No. 3005 PHILADELPHIA, 1981, Appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 698 June Term, 1981.
Edwin P. Smith, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Jeffrey A. Less, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Hester, Cavanaugh and Popovich, JJ. Popovich, J., files a concurring opinion.
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 303]
Appellant, David Tierney, filed a Complaint in Equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on August 7, 1981 to compel appellee, Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan, to assign his claim for benefits to a participating insurer under the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act,*fn1 hereinafter "the Act". Appellee's Demurrer and Motion to Strike were duly considered and the trial court dismissed appellant's Complaint with prejudice by an Order of Court, dated November 17, 1981. Appellant filed this timely appeal from said Order.
On August 17, 1980, appellant, a Pennsylvania resident, was a passenger in a motor vehicle operated by another Pennsylvania resident. The vehicle struck a public utility pole in New Jersey causing appellant to incur severe personal injuries. Appellant, and all other members of his household were uninsured under the Act. Additionally, the automobile was not a "secured vehicle" as that term is defined in 40 P.S. § 1009.103. As a result, appellant sought benefits under the Assigned Claims Plan provision of the Act. 40 P.S. § 1009.108. Appellee refused to assign the claim due to its opinion that appellant's injuries were not compensable under the Act.
In response to an alleged need to circumvent the expensive, lengthy and cumbersome common law recourse of pursuing motor-vehicle accident claims in the courts, the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted the Pennsylvania
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 304]
No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act in 1974. It was designed with the purpose of providing a "low-cost, comprehensive and fair system"*fn2 of compensating victims of motor vehicle accidents for damages in the nature of medical and rehabilitation expenses, work loss, replacement services and survivor's losses.*fn3 Since the Act's effective date in July, 1975, "every owner of a motor vehicle which is registered or which is operated in this Commonwealth by the owner or with his permission" must secure the vehicle for the "payment of basic loss benefits" and for payment of statutorily-designated sums which the owner or authorized operator may be liable to pay as damages for personal injury to any one person and for property destruction. 40 P.S. § 1009.104(a). Such security is generally provided through a contract of insurance, and in the event security is not provided by the owner, the registration is forfeited and operation of the vehicle is prohibited. 40 P.S. § 1009.104(b).
An "insured" is an individual who is a named insured in a contract of insurance containing terms in compliance with the Act, a spouse or relative of a named insured, a minor in the named insured's custody or a minor in the custody of a relative of the named insured providing certain conditions are met. 40 P.S. § 1009.103. There is no dispute here with respect to appellant's and the operator's uninsured status; both failed to qualify as "insureds."
Appellant contends that he is nevertheless entitled to no-fault benefits as an uninsured under the Assigned Claims Plan provision of the Act. As a victim of a motor vehicle accident, appellant may be entitled to basic benefits through the Assigned Claims Plan, providing "basic loss insurance is not applicable to the injury for a reason other than those specified in the provisions on ineligible claimants." 40 P.S. § 1009.108(a)(1)(A). Failure to maintain ...