No. 598 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Civil Division, at No. 148 November, 1976
Morris M. Shuster, Philadelphia, for appellant.
George J. McConchie, Media, for appellee.
Spaeth, Brosky and Lipez, JJ.
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This case is before us on appeal from a grant of summary judgment to appellee insurance company in a suit brought by appellant to recover benefits under a policy issued pursuant to the Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Act.*fn1 Appellant's decedent was killed when an explosion occurred in the motor home she was occupying. Gas was leaking from the line to the refrigerator in the motor home and the explosion happened when the oven was lit during the preparation of dinner. The motor home was parked in a parking lot of the manufacturer of the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Appellant contended below and now argues to us, that this accident arose out of the use of a motor vehicle and that the policy should therefore be interpreted as providing coverage. She also argues that appellee should be precluded from rejecting her claim because it did not comply with the terms of 40 P.S. § 1009.106(a)(5), regarding the rejection of claims. We do not agree with either of appellant's contentions and therefore affirm the order.
Appellant claims that her decedent is a deceased victim as defined in the Act, at 40 P.S. § 1009.103. "Victim" is defined as an individual who suffers injury arising out of
[ 292 Pa. Super. Page 296]
the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle; "deceased victim" means a victim suffering death resulting from injury. The definitions of victim and deceased victim are contained in the same paragraph; clearly a deceased victim's injuries must also arise out of the use or maintenance of a motor vehicle.
Section 103 of the Act defines the term "maintenance or use of a motor vehicle" in pertinent part as "maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a vehicle. . ." (emphasis added). Key to our determination in the present case is whether the use of the motor home, which is a vehicle (see 75 Pa.C.S. § 102) was as a vehicle.
We will begin our inquiry as we did in Dull v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, 278 Pa. Super. 569, 420 A.2d 688 (1980), with a discussion of the intent of the legislature. In Dull, we wrote,
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, 277 Pa. Super. 149, 419 A.2d 705 (1980); Hayes v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 261 Pa. Super. 171, 395 A.2d 1370 (1978); Singer v. Sheppard, 33 Pa. Commw. 276, 381 A.2d 1007 (1978). The Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1901 et seq., which provides that "[w]ords and phrases shall be construed . . . according to their common and approved usage," id. § 1903, also provides that statutes such as the No-fault Act "shall be liberally construed to effect their objects and to promote justice." Id. § 1928(c). However, "[w]hen the words of a statute are clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit." Id. § 1921(b). In Heffner v. Allstate Insurance Co., 265 Pa. Super. 181, 401 A.2d 1160 (1979), our Court ...