No-Fault Insurance: Understanding Your Rights
If you were injured in a car accident, no-fault insurance provides compensation for medical bills and lost wages without needing to sue the responsible driver. You are automatically entitled to this coverage under Michigan law — without having to prove negligence — if you were hurt in an auto collision or any other vehicle-related accident.
Unfortunately, many people encounter problems when they file no-fault claims after a car accident. You may need the services of an attorney if the insurer denies your claim or refuses to cover certain treatments or losses. The law firm of Bredell & Bredell has litigated auto accident cases, including no-fault insurance disputes, since 1984.
Contact us today to discuss your accident claim. We represent injury victims in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Jackson and statewide.
Am I Covered By No-Fault Insurance?
Under Michigan law, every registered owner of a motor vehicle must carry a no-fault insurance policy. No-fault insurers must pay certain qualified expenses, regardless of who was at fault. Even if you do not have a no-fault insurance policy because you do not own a car, you are still entitled to full no-fault benefits if you are in an accident involving a motor vehicle.
No-fault car insurance covers many scenarios, including injuries suffered:
- In a two-vehicle collision
- In a single-car crash
- As a pedestrian struck by a car
- When entering or exiting your own car
- While loading or unloading your vehicle
- While performing maintenance on your vehicle
In other words, you may have a no-fault claim even if there was no collision and even if your vehicle was parked. This includes unique circumstances such as slip-and-falls while cleaning a boat that is attached to a car.
First-Party Benefits Under Michigan No-Fault Insurance
Your insurance company is obligated to pay reasonable expenses for things necessary for your medical care and recovery following an auto accident, up to the limits of your no-fault policy. Examples of compensable claims that commonly lead to no-fault insurance disputes:
- Medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor visits, medications, physical therapy and surgery ( HIPAA release form)
- Mileage to and from medical treatment ( mileage form)
- Attendant care ( attendant care form) — Family members who provide in-home care of the incapacitated person in lieu of a nursing home or private nurse are entitled to fair compensation.
- Household/replacement services ( household services form) — The family can be reimbursed for performing or hiring out household services (cleaning, cooking, lawn care, etc.).
- Up to three years of lost wages ( wages form) — This includes wage claims on behalf of an injured person who is temporarily unemployed
- Vocational rehabilitation and training
- Home or vehicle modifications
- Funeral expenses and survivors benefits
Has Your Claim Been Denied Or Delayed?
Even though you diligently paid your insurance premiums, your insurance company now refuses to pay your claim for economic losses. You must act quickly in a no-fault insurance dispute. There is a one-year limit on filing a no-fault application for benefits, submitting a claim or expense, and suing your insurance company for failure to pay. Even if your insurance adjuster “promises” to pay a medical bill, if that bill becomes more than a year old, the insurance company has no legal obligation to pay it unless you file a lawsuit prior to the one-year expiration date. This is one more example of how the laws in Michigan have been recently tilted heavily in favor of insurance companies.
Our attorneys can help you level the playing field. A lawyer at our office can assist you in seeking wages and benefits for the care you provide. See Summary of Benefits page for additional information.
What if your insurance company doesn’t pay? It has been our experience that insurance representatives are trained to pay only the minimum and not explain the types of benefits to which you may be entitled. Often after we educate our clients about the availability of no-fault benefits, the insurance agent agrees to pay these benefits without an attorney’s further involvement.
Read more about auto accident no-fault claims
- Beware of time limits — Don’t let your no-fault claims expire!
- Family-provided attendant care — Loved ones are eligible for compensation.
- Who picks the treatment team? — You have a legal say in your own medical care!
- Wage losses for the temporarily unemployed — If you were out of work when the accident occurred, you are still entitled to wage replacement benefits.
- What insurance coverage should you buy? — Protect yourself and your family in the event of an accident.
Third-Party Claims — Beyond No-Fault Coverage
A “third-party” claim refers to legal action against the negligent driver, or against a trucking company, construction firm, or any other individual or entity that caused or contributed to your motor vehicle accident. Third parties can be held liable for noneconomic damages (such as “pain and suffering”) that are not available under no-fault insurance.
At Bredell & Bredell, we’re committed to identifying all potential sources of negligence that may have contributed to your injuries. We have the experience, skill and resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. While our legal team focuses on getting you full compensation, you can focus on recovery. We will help you find the right medical professionals to treat your injuries, and we can help you postpone payment for costly medical services until your case is resolved.
The threshold for third-party lawsuits is “serious impairment of an important bodily function.” These claims attempt to compensate you for the disruption and diminished quality of life. Examples of noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical disfigurement
- Mental impairment
Maximizing Your Compensation For An Auto Accident
For more information about your insurance dispute, contact one of our lawyers at Bredell & Bredell for a free initial consultation. Our Ypsilanti firm represents people throughout Michigan.