Michigan No-Fault Law and Excluded Drivers
The Michigan no-fault law and car accident law is constantly changing. The Michigan car accident lawyers at Call Lee Free work hard to keep our clients, and the public at large, appraised of all changes. The following is an update on what happens when a named excluded driver gets involved in a car accident.
Under Section 3009(s) of the Insurance Code, MCL 500.3009(2), a specified person may be excluded from liability coverage under an automobile insurance policy. This means if the named excluded driver drives an insured vehicle and causes an accident, the owner of the vehicle and those legally responsible for the acts of the excluded driver may be held personally responsible for the damages and injuries he or she causes. This has been the law for over 40 years.
Until recently, a named excluded driver could still receive Michigan no-fault benefits even when involved in an accident. These benefits include the receipt of wage loss benefits, the payment of all medical expenses, prescription drugs, payment to family members or professional home health workers for household chores or more personal care, as well as other benefits.
However, effective January 13, 2015, the Michigan legislature amended the Insurance Code, adding subsection (d) to MCL 500.3113. The results are far reaching. This subsection provides that named excluded drivers are not entitled to be paid Michigan no-fault benefits. But not only that, the vehicle would then be considered uninsured under the no-fault law, making the owner of the vehicle possibly guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to penalties and fines.
In addition, because the vehicle is considered uninsured, pursuant to Section 500.3113(b), if the owner or registrant of the vehicle is injured in a car accident where the vehicle was operated by an excluded driver, the owner or registrant would not be eligible for no-fault benefits either!
This is a very important new development. Never before have car owners who are involved in a car accident while occupying their own insured vehicle not been entitled to the payment of no-fault benefits.
Policyholders must be very careful in who they name as excluded drivers under their policies. The reality is named excluded drivers should be used sparingly, if at all. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. recommends that if there is any chance the named excluded driver needs access to your vehicle for any reason, it is best to not have that person excluded to begin with. The consequences from that person getting involved in a car accident are too great.
Our Law Offices hope you find this information helpful. Again, to reiterate, the law has changed for excluded drivers. No longer are they entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. Not only that, if an excluded driver causes an accident, it can leave the vehicle owner personally liable for the injuries the driver causes. It also can leave the vehicle owner liable for fines and penalties.
If you have any questions about this new law, or the Michigan no-fault law in general, please contact the Michigan car wreck lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The call is free and there is no fee unless we win your case.