no additional guidance. That is, the policy provisions track applicable law and no further additions or restrictions are imposed by the policy. See Document 21 of the Record at 2.
Recovery of no-fault benefits in this case depends on whether the injury can be said to have arisen out of the "maintenance or use" of a motor vehicle. See The Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act § 1:4.2 at 62 (1979). Indeed, the No-Fault Act provides that "victims" are entitled to receive basic loss benefits in accordance with the Act for injuries resulting from accidents occurring in Pennsylvania. "'Victim' is defined . . . as 'an individual who suffers injury arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.'" See Schenk v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Co., 346 Pa. Super. 42, 44, 498 A.2d 1361, 1362 (1985). Maintenance or use of a motor vehicle is defined to mean maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a vehicle, including, incident to its maintenance or use as a vehicle, occupying, entering into, or alighting from it. Id. In this regard, the parties have submitted a joint statement of facts as to which there was no dispute. Those facts reveal the following.
On December 29, 1984, Brian J. Brack incurred various injuries while performing tasks as a sub-contractor for Robert Green, t/a B & G Carpentry, at the premises of Kane Warehousing, Inc (Kane). At the time of the accident, plaintiff was an insured under the terms of a policy of automobile insurance issued to his mother by defendant. On that date, at the instruction of Robert Green, plaintiff was standing on a scaffolding erected to receive and put in place a frame in the window of Kane. The wooden frame was being hoisted to plaintiff's position on the scaffolding by means of a rope and pulley. One end of the rope was attached to the wooden frame, while the other end of the rope was tied to the side of Robert Green's truck. To effect the hoisting of the wooden frame to plaintiff's position on the scaffolding, Robert Green drove the truck, to which one end of the rope was attached, away from the scaffolding. While Robert Green was operating his truck to accomplish this task, the wooden frame struck the scaffolding, causing plaintiff to fall to the ground thereby incurring his injuries. See Document 9 of the Record.
Under applicable provisions of the No-Fault Act, there must be some connection, more than mere chance or happenstance, between the injury sustained and the insured vehicle. See Document 10 of the Record at 2 (citing Schweitzer v. Aetna Life and Casualty Co., 306 Pa. Super. 300, 452 A.2d 735 (1982)). In cases involving the scope of the clause "arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use", the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that the required connection between the accident and the vehicle need not rise to the level of proximate causation, but that "but for" causation is enough to satisfy the policy provision. See Allstate Insurance Co. v. Sentry Insurance, 563 F. Supp. 629 (E.D. Pa. 1983), aff'd, 729 F.2d 1445 (3d Cir. 1984) (citing Manufacturers Casualty Insurance Co. v. Goodville Mutual Casualty Co., 403 Pa. 603, 170 A.2d 571 (1961)). As the Pennsylvania Superior Court noted, "'but for' causation, i.e., a cause and result relationship, is enough to satisfy this provision of the policy." Schweitzer v. Aetna Life and Casualty Co., supra, at 303, 452 A.2d at 737.
In this case, the court finds that there is a sufficient causal connection between the use of the truck in question and plaintiff's injuries to warrant a finding of coverage. This comports with the general policy of construing the No-Fault Act liberally in favor of extending coverage to an insured. See Cerrato v. Holy Redeemer Hospital, 342 Pa. Super. 551, 493 A.2d 728 (1985) (under No-Fault Act court should construe the act liberally in favor of extending coverage to an insured); Acands, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 764 F.2d 968 (3d Cir. 1985).
In addition, the court finds support for its decision in the Pennsylvania Superior Court's holding in Fox v. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co., 314 Pa. Super. 559, 461 A.2d 299 (1983). In Fox, the court was required to determine whether a plaintiff was a victim within the meaning of the No-Fault Act. Recognizing that the No-Fault Act defined "victim" as an individual who suffers injuries arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, the court found coverage. The facts in Fox indicated that a motor vehicle crashed into the side of plaintiff's home and came to rest in the living room. Upon hearing the crash, plaintiff immediately rose from her bed in the upstairs portion of the house and started down the steps to the living room, whereby she tripped over some debris which had been thrown onto the steps by the crash, injuring herself. Similarly, in this case, the truck pulled the rope which caused a wooden frame to collide with the scaffolding, causing the scaffolding to topple over and injure plaintiff. Concedely, in Fox, the court relied on the fact that a motor vehicle accident had occurred. On the other hand, in Fox, the court recognized that at the time of the victim's injury no automobile was operating. While in this case it is arguable that a motor vehicle accident did not occur, clearly, at the time of plaintiff's injury the truck was operating. Moreover, the striking of the scaffolding by the frame as a result of the movement of the truck could constitute an accident within the Fox definition.
Similarly, in Schenk v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Co., supra, the court held that when the No-Fault Act specifies injury arising out of the maintenance or use of a motor vehicle, the necessary implication of the language is that the use of the car be contemporaneous with the occurrence of the injury. Id. at 1363. As stated, the facts of this case clearly establish that the use of the vehicle was contemporaneous with the injury.
Finally, in Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Amabile, 11 Pa. D & C 3d 14 (Phila. Co. 1978), disapproved on other grounds, Walls v. City of Pittsburgh, 292 Pa. Super. 18, 436 A.2d 698 (1981), the court held that the phrase "arising out of" should be interpreted in a broad and comprehensive sense to mean "originating from" or "growing out of" the use of the automobile. Id. at 20. In Amabile, the victim was standing on a road when a car hit a television cable being strung across the street causing the cable to snap and hit the victim. The court stated:
Minor plaintiff was injured immediately after the car struck the electrical cable. Had this not happened insured's minor son would not have been injured by the electrical cable. It is not necessary that these injuries be sustained while the minor was a passenger in the car or that he be actually struck by the car. It is sufficient that his injuries arose from, or were incident to and resulted from the striking of the cable by the car, as was the case here.
Id. Cf. Lewis v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 541 F. Supp. 951 (M.D. Pa. 1982) (Conaboy, J.) (No-Fault Act intended to provide efficient compensation scheme for "motor vehicle accident victims"). While defendant claims that the truck was not being used "as a vehicle" within the meaning of the No-Fault Act, the court finds that plaintiff's injuries were not totally unconnected with the truck and that the role of the truck was not merely incidental. Cf. Howe v. Harleysville Insurance Cos., 313 Pa. Super. 65, 459 A.2d 412 (1983) (no coverage when victim mistakenly shot while riding in motor vehicle). Contra Quinn v. By-Pass Garage, Inc., 333 Pa. Super. 412, 482 A.2d 634 (1984) (no coverage when victim fell from bunk bed inside motor home; No-Fault Act mandates that vehicle be used as a device of transportation; issue is the use to which the vehicle was put and the connection between that use and the resulting injury). Consequently, the court finds that a sufficient causal connection exists in this case between the operation of the truck by Robert Green and plaintiff's injuries. Moreover, as stated, plaintiff's injuries were not removed from the operation of the truck, but, instead, those injuries occurred contemporaneously with the use of a vehicle. Thus, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.
An appropriate Order will enter.
Now, this 26th day of November, 1986, in accordance with the reasoning set forth in the accompanying Memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
(1) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted and Judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiff and against defendant.
(2) Defendant is obligated to pay benefits to plaintiff pursuant to the insurance policy issued by defendant to plaintiff's mother.