The buckling knee when exitingFebruary 11, 2015

 Gonzalez v American Commerce Ins. Co., 2015 NY Slip Op 00494 (2d Dept. 2015)

“Section 5103 of the Insurance Law, part of the “Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act,” which pertains to the entitlement to first-party benefits, provides, in relevant part, that a person is entitled to first-party benefits from the insurer of a vehicle “for loss arising out of the use or operation . . . of such motor vehicle” (Insurance Law § 5103[a][1]). Where a plaintiff’s injuries from an accident were produced other than as a result of the use or operation of the vehicle itself, no-fault first-party benefits are not available (see Cividanes v City of New York, 20 NY3d 925, 926; Walton v Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 88 NY2d 211, 214). “Any other rule would permit recovery for claims based on back strains, slip-and-fall injuries, and other similar injuries occurring while the vehicle is being used but which are wholly unrelated to its use” (Walton [*2]v Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 88 NY2d at 215).

Here, the plaintiff failed to establish her prima facie entitlement to judgment on the complaint as a matter of law (see id. at 216; see also Cividanes v City of New York, 20 NY3d at 926). The plaintiff testified at her examination under oath, the transcript of which she submitted in support of her motion, that she simply fell while exiting the subject vehicle and that her knee “gave way.” Moreover, the plaintiff’s affidavit similarly indicated that she just fell without attributing her accident to the use or operation of the subject vehicle.

The defendant, however, established, prima facie, that the plaintiff’s alleged injuries did not arise from the use or operation of a vehicle (see Walton v Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co., 88 NY2d at 216; Hammond v GMAC Ins. Group, 56 AD3d 882, 883; Santo v Government Empls. Ins. Co., 31 AD3d 525, 526; Sullivan v Barry Scott Agency, Inc., 23 AD3d 889, 890; see also Cividanes v City of New York, 20 NY3d at 926). In support of its cross motion, in addition to the transcript of the plaintiff’s examination under oath, the defendant submitted the plaintiff’s application for no-fault benefits and her signed statement concerning the circumstances of the accident, in which she consistently described the accident as occurring when her right knee “buckled” while she was getting out of the car, causing her to fall to the ground. In opposition, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact.”

So assuming that there was a premises liability claim, there would not be a threshold issue since no fault benefits were not paid.



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