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LAWRENCE J. DRAGUN AND LINDA S. DRAGUN v. VINCENT VOLK AND DIANA VOLK (04/29/83)

decided: April 29, 1983.

LAWRENCE J. DRAGUN AND LINDA S. DRAGUN, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS,
v.
VINCENT VOLK AND DIANA VOLK, HIS WIFE, APPELLEES



No. 47 W.D. Appeal Docket 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania of April 23, 1982 at No. 968, Pittsburgh, 1980, Affirming the Order of August 28, 1980, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at No. G.D. 78-3933, Pa. Superior Ct. , 447 A.2d 1381 (1982)

COUNSEL

Richard C. Angino, Benjamin & Angino, Harrisburg, David M. Moran, Behrend, Aronson & Morrow, Pittsburgh, for Lawrence J. Dragun, et ux.

Charles Kirshner, Rosenberg, Kirshner & Kaleugher, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Thomas J. Finarelli, Liebert, Short, Fitzpatrick & Lavin, Philadelphia, for amicus curiae, The Ins. Federation of Pennsylvania, Inc.

David M. McCormick, Timothy Stalker, Philadelphia, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Ass'n.

Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ.

Author: Hutchinson

[ 500 Pa. Page 615]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellants seek recovery in trespass for injuries each suffered in an auto accident with a car owned by appellee Vincent Volk, operated by appellee Diana Volk.

We granted appellants leave to appeal Superior Court's order affirming summary judgment against them for failure to meet the seven hundred fifty dollar threshold in medical and dental expenses which our automobile no-fault insurance act requires for court actions based on tort. In determining whether appellants met the threshold the lower courts treated physical therapy expenses as rehabilitation costs per se, subject to the $100.00 ceiling on diagnostic x-ray and rehabilitation costs. Upon review we hold physical therapy expenses are not necessarily rehabilitation costs and therefore remand the record to Common Pleas for determination of whether appellant's physical therapy expenses were rehabilitation costs or reasonable medical services under the circumstances of this case as it develops.

Appellant Linda Dragun said in her complaint she incurred medical and dental expenses in excess of $750.00, the threshold amount set by the Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Act as a prerequisite to tort recovery. Act of July 19, 1974, P.L. 489, No. 176, § 301, 40 P.S. § 1009.301 (Supp. 1982). Discovery showed a portion of these expenses were for physical therapy given at the direction of one of Linda

[ 500 Pa. Page 616]

Dragun's treating physicians during a relatively short period of time immediately after the accident.*fn1 Appellant's dental and medical bills were $695.47*fn2 and ...


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