M. Berger, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Spaeth, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ.
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 118]
This is an appeal from an order denying a petition for leave to intervene as use plaintiff in a trespass action. We affirm.
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 119]
Tony Vespaziani, while in the course of his employment, was injured in a motor vehicle accident. As a result, he received workmen's compensation benefits from The Transport Insurance Company. When Vespaziani brought an action in trespass against the driver and owner of the other vehicle, Transport filed a petition for leave to intervene as use plaintiff.*fn1
The petition alleged that Transport is subrogated to Vespaziani's rights against the driver and owner of the other vehicle "to the extent that Workmen's Compensation Benefits paid and payable to Vespaziani are in excess of Basic Loss Benefits as construed under the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle [Insurance] Act [Act of July 19, 1974, P.L. 489, No. 176, Art. I, § 101, 40 P.S. § 1009.101 et seq (Supp.1981-22)]." Petition, para. 10. The lower court denied the petition, and Transport took this appeal.
The No-Fault Act "abolished" Vespaziani's right to sue the driver and owner of the other vehicle, with certain exceptions. 40 P.S. § 1009.301(a). One of these exceptions is that the driver and owner of the other vehicle "remain liable for loss which is not compensated because of any limitation in accordance with section 202(a), (b), (c), or (d) of this Act." 40 P.S. § 1009.301(a)(4). Section 202 is entitled "Basic loss benefits." 40 P.S. § 1009.202. Section 202(b) provides that "[w]ork loss . . . shall be provided . . . up to a
[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 120]
total amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000)." 40 P.S. § 1009.202(b).*fn2
In other words -- and surely Dante would have condemned the authors of the No-Fault Act to be lost in a labyrinth of their own devising -- if one is hurt in an automobile accident, he has no right to sue the other driver, unless he has suffered a work loss of over $15,000. If he has suffered a work loss of over $15,000, he may sue the other driver for so much of his loss as ...