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A Michigan no-fault insurance lawyer can help you after an auto accident that results in an injury.  The laws are complex and confusing and recent changes have made it even more difficult to understand.  If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash, you are likely feeling stressed and overwhelmed about how to file your claims.

Michigan’s no-fault insurance 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.

What are the Michigan 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.

In 2019, sweeping changes to the Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws were enacted that resulted in significant changes to the long-standing law.  These new laws which became effective July 1, 2020 include:

  • Higher Bodily Injury Liability limits — Michigan drivers are required to purchase $250,000 in residual liability coverage, although one can opt to purchase down to $50,000. 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. Further, the change resulted in a substantial increase in the amount of insurance money available to an injury victim suing a negligent driver over the previous minimum of $20,000.00.  This applies to bodily injury, pain and suffering, and all other personal injury damage claims.
  • No-Fault PIP Choice — Drivers are not required to purchase unlimited no-fault PIP benefits. For auto insurance policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020, drivers can choose from the following no-fault medical benefit coverage levels (1) $50,000 for drivers enrolled in Medicaid (2) $250,000/$500,000 or (3) unlimited.  The unlimited PIP choice is the recommended as it provides the best coverage in the event of an accident involving a serious injury that requires extensive medical treatment.
  • PIP Medical Benefits opt-out — Drivers with Medicare coverage are permitted to opt out of coverage for PIP medical benefits.
  • Medical-provider fee schedule — A  fee schedule based on the Medicare fee schedule will be put in place to govern charges from doctors, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities and any provider who cares for and treats car accident victims. under Medicare. The new Medicare-based no-fault medical-provider fee schedule will apply to treatment or rehabilitative occupational training provided after July 1, 2021.
  • Michigan Assigned Claims Plan —  Uninsured passengers, pedestrians and other non-occupants will generally claim from the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan with a cap on allowable expenses of $250,000.  Previously, these injured persons qualified for unlimited benefits.

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.

How do I file a Michigan 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:

  1. 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.  The factors are different under the new law for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  2. File an Application for No-Fault Insurance benefits with the proper insurance company
  3. 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
  4. Send medical bills and information to the insurance adjuster to support the wage loss claim—such as tax records and pay stubs
  5. 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.

What are my rights if my No-Fault Benefits are denied?

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.

What is a Mini-Tort Claim?

A mini tort claim is made against an at-fault driver for damage to your vehicle.  Under Michigan law, you cannot sue the at-fault driver for the full repairs to your damaged vehicle, even if it is totaled.  The new law, which took effect July 2, 2020, raised the maximum recovery amount from $1,000 to $3,000.

You can claim up to $3,000.00 or your deductible amount, whichever is the lesser amount.  In addition, uninsured drivers cannot claim compensation under the mini tort law.

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 will explain your legal options and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Call The Buckfire Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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