No. 2941 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Philadelphia County at No. 4778 July 1980.
James A. Hamilton, III, Philadelphia, for appellant.
James C. Haggerty, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, Rowley and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 315 Pa. Super. Page 339]
In this case, the appellant, Angela Fidelibus, was injured in a motor vehicle accident on January 28, 1976. Her no fault automobile insurance carrier was State Automobile Insurance Association, the appellee herein. The appellant claimed basic loss benefits from the appellee and payments were made by the appellee until March 3, 1978, when the last payment was made. Subsequently, the appellant made a further claim against the appellee, which claim was not paid. On August 1, 1980, the appellant filed a complaint in assumpsit against the appellee. The court below granted the appellee's motion for summary judgment and the appellant has appealed to this court from the order granting the motion.
Summary judgment is to be granted only in the clearest of cases, where the right is clear and free from doubt. Thompson Case Co. v. Pike Coal Co., 488 Pa. 198, 412 A.2d 466 (1979). Under Pa.R.C.P. 1035(b) summary judgment may be granted only if there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." In the instant case there is no dispute as to material facts, and our inquiry is limited to the legal question of interpreting the statute of limitations as set forth in the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act, Act of July 19, 1974, P.L. 489, No. 176, 40 P.S. § 1009.101 et seq. The court below granted summary judgment on the basis of the following statute of limitations set forth in the no-fault act at 40 P.S. § 1009.106(c)(1) which states:
(c) 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
[ 315 Pa. Super. Page 340]
otherwise than from death, an action for further benefits, other than survivor's benefits, by either the same or another claimant; may be commenced not later than two years after the last payment of benefits.
There is no doubt that the appellant claimed additional no-fault benefits more than two years after the last payment of such benefits. The court below properly determined that the instant claim was barred by the no-fault statute of limitations. Platts v. Government Employees Insurance Company. 301 Pa. Super. 379, 447 A.2d 1017, 1018 (1982) strictly applied the statute of limitations that we are dealing with in this case and the court stated at 301 Pa. Super. 382, 447 A.2d 1018:
The purpose of any statute of limitations is to expedite litigation and discourage delay and the presentation of stale claims. Insurance Company of North America v. Carnahan, 446 Pa. 48, 284 A.2d 728, 729 (1971). One who asserts a cause of action against another has a duty to use all reasonable diligence necessary to inform himself of facts and circumstances upon which the right of recovery is based, and to ...