No. 1297 Philadelphia 1981, Appeal from the Order of May 1, 1981, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Law No. 3565 September, 1980.
Dennis Veneziale, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Eugene A. Spector, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Johnson, Watkins and Lipez, JJ.
[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 388]
This appeal asks us to decide whether a passenger who has recovered damages under the liability provisions of an insurance policy held by the operator of a motor vehicle may thereafter recover the same damages by compelling arbitration under the uninsured motorist coverage of the same policy. We think not and reverse the order of the common pleas court confirming the arbitration award.
On December 17, 1978, an automobile driven by Rene Lucas collided with an uninsured automobile at Walnut and Fifty-Sixth Streets in Philadelphia. Constance Rossi was a passenger in the automobile driven by Lucas when it was involved in the collision. Rossi sustained injuries as a result of the collision. Subsequently, she settled and released any claims she may have had against Rene Lucas. The release inter alia contained the following language:
Constance Rossi reserves the right to explore any and all avenues to recover further and obtain full and complete compensation for her injuries and damages, including
[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 389]
her right to pursue any claims available against any insurance carrier affording to plaintiff uninsured motorist coverage . . . .
In exchange for executing the release, she received $7,500.00 from State Farm Automobile Insurance Co., the liability insurance carrier for Lucas.
After accepting the $7,500.00, Rossi made a claim under the uninsured motorist (UM) coverage of the Lucas policy. State Farm refused payment. Rossi compelled the appointment of arbitrators under the arbitration clause of the policy. The arbitration was conducted pursuant to the Act of April 25, 1927 P.L. 381 No. 248, 5 P.S. § 161 et seq. An arbitration ...