Being involved in an auto accident is a traumatic experience that can affect your health, finances and your ability to work. The Michigan No-Fault system can be very confusing to navigate without the proper help. It is now more important than ever to be fully aware of the benefits the No-Fault system provides for Michigan drivers. Enlisting the help of an attorney who is knowledgeable of the No-Fault act can make this process less stressful and let you focus on the most important thing, which is getting healthy.
I. The Basics
Michigan requires that all drivers carry insurance, which provides Personal Injury Protection benefits to drivers or PIP benefits as they are commonly called. These benefits come from your own insurance and will cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses that are related to injuries received from an automobile accident. Your PIP benefits will also allow you to recover up to 85% of any wage loss you had as a result of your injuries from an automobile accident. This means that if you require medical treatment because of your accident related injuries your insurance company is responsible for covering those expenses.
II. The Time period to Claim PIP Benefits
If PIP benefits are not paid within one year of making a claim, the Michigan No-Fault Act expressly bars a person from using legal remedies to have the benefits paid. Thus, it is crucial to inform your insurance company as soon as possible if you are receiving medical treatment for your accident related injuries. If these benefits are not being paid in a timely fashion it is wise to seek legal counsel to ensure the PIP benefits you are entitled too are paid. An insurance company may be responsible for interest and attorney fees if it is shown they unreasonably refused to pay PIP benefits as required.
III. Replacement Services
In addition to medical expenses PIP benefits also include replacement services, which provide compensation to individuals who assist you with daily household chores. The inability to perform household chores must be as a result of your injuries from a motor vehicle accident. The people who assist you with these household chores are entitled to $20.00 per day for the assistance they provide. If you feel like you are having difficulty performing household tasks be sure to inform your doctor. This is important to allow your doctor to document these difficulties in your medical records and provide you with a disability prescription to give to your insurance company. A disability prescription from your doctor is not required to receive Replacement Services benefits, but will certainly help when seeking recovery from your insurance company. Further, It is important that all the assistance you are provided is properly documented every day to display when you were receiving assistance, who was doing the household chores, and what they were doing for you. Your insurance company will provide you with forms to keep track of these services, but getting these forms can take time so it is wise to keep a journal for yourself. A person is entitled to replacement services for up to 3 years after their accident occurred.
IV. Attendant Care
Attendant cares are nursing services that are required by a person due to their injuries from an automobile accident. Attendant Care services include things like: assistance in and out of the shower/bath tub, assistance putting on clothes, assistance with daily grooming activities, assistance with getting in and out of bed, dispensing medication and monitoring medical condition. These services can be compensated at $14.00/hr. Attendant care services are more complex then replacement services and should be religiously documented to ensure full compensation for the care provided. Again an insurance company will provide forms to document these services, but it is important to keep your own journal until you receive those forms. A disability prescription from your doctor is also extremely important to present to your insurance company for this type of care. A person is entitled to attendant care for the duration of their life if needed as a result of injures from an automobile accident.
V. Wage Loss
An auto accident can unfortunately leave you unable to work due to your injuries. A person may receive 85% of their lost wages for the time they were unable to work due to injuries from an automobile accident. It is very important to communicate with your employer to allow them to provide the proper wage loss documentation to your insurance company. Speaking to your doctor regarding your injuries and how they affect your ability to work is also important. This communication will allow your doctor to write you a disability prescription that will outline the expected time you will be off work, which can be given to your insurance company to properly pay your claim.
VI. Don’t be Afraid to Fight
Unfortunately despite the high premiums that individuals pay for auto insurance their insurance company will often make it difficult to recover all the benefits they are entitled too. Securing representation not only ensures that someone with knowledge of the Michigan No-Fault system is advocating on your behalf, but will also allow you to focus on getting healthy and back to
normal. The Michigan No-Fault Act entitles you to a wide variety of benefits that should be vigorously pursued to ensure you are getting the full value out of your insurance policy.