Michigan’s no-fault law provides insurance coverage to drivers and passengers after a car accident—regardless of who was at fault. These benefits might cover payment for medical bills, lost wages, attendant care services, household services, medical mileage, and numerous others. Bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are also entitled to these payments.
If you were injured in a car crash, it might prove beneficial to reach out to a Michigan no-fault insurance lawyer to discuss your legal options. While you might be able to determine fault and pursue a claim against a negligent driver for compensation, it is important to understand what benefits are offered under this coverage.
However, these no-fault laws are often complex and might be overwhelming to navigate alone, especially as you recover from an injury. A well-versed attorney could help to explain your rights and discuss how to best proceed under your circumstances.
The No-Fault Insurance Laws
No-fault insurance is required by law in Michigan. Therefore, every car owner in the state is legally obligated to buy and carry certain types of auto insurance coverage in order to get a license plate for their vehicle. As a result, it is unlawful for a person to drive a car or let another person drive a car that is not covered under no-fault insurance.
The most basic form of this insurance coverage includes:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP)— This coverage provides a driver with payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits, regardless of fault. This might apply even if the motorist is in another state. Additional benefits include payment for travel expenses to and from medical appointments, hospital visits, and physical therapy appoints, as well as modifications to a home or vehicle to accommodate a person’s needs after an injury
- Property Protection (PPI)—This coverage pays up to $ 1 million if a person’s car causes damage to the property of another person or business. It does not, however, provide payment for damage to another vehicle
- Bodily Injury and Property Damage—This provides a person coverage if they are sued by a person in the event that they, or someone lawfully driving their car, causes an accident which results in another person being seriously injured, scarred, or killed. This also covers the mini-tort coverage for damage to another person’s vehicle
Under a no-fault policy, any family members living in the carrier’s house are also covered. This means that PIP benefits would be paid even if a family member is a passenger in another person’s car or is a pedestrian when an accident takes place. Furthermore, this PIP coverage also covers anyone who does not have a no-fault policy and is hurt as a passenger or pedestrian in a crash involving the insurance carrier’s vehicle. A hardworking Michigan no-fault car insurance lawyer could further explain the benefits offered under this coverage.
The Steps to Filing a No-Fault Insurance Claim
The process of filing a no-fault claim involves numerous steps, each of which may contain nuances and other information that is important to understand before proceeding. However, the primary steps for filing a claim include:
- Identify the insurance company responsible for paying no-fault benefits—This will depend on a number of factors, including whether an applicant was the owner, driver, or passenger of the vehicle involved in the accident
- File an Application for No-Fault Insurance benefits with the proper insurance company
- Furnish the insurance company with medical authorizations, evidence of lost wages, and reports from an attending physician to prove that the applicant was injured in the accident and required medical care as a result of their injuries—This report will also indicate if they are disabled from work due
- Send medical bills and information to the insurance adjuster to support the wage loss claim—such as tax records and pay stubs
- Send the insurance adjuster supporting documentation of other claims—including household services, attendant care services, medical mileage, and others
Furthermore, anyone seeking benefits under the state’s no-fault coverage should be aware of the deadlines for filing a claim. Usually, a written Application for No-Fault Benefits must be filed within one year of the accident to the proper insurance company. A tenacious Michigan attorney could work with a claimant to file a timely no-fault application in Michigan.
Independent Medical Examinations
Sometimes, an insurance company may request that an applicant attend an “independent medical examination” (IME). When requested, it is required by law that an applicant attend these requested exams—in fact, not showing up for an exam might void a person’s rights to any benefits. Unfortunately, some insurance companies may send a claimant to a physician that they pay, meaning they might try to recommend a termination of a person’s benefits.
One of the most common ways an insurance doctor might suggest this termination is by stating that a person’s injuries are unrelated to the accident that caused them to request benefits. Similarly, they might suggest that a person has recovered from their injuries already and that they can, therefore, return to work or no longer need the services or medical care provided. However, if a claimant’s benefits are prematurely terminated or reduced based on an independent medical examination, it might be important to have the legal counsel of a Michigan attorney to help fight for continued benefits under no-fault insurance.
Denial of Auto Insurance Benefits in Michigan
Unfortunately, even when a claim is valid, insurance companies are notorious for refusing to pay, terminating, cutting off, or otherwise denying no-fault benefits to an injured applicant. For example, an adjuster may simply ignore a request or instead, keep asking for more information to delay payment.
When an adjuster refuses to pay benefits or claims an applicant is not entitled to them, the person’s only option is to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. Through this lawsuit, a claimant might be able to request compensation for unpaid benefits, interest, and attorney’s fees, among others.
These lawsuits against a denial of no-fault benefits must be filed within one year from the date of the denial. Due to the complexities of this process, a seasoned no-fault car insurance lawyer who is familiar with the legal system in Michigan might be able to help a claimant recover denied benefits through a settlement.
Call a Michigan No-Fault Car Insurance Attorney for Help
While most people can seek compensation through the state’s faultless coverage, complications might arise that delay or even deny a person from recovering benefits after a car accident. Because of this, it might be beneficial to reach out to a Michigan no-fault Car insurance lawyer if you were injured in a crash.
An experienced no-fault insurance attorney could work tirelessly to explain your legal options and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Call a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire P.C. today to schedule a consultation.
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