Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Chester County, No. 86-03600.
Ubel G. Velez, West Chester, for appellant.
Perry J. Fiorvanti, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Brosky, Wieand and Beck, JJ.
[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 200]
The issue in this appeal is whether the estate of a Delaware motorist who died as a result of injuries received in a vehicular accident in Pennsylvania is entitled to recover post-mortem work loss benefits under a policy of insurance written in accordance with a Delaware no-fault law which does not permit recovery for post-mortem work loss benefits. The trial court held that there could be no recovery and sustained preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to the complaint. After a close examination and careful analysis of the policy and the no-fault laws of both states, we conclude that the order of the trial court was correct. Therefore, we affirm.
On May 24, 1984, while operating a motor vehicle in Oxford, Chester County, Pennsylvania, Daniel Sanchez was involved in a vehicular accident which caused injuries leading to his death four days later. Sanchez was a resident of the State of Delaware, and his vehicle was registered in Delaware. The vehicle was insured by Colonial Penn Insurance Company (Colonial Penn) under a policy of insurance which had been written in Delaware pursuant to that State's no-fault insurance law. Colonial Penn paid to Nannette Swadey, the administratrix of Sanchez's estate, all personal injury benefits required by the Delaware Motor Vehicle Code, including medical and funeral expenses. When a claim for work loss benefits was made, however, it was denied. An action against Colonial Penn was then instituted by Sanchez's estate in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It was contended in the action that the Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act*fn1 had been incorporated
[ 367 Pa. Super. Page 201]
into the Sanchez policy by an out-of-state coverage clause contained in the Sanchez policy. Colonial Penn filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to the complaint. When the trial court sustained these preliminary objections and dismissed the complaint, the Sanchez estate appealed.*fn2
The out-of-state coverage clause upon which appellant relies is contained within the "Liability Coverage" section of the decedent's policy and provides as follows:
If an auto accident to which this policy applies occurs in any state or province other than the one in which your covered auto is principally garaged, we will interpret your policy for that accident as follows:
If the state or province has:
1. A financial responsibility or similar law specifying limits of liability for bodily injury or property damage higher than the limit shown in the Declarations, your policy will provide the higher specified limit.
2. A compulsory insurance or similar law requiring a nonresident to maintain insurance whenever the nonresident uses a vehicle in that state or province, your policy will provide at least ...