No. 277 PITTSBURGH, 1982, Appeal from the Judgment in the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Cambria County, No. 1980-3909.
James D. Wolfe, Johnstown, for appellant.
James F. O'Malley, Johnstown, for appellee.
Rowley, Wieand and Hester, JJ.
[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 301]
The sole issue presented in this appeal is whether the estate of the deceased victim is entitled to recover work loss benefits pursuant to the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act (hereinafter No-fault Act).*fn1 The lower court denied appellant's claim for these benefits. We hereby reverse.
Dennis J. Colosimo was killed in an automobile accident on December 8, 1979. At the time of the accident, the decedent had been employed; however, no one was dependent upon him for support. Appellant, as administrator of the decedent's estate, sought payment of work loss benefits under the personal automobile insurance policy which the victim had maintained with Nationwide Insurance Company, appellee herein. Appellant's claim was denied. The lower court ruled that a no-fault survivor was necessary for appellant to maintain an action for work-loss benefits. Since appellant concededly had no survivors according to the language of the No-fault Act, the lower court dismissed
[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 302]
the complaint. Following the denial of exceptions, a timely appeal was filed.
The No-fault Act established a comprehensive compensation system for persons who sustain losses resulting from automobile accidents. "Basic loss" benefits, that is, benefits provided in accordance with the No-fault Act for the net loss sustained by a victim,*fn2 are available to "any victim or any survivor of a deceased victim" of an automobile accident.*fn3 One type of "basic loss" covered by the No-fault Act is "work loss," which is defined as:
(A) loss of gross income of a victim, as calculated pursuant to the provisions of section 205 of this act; and
(B) reasonable expenses of a victim for hiring a substitute to perform self-employment services, thereby mitigating loss of income, or for hiring special help, thereby enabling a victim to work and mitigate loss of income.
40 P.S. § 1009.103. Appellee argued, and the lower court agreed, that the decedent's estate was not entitled to receive work loss benefits, which are limited to a victim or any "survivor" of a ...