BEFORE DAN LEE, ROBERTSON AND ZUCCARO
DAN LEE, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
This case presents the question whether chiropractic expenses are included within the coverage of an insurance policy "med pay" provision.
Dorothy L. Gregg received a judgment against appellee State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (State Farm) in the amount of $780 on the basis of the trial court's affirmative
answer to the question posed above.
The facts are virtually without dispute, and the trial court decided liability based on interpretation of Mrs. Gregg's "med pay" policy provision and our statutory "freedom of choice" provision, Miss. Code Ann. 83-41-215 (Supp. 1987) (effective from and after April 24, 1980).
State Farm appeals, assigning as its lone error that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on behalf of Mrs. Gregg.
Based on stipulations, the facts are these:
Dorothy Gregg injured her back in an automobile collision on April 27, 1985. At the time of the collision, Mrs. Gregg was driving her four-door Mercury Marquis, for which State Farm provided liability insurance. This policy included coverage for medical payments of up to $5,000 per injured person.
Following the accident, Mrs. Gregg received chiropractic care from M. Ray Teas, a licensed chiropractor who practices in Calhoun City, Mississippi. These treatments began April 29, 1985 and continued through September 27, 1985. Admittedly, the treatments and services rendered by Teas were within the scope of lawful chiropractic practice as defined in Miss. Code Ann. 73-6-1 (1972).
Teas had no right to practice medicine or surgery, nor did he have the right as a physician or to prescribe drugs or to advise patients not to use a prescribed drug, but he could make x-rays.
Mrs. Gregg's total bill for chiropractic services came to $920, $140 of which covered the cost of x-rays. Mrs. Gregg properly submitted a claim to State Farm which it denied based on the fact that it considered chiropractic treatment other than the x-rays not to be medical expenses covered by the policy "med pay" provision. Mrs. Gregg filed suit for $920.00 and State Farm State Farm tendered $140 to cover the x-rays. The parties agreed that if covered, the $920 represented a reasonable and necessary charge.
The "med pay" provision stated as follows:
We will pay reasonable medical expenses for bodily injuries caused by accident, for services furnished within one year of the date of the accident.
The expenses are for necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, ambulance, hospital, professional nursing, and funeral services, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and prosthetic devices. (R. 20) (Emphasis added).
The trial court found no material factual dispute, and granted summary judgment in favor of Mrs. Gregg in the amount of $780. From that ...