3/4/2015: F&P Attorneys Successfully Limit Application of PIP Benefits in Delaware

In Castiglione v. National Interstate Insurance Company, No. CV13C-04-016 DCS (Feb. 2015), the Plaintiff John Castiglione filed a claim in Delaware Superior Court for Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits alleging that “he got hung up on a strap of a pallet jack and tripped and fell off the lift gate on the back of his trailer.”  The Defendant, National Interstate Insurance Company, through Franklin & Prokopik attorneys, filed Summary Judgment arguing that Plaintiff was not entitled to PIP benefits.

The Court opined that the Plaintiff was within a reasonable geographic perimeter of the tractor trailer because he slipped while he was inside the trailer and fell to the asphalt below satisfying the occupancy requirement.  However, the Court ultimately granted Summary Judgment to the Defendant holding that the Plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the use or operation of the motor vehicle, except as a stationary platform from which product was being unloaded.

The tractor trailer was the mere situs of the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries and was not an “active accessory” in causing those injuries.  Because Plaintiff was not injured in an accident involving the inherent nature of the motor vehicle, he was ineligible to recover PIP benefits under 21 Del. C. Sec. 2118.   Given Delaware’s PIP benefit laws, and the claims that arise under those laws, if you ever have a question about a PIP claim, please contact William “Skip” Crawford.