Car accident survivors in Michigan were given a victory in July by the state’s Supreme Court. The ruling states that despite a change in Michigan’s car insurance system in 2019, anyone who was catastrophically injured before the law kicked in can continue to bill their insurance company for ongoing care.
What Does the Ruling Mean?
Anyone catastrophically injured before 2019 can keep their important insurance benefits, despite changes to the law that happened that year.
In 2019, the Michigan Association for Justice explained the car insurance changes that had just gone into place:
“Under the new law, car crash victims no longer have guaranteed lifetime coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses unless they specifically purchase that coverage. Moreover, all drivers will face increased liability in certain situations for the medical expenses they caused others to incur
Every driver (and passenger) in Michigan now faces an elevated level of risk and liability. Michigan drivers now have to make potentially life-altering choices with possibly dramatic financial implications. With the stakes so high, Michigan motorists should make it a priority to educate themselves and understand their options.”
The goal of this law was to reduce car insurance rates in Michigan to make safe driving more affordable.
But it also meant that even though crash survivors had been previously entitled to lifetime payment for “all reasonable charges” related to their medical treatment and rehabilitation, that was forced to change. Suddenly, the state’s cap on reimbursements meant that thousands of Michigan’s residents were disqualified from the benefits they had been receiving for decades.
WXPR wrote about how this change affected survivors who suddenly lost their benefits.
The Supreme Court determined that car accident survivors with catastrophic injuries had a “vested contractual right” to ongoing benefits from their insurance company. The Court said that these benefits “cannot be stripped away or diminished” because of the new law.
Who Benefits from These Changes?
Anyone who was catastrophically injured before the law changed in 2019 benefits from this ruling.
There are about 18,000 people in Michigan who were receiving benefits from their insurance company because of critical injuries in a car accident, many of whom lost that coverage in 2019 and have been struggling ever since.
What Can I Do if I Lost My Insurance Coverage Due to This Change?
We would be happy to answer questions about your specific situation. We can help you determine who to talk to and work with you if your insurer is uncooperative with this new ruling.
What If My Injury Occurred After 2019?
Michigan drivers must carry a separate PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage plan.
The state provides this overview of the six coverage options:
- Unlimited coverage
- Up to $500,000 in coverage
- Up to $250,000 in coverage
- Up to $250,000 in coverage with PIP medical exclusion(s)
Exclusion is available for a named insured with non-Medicare health coverage that covers auto accident injuries and/or for household members if they have health insurance that will cover auto accident injuries.
- Up to $50,000 in coverage
Available if the named insured is enrolled in Medicaid and their household members have another auto insurance policy, Medicaid, or other health insurance that will cover auto accident injuries. For more information about Medicaid proof of enrollment, review the DIFS Medicaid ID Card Guide for Auto Insurers and Insurance Agents.
- PIP medical opt-out
Available if the named insured has Medicare (Parts A and B). Any of their household members must have another auto insurance policy or health insurance that will cover auto accident injuries.
What Can I Do If My Injuries Exceed My Insurance Coverage?
If you experienced injuries that require treatment beyond your insurance coverage, you don’t have to give up and deal with endless medical debt and subpar treatment.
A car accident attorney can help you hold a negligent party (or parties) responsible for causing your injuries.
Michigan law has a 3-year statute of limitations, so any lawsuit or claim must be filed within 3 years of the date of the accident. As long as it is within this timeline, you can seek compensation for damages that occurred because of someone else’s negligence.
Insurance payouts are not the only way of receiving compensation for your losses, pain, and suffering. You can pursue additional damages by working with an attorney who will:
- Help to identify who was at fault for the accident
- Collect documentation of all costs associated with the accident (including medical bills, therapy costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, and more)
- Negotiate with insurance companies and/or the defendant’s lawyer
- Bring a case to court
When to Seek Legal Help
The best time to seek legal help is immediately after an accident. However, not everyone knows that they should talk to a lawyer right away. As long as it has been less than 3 years since your accident, you can still get legal help. It is not too late.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm offers free consultations for car accident survivors. We can review your case, learn about your specific situation, and help you identify the best next steps to take. If that is filing a lawsuit, we can support you every step of the way.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm offers compassionate legal services and meaningful support as you seek compensation for everything you have suffered because of your accident.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm for Critical Injuries
If you were in an accident and need help recovering compensation for your injuries, the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can assist you. Call our Michigan car accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). You’ll pay nothing until we settle your case. Contact us today.