Originally published in the September 2019 edition of the Barberi Law InsiderCavet.Emptor

On October 1, 1973, Michigan adopted the best approach in the nation to protect Michigan citizens from the perils of being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. For the past 46 years, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident the following benefits have been provided to you:

  • 85% of your wages were paid to you, for free, for up to 3 years after your accident if you couldn’t work.
  • Reimbursement was paid to individuals who helped you to perform duties that you normally were able to perform for yourself around your house; such as, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, doing laundry, etc. Such reimbursement was provided at the rate of $140.00 a week for 3 years after your accident; and, most importantly,
  • Your reasonable and necessary medical-related expenses were covered for life, and if you needed it, 24-hour care at home (attendant care) was paid for to allow you to remain in your home.

Now the above has been drastically changed. Some of the previous benefits, if available at all, are only available to you if you choose to individually pay for them. Michigan citizens will have to decide what benefits they are willing to pay for or “chance it”. When purchasing personal injury protection benefits for yourself, you may elect to “opt out” for medical coverage benefits. Such “opt outs” will potentially have a profound effect should you ever be seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, even if the motor vehicle accident is “no fault of your own.”

The new law will also potentially have a disastrous effect if the accident happens to be your fault that caused someone else’s serious or catastrophic injuries. Previously, a seriously or catastrophically injured person had their medical expenses covered for life, either by their own insurance company or by a special catastrophic insurance fund set up by the No-Fault legislation. Now, if you injure someone else, you could potentially be exposed to hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even millions of dollars) of unpaid medical expenses and end up being sued for the same by the injured party.

It may be time to think about purchasing a large umbrella policy of coverage to protect yourself, (if such a policy remains to be available at a reasonable cost.) Sadly, many of our injured parties’ medical expenses (if the patient is treated at all) will now be paid for by Michigan taxpayers.

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