Keep Up to Date
In May, 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Admire v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company which affects the rights of injured people to obtain barrier-free housing and transportation at the insurance company's expense. In short, the case limits the insurance company's obligation to those costs directly attributable to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. With regard to housing and vehicles, this means the cost of the modifications to the home or vehicle, but not necessarily the cost of the home or vehicle itself. This decision may present significant problems for many injured people who are unable to return to their home following a motor vehicle accident, or for those individuals who require a specially adapted vehicle.
TIP - If an injured person can show that the cost of an alternative to a barrier-free home (such as a residential facility) or adapted vehicle (such as a medical transportation service) is actually more than the cost of what the home or vehicle would be, the claim may still be viable from a practical standpoint. However, legal challenges remain, and claimants in this position are encouraged to consult an attorney.
On July 31, 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court issued two new opinions which affect the rights of injured people and families to recover benefits for attendant care and replacement services under the No-Fault Act. In Douglas v. Allstate Insurance Company, the Court emphasized how important it is for families to properly document the attendant care services provided to an injured family member. The Plaintiff in Douglas attempted to recover several years worth of unpaid attendant care benefits by creating documentation describing the services provided over the prior 3 years. The Court questioned the accuracy of this technique, and stressed the importance of documenting attendant care services as they are provided. (Rather than waiting several months or years and then submitting a large, retroactive claim).
TIP - There is no clear answer as to how often the services must be reported, but I would encourage attendant care providers to submit claims for attendant care at least once a month, and indicate for each day the number of hours that the care was provided, with a description of the services. And always remember that an expense, bill or other charge for a product or service MUST be submitted and paid by the insurance company within 1 year of the date the product, service or expense is incurred. If the bill, expense or charge is not paid within 1 year, it may never be recovered unless you have an attorney file suit to preserve your claim within that 1 year period. If you aren't sure whether your benefits are being paid in a timely fashion, or if it's too late to submit a claim for unpaid benefits, call me and let's discuss it for free.
Several landmark legal opinions have been authored over the past few years that have significantly affected the rights of injured people and healthcare providers. Cases affecting your right to be compensated for injuries sustained in an automobile accident have been decided, such as the Michigan Supreme Court case, McCormick vs. Carrier, which helped explain just how serious an injury must be to qualify as a "threshold injury" necessary for compensation. Other cases involving No-Fault PIP benefits have been decided, including Joseph vs. ACIA, which affected how the "one-year-back rule" is applied. These and other important cases continue to shape how the courts apply the Michigan No-Fault Act, and it is essential that your attorney have a working knowledge of these cases to properly represent your interests.
If you have questions about cases affecting the rights of injured people or healthcare providers, or simply wish to discuss the current state of the law regarding these issues, please contact Mark at your convenience.