Progressive Northern Ins. Co. v. Mohr, 47 A.3d 492 (Del. 2012) October, 2012.
Plaintiff, William Mohr, was injured as a pedestrian by a Delaware insured motor vehicle, in Delaware. After recovering the statutory minimum $15,000 in PIP benefits from the striking vehicle, Plaintiff sought PIP coverage from his mother's Progressive Northern policy as an insured household relative. Plaintiff's mother's policy provided up to $100,000 in PIP benefits. However, the Progressive Northern policy substantially mirrored 21 Del. C. § 2118(a)(2)(d) and limited pedestrian PIP coverage for insureds to instances where an insured was injured by a non-Delaware insured vehicle. Progressive Northern denied Plaintiff's claim on the basis of this policy language. The Superior Court, nonetheless, found that the PIP statute, under 21 Del. C. § 2118(a)(2)(e), required coverage of Plaintiff under the Progressive Northern policy, and ordered that, assuming his damages exceeded that amount, Plaintiff was entitled to $85,000 in PIP benefits from Progressive Northern, citing that $15,000 offset of the "no double recovery" provision. Progressive Northern appealed.
On appeal, the Supreme Court held that an insured, injured as a pedestrian, is entitled to the benefits of his or her policy, regardless of the state of registration of the striking vehicle. The Court held that coverage existed without exception regarding the source of the striking vehicle for insured pedestrians under 21 Del. C. 2118(a)(2)(e). This subsection extends PIP coverage to pedestrians injured within the state: "[t]he coverage required in this paragraph shall apply to pedestrians only if they are injured by an accident with any motor vehicle within the State except as to named insureds or members of their households to the extent they must be covered pursuant to subparagraph d. of this paragraph." Based upon an ambiguity identified in subsection (e), the Court determined that, though two reasonable readings existed, the ambiguity was to be resolved in favor of the insured by providing greater coverage. The Court held that if it were to preclude recovery of an insured's own policy if struck as a pedestrian by a Delaware insured vehicle, while allowing recovery if struck by a non-Delaware insured vehicle, the result would be a crapshoot not intended by the legislature.