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RUSSELL AND JEAN MARTIN v. PENNSYLVANIA ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN (05/08/86)

filed: May 8, 1986.

RUSSELL AND JEAN MARTIN, H/W AND FREDDIE AND SHIRLEY WATKINS, APPELLANTS,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN



Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 4079 March Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

Neal Cohen, Philadelphia, for appellants.

David M. McCormick, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Brosky, Johnson and Hester, JJ.

Author: Brosky

[ 353 Pa. Super. Page 303]

This case is before us on appeal from entry of summary judgment in favor of defendant/appellee. The sole issue for our determination is whether the trial court erred in finding that appellants' claims under the Pennsylvania Nofault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act*fn1 (hereinafter the Act) were barred by the statute of limitations contained in the Act. We find that the trial court erred in finding the claims barred, and we therefore reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Appellants Freddie Watkins and Russell Martin, on March 17, 1978, were passengers in a motor vehicle owned by the City of Philadelphia (a self-insurer) when the vehicle was allegedly struck from behind by an uninsured motor vehicle. The two men, along with their wives, pursuant to ยง 108(a)(1) of the Act,*fn2 presented claims to the defendant/appellee, the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan (hereinafter PACP), for uninsured motorist benefits.*fn3 The claims were denied, and appellants filed a complaint in

[ 353 Pa. Super. Page 304]

    trespass, alleging that the PACP was negligent for failing to assign their claims to an appropriate insurance carrier for payment of uninsured motorist benefits. Appellee filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that appellants' claims were barred by the statute of limitations and also that the claims were barred because the two men were injured while occupying a self-insured vehicle. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment, holding that the statute of limitations barred the claims "especially where Plaintiffs admittedly ascertained the uninsured status of the tortfeasor more than two (2) years prior to the institution of the case at bar." We find that the date appellants learned of the uninsured status of the vehicle which struck theirs is not pertinent to a determination of when the statute of limitations began to run.

Section 106(c)(1) of the No-fault Act provides (in pertinent part):

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.

Section 108(c)(1) of the Act provides:

Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, an individual authorized to obtain basic loss benefits through the assigned claims plan shall notify the assigned claims bureau of his claim within the time that would have been allowed pursuant to section 106(c) of this act for commencing an action for basic loss benefits against any obligor, other than an assigned claims bureau, in ...


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