10 Warning Signs for People Injured in Michigan Auto Accidents  

Getting into a crash is never something you want to happen, but, unfortunately, crashes happen every day in Michigan. And if you are injured in a crash, you must be aware of the challenges you may face under Michigan’s new auto no-fault law. In a recent episode of WLAJ’s “In the Name of The Law” Lansing car accident attorneys, Katie Tucker and Steve Sinas, provide 10 warning signs for people injured in Michigan accidents.

WARNING Sign #1:  Your insurance company may void your policy and not pay you anything. 

In some cases, an insurance company may argue that at the time you purchased your policy, you provided inaccurate information, such as the wrong address or usage of the vehicle. At that point your auto insurer may claim the policy was fraudulent and void, and they will no longer pay you anything following the crash.  

TIP: When you buy auto insurance, be truthful and make sure to accurately disclose everything about where you live, where you garage your car, who will drive your vehicles, etc.  

WARNING Sign #2: Benefit coordination will affect how and if your benefits get paid. 

This one comes down to the type of no-fault medical expense insurance you’ve purchased. If you have purchased coordinated no-fault medical expense insurance coveragethat means you must first turn to your health insurance before seeking coverage under your auto insurance policy. If you go with the Sinas Dramis recommended uncoordinated no-fault medical expense insurance coverage, you can seek coverage under that policy first.  

TIP: Know the difference between coordinated no-fault medical expense coverage vs. uncoordinated coverage and understand which insurer pays for what depending on what type of auto policy you purchased. 

WARNING Sign #3: Choosing less than unlimited medical coverage may leave you footing some of your accident-related bills.

Following changes to Michigan auto no-fault laws in 2019, consumers now have options and coverage limits regarding their medical coverage. Not all auto insurances cover unlimited, lifetime medical bills anymore. You must choose unlimited no-fault PIP benefits. And, if you don’t, you will only receive up to the limit of the coverage you selected in most instances.

TIP: Sinas Dramis recommends you make sure you have unlimited no-fault medical expense coverage in the event of a serious crash.  

WARNING Sign #4:  You’ve got one year from the day of the crash to notify your auto no-fault insurance carrier.  

The one-year notice law simply states that you need to let the correct no-fault insurance carrier know you were in a crash and are seeking benefits within that year’s time frame. If you don’t, you’ll lose the right to claim any benefits.  

TIP: Be sure to alert your auto insurer of any collision as soon as possible after the occurrence.

WARNING Sign #5: You’ve got a year to sue a no-fault insurer for a denied benefit.

Again, if you claim benefits from a no-fault insurance company, and the insurer denies that claim, you have a year to sue from the date the expense is incurred. As an example, you have surgery on a broken bone from an auto accident on October 1, 2021. The expense is incurred on the date the surgery is performed. Accordingly, if your no-fault insurance company denies payment, you have until October 1, 2022, to file a lawsuit to recover payment for that expense.  

TIP: Stay on top of auto accident bill payments from your insurance company.

WARNING Sign #6: There’s a chance you can sue the person who caused the crash if you meet the right requirements.  

Under new no-fault laws, when someone is in a crash that wasn’t their fault, and they’ve got losses, like loss of wage or medical expenses that go beyond their own no-fault coverage, they might have the right to sue the driver who caused the crash to get those uncovered losses. The law is complicated, and it’s not always easy to know when you have the right to sue. You may also have the right to sue for pain and suffering, but again, you must meet what is known as the threshold injury standard.  

TIP: Consult early on with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer who understands the ins and outs of auto negligence claims who will be able to help you better understand your rights against the at-fault driver.

WARNING Sign #7: You can only get $3,000 from an at-fault driver to help repair your vehicle.  

If you didn’t cause the crash, and your car needs repair, you have a right to sue the other driver for damage expenses. However, the most you can get from them is $3,000 for damages not otherwise covered by insurance. The rest must come from your own collision coverage if you purchased that coverage.  

WARNING Sign #8: Medical providers might limit care due to payment reductions enacted under the new auto no-fault laws.  

Under new no-fault laws, medical providers in Michigan face a potential reduction of reimbursement for the care they provide, as high as 45%. This means when they treat an auto accident survivor, they might not make enough money from the insurance company paying the medical bill, to cover the expense of that care. This has led to some providers closing their doors and could cause others to limit the number of auto accident patients they take or limit the care to those patients. These developments will likely make it more difficult for seriously injured auto accident patients to access high-quality care and services through the no-fault insurance system. 

WARNING Sign #9: Only certain people can receive payment for providing care to you after a car crash.

Also under new laws, there is a weekly 56-hour time limit, on the amount of care a friend or family member may provide in the home and get paid for giving that care. Under this rule, any care services provided by family members or friends will go unpaid by no-fault insurance, unless the no-fault insurance company decides that it wants to pay more than those 56 hours of weekly care services.  

WARNING Sign #10: Some care and treatment options have government regulations.  

In addition to the medical provider limitations, and the limit on care provided by friends or family under new Michigan no-fault laws, there are no also new administrative rules affecting how, when, and whether benefits will be paid, known as Utilization Review. Many fear that these governmental regulations will undermine seriously injured people’s access to care.   

WARNING Sign #11: Don’t go it alone, the system is confusing.  

If you’re involved in a serious crash leaving you injured, it’s important to know the new Michigan auto no-fault system is confusing and unclear. In addition to the 10 warning signs for people injured in Michigan accidents, we’ve got one more for you. Seriously injured people should never go it alone.  The decision regarding the attorney you should hire is one of the most important decisions you need to make. Sinas Dramis offers FREE CONSULTATION, you can fill out a form online or call 1-866-758-0031 

More from Steve’s “In the Name of the Law” series.