Personal Injury Protection Laws in Michigan
December 3, 2018
If you get into a serious auto accident, the damage to your vehicle may be the least of your worries. In 2017, there were 314,921 reported motor vehicle crashes in Michigan. 78,394 of those crashes resulted in injuries, while more than 1,000 resulted in death. Serious injuries increased by 8%; from 5,634 in 2016 to 6,084 in 2017. Severe injuries may require hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy, and long-term or even lifetime care. Without the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits provided by Michigan no-fault insurance laws, the expected medical bills could easily bankrupt the average person.
How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage Work?
Under Michigan no-fault law, drivers are required to purchase a policy that includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, also known as first-party benefits. If you’re injured in an auto accident your own insurance company pays most of your economic losses, regardless of who was at fault. These benefits include wage loss, medical bills, rehabilitation costs, home care expenses and mileage reimbursement.
In general, no fault coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) benefits is payable to anyone who suffers an injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle. A person injured in an auto accident is covered regardless of whether he or she is an occupant of a motor vehicle involved in the accident. For example, a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle would typically be entitled to no-fault benefits from the insurer of his or her own vehicle. That he or she was not occupying a vehicle is irrelevant. The Michigan No-Fault Act contains numerous rules to properly identify the insurance company responsible for paying PIP benefits.
These rules, often times referred to as priority provisions, differ based on the involved circumstances. For example, there are different priority rules for a person injured while an occupant of an employer owned vehicle, a city bus, or their own vehicle. In summary, a no fault claimant is entitled to PIP benefits if he or she is not statutorily excluded and has sustained an injury in a motor vehicle accident. However, determining the responsible insurer can be complicated under the No-Fault Act.
PIP Benefits and Recoverable Expenses
Michigan PIP coverage includes the following:
- All reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitative expenses
- 85% of lost wages up to the statutory monthly maximum (currently $5,452/month) for a period not to exceed 3 years
- Household replacement services, up to the statutory maximum of $20/day, for a period not to exceed 3 years
- If accident results in death, benefits are provided to the surviving dependents for loss of income up to the statutory monthly maximum for a period not to exceed 3 years
Property Protection Insurance (PPI)
PPI benefits may be available to recover for damage to real property or legally parked vehicles, not to exceed $1 million. (PPI does NOT cover damage to a motor vehicle being operated as a vehicle at the time of the accident).
In addition to PIP and PPI benefits, the no-fault claimant may be entitled to bring a third-party claim against the at-fault (negligent) driver to recover pain, suffering, and other noneconomic losses.
How an Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
The laws surrounding personal injury protection benefits have many gray areas, which is why it is important to hire an experienced accident lawyer if you or a loved one is injured.
For example, if you have what is known as a “coordinated policy,” your health insurance provider is considered the primary guarantor, while your auto insurance company is secondary. Problems arise because these policies often contain contradictory language about which policy has the first obligation. Other delays can occur when an insurance company will try to avoid its responsibility by disputing the medical necessity or the cost of a medical test or procedure ordered by your physician.
“There are many factors that can complicate payment of your medical bills after a serious accident,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “These are complex issues that require the expertise of a knowledgeable accident attorney.”
Michigan no-fault insurance laws are complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.