Transportation Authority's Liability for Uninsured Motorist Benefits

In Brissett v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 355 Pa. Super. 508, 513 A.2d 1037 (Pa. Super. 1986), the transportation authority was held to be primarily liable for uninsured motorist benefits under the excess policy clause of a household policy issued to the plaintiff's son, which result would have been the same under provisions of Section 1733 of the then-new the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), 75 Pa. C.S. 1733, relating to priority of uninsured motorist benefits. The authority did not raise an issue of sovereign immunity. The court concluded that the goal of effectuating the intention of the legislature would not be served by interpreting the statutes in such a way that the requirement for self-insured transportation authorities to purchase uninsured motorist coverage would be rendered meaningless with respect to them because such benefits would be unrecoverable. The court stated that the purpose of uninsured motorist benefits is to protect innocent parties who are injured as the result of negligence by a party without insurance; they are not related to any fault on the part of the policyholder or self-insurer. Therefore, sovereign immunity did not bar recovery of uninsured motorist benefits.