• Plaintiff not entitled to PIP benefits because vehicle was mere situs of injury when she stepped in pothole after exiting it.
  • April 27, 2017 | Author: Jessica L. Tyler
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Wilmington Office
  • The plaintiff applied for PIP benefits, alleging her injuries were within the scope of Delaware’s PIP statute. She parked her vehicle, exited, and began to walk away when she fell in a pothole and caught herself with her elbows on her car and another car. State Farm moved for summary judgment, asserting that her vehicle was not an active accessory in causing the injury. The parties agreed she was an “occupant” of the vehicle as defined by Delaware law. Therefore, the court had to determine if the accident involved a motor vehicle by analyzing (1) whether the vehicle was an active accessory in causing the injury and (2) whether there was an act of independent significance that broke the causal link between the use of the vehicle and the injuries inflicted. The court granted summary judgment because the vehicle was “not an active accessory merely because she touched the vehicle as she fell” and her accident “did not truly involve the insured vehicle.”