RECENT CASE LAW

THE MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS DECISION IN COVENANT MEDICAL CENTER V STATE FARM HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDICAL PROVIDERS PROTECTING THEIR RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER MICHIGAN’S NO-FAULT ACT.

In October of 2015, our Michigan Court of Appeals decided the case of Covenant Medical Center v State Farm case which turned out to be a welcomed victory for medical providers who render medical and rehabilitative treatment to car accident survivors and seek payment for their services under the Michigan No-Fault Act.  The Court reasoned that because Covenant Medical Center sent written notice of its medical bill to State Farm prior to State Farm’s settlement with the injured individual, State Farm could not discharge its obligation to pay Covenant Medical Center through settling the claim with the injured individual.  As stated by the Court, “where the relevant services were rendered and the insured received notice of the provider’s claim before the settlement occurred, the payment and release does not extinguish the provider’s rights.” Covenant Med Ctr, at *3.  This means that a no-fault insurer cannot release its liability for the provider’s bill via a settlement reached with the injured individual as long as the medical provider sent written notice of to the no-fault insurer that it intends to pursue payment of its own bill. 

UPDATES ON MICHIGAN’S NO-FAULT LAW

Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan, has proposed D-Insurance, a reform to Michigan’s current no-fault law, which is a call for low-cost/low-benefit auto insurance for Detroit residents.  The proposed law would severely limit the medical care available to Detroit drivers insured in auto accidents to a total of $250,000 in critical medical care and to just $25,000 of care once a person is stabilized.  The $25,000 limit applies to the entire family.  Thus far, Mayor Duggan has not been able to garner support for the proposed D-Insurance.  In response to Mayor Duggan’s proposal for D-Insurance, State Representative and House Insurance Minority Chairman Brian Banks, (D-Detroit), in December 2015, announced the introduction of two bills that offer a strong alternative to D-Insurance.  The two bills would lower rates for Michigan drivers while maintaining the life-saving personal injury benefits provided by the current no-fault system.  We are pleased to see an alternative proposal to D-Insurance since D-Insurance is not the answer.  However, we need to continue to demand a proposal which seeks to maintain quality injury protection for catastrophic accident victims.

THE MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT RESTORES A SENSE OF JUSTICE TO CIVIL JURY SYSTEM

In July of 2010, our Michigan Supreme Court decided two cases which go a long way to restoring rights to victims of motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents. In Rodney McCormick v. Larry Carrier and Allied Automotive Group, Indemnitor of General Motors Corp., the Court defined the injury threshold in a way which should make it easier for victims of accidents to prove pain and suffering damages to a jury. In Regents of the University of Michigan, et al. v. Titan Ins. Co., the Court restored to injured No-Fault claimants the right to “go back in time” in order to question the adequacy of payments made for No-Fault benefits. That decision applies solely to minors and legally incompetent individuals whose injuries brought about the need for No-Fault benefits. We are excited to see that our Michigan Supreme Court has begun to restore a sense of justice to our civil jury system.

 

 

© 2016 Lakritz Law. All Rights Reserved.

This website designed and maintained by IGD Solutions Corporation

Photography ©Todd Weinstein

This website designed and maintained by IGD Solutions Corporation