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Even though this hasn’t been covered by many news outlets, there is a set of senate bills that hopes to increase the transparency on how exactly the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association calculates their rates. They were introduced last month without much notice from anyone. Governor Rick Snyder has openly stated that he wants to focus on No-Fault Reform, but WE want to make sure that any change would be beneficial to the residents of our state. Seems fair enough right? The only way to make informed logical decisions is to have the facts when making these decisions! Rick Snyder has been mute about this MCCA rate calculation “secrecy” issue when he should be leading the fight for more transparency. How can he possibly make this decision for Michigan residents when there is no access to the information supposedly responsible for needing reform?
If you are unfamiliar with the complexities of Michigan No-Fault Law, here is a quick overview of the MCCA. Under No-Fault Law in Michigan, your own insurance company covers your first party expenses which include medical related expenses for the life of your injuries. If an accident or injury is particularly severe, it’s possible that medical costs over the victim’s lifetime will surpass $500,000. This is where the MCCA fund starts to play a role. As I just stated, your insurance covers the 1st party benefits up to $500,00 and this MCCA fund covers medical expenses past the $500,000 to make sure the victim can live a relatively normal life without going bankrupt due to these high medical costs. Here is where the battle begins. The MCCA claims that this fund is low and these serious injuries are causing them to hurt financially thus making this unsustainable into the future. While this sounds like a valid point, it just simply isn’t true. They have no accountability and can increase rates without showing any reasoning or evidence to do so. They have refused to divulge this information multiple times over the last year…..I wonder why?
These senate bills (102 and 103) aim to hold the MCCA accountable for their rate calculations and make the public aware of the REAL financial situation of Michigan auto insurance. We as taxpayers who fund this claim deserve to know how much money is in the fund and how they are calculating our insurance rates, which are now the highest in the country by the way.
States across the country have all different types of auto insurance systems, but the main 2 include what are commonly referred as the no-fault system and the tort system. I have dealt with both types of systems as my career as a personal injury lawyer since I have practiced in both Michigan (no-fault) and South Carolina (tort system). In order to give you a better idea of how the two differ, here is a made-up example to help clarify the intricacies of the laws. I feel this is the best way to express the concepts without making it too difficult to understand or becoming too confusing.
Let’s assume that there is a simple auto collision between two parties. For simplicity sakes, the two driver’s names are John and Steve. Steve is completely at fault for the accident and this is obvious to anyone at the scene including both drivers. To make this example even better, Steve’s car was not only at fault for the accident, but his car happened to damage a building/home of a third party, let’s call the owner of the building Mark. Mark was just sitting in his home when he watches Steve and his car knock through his kitchen wall. So how would no-fault law treat this incident? How would the tort-system treat this incident? First let’s establish certain losses/injuries in which you can bring a recovery and then I’ll give a short explanation of how they are treated under both types of auto insurance laws.
About the Author: David M. Clark is a practicing auto accident attorney for over 30 years. David is the lead attorney and founder of The Clark Law Office which has locations in Okemos and Lansing, Michigan.
Michigan is a no-fault state, but it also provides what is called limited property damage for all drivers in Michigan. This limited property damage is also referred to as a mini tort claim. The purpose of this loophole is to help drivers pay for damage done to your own vehicle, but unfortunately this protection is extremely limited in nature. As you probably already know, your own insurance company is responsible for paying your first party benefits which include wage loss, medical expenses, attendant care, medical mileage, and replacement services. But what about the damage sustained to your vehicle? Who is going to pay that? The mini tort is a way for drivers to recoup a small amount from a negligent driver’s insurance coverage to pay for damage done to your vehicle, up to a maximum of $1000.00.
If you are less than fifty percent at fault for the accident, you are able to file a mini tort claim against the driver is more than 50% at fault. This claim can be made by a driver who is not at fault for the vehicle accident in Michigan. There are a few restrictions and conditions which you must meet in order to bring this claim successfully. These conditions include
Many drivers are confused by all the requirements and conditions, so here is an example to make this easier to understand. For example, imagine that you were involved in a semi-serious auto collision which damages your vehicle substantially. It is determined that the other driver is 80% at fault for the accident, this is just a simple example; proving the other driver is at-fault can sometimes be difficult. The first thing you would be required to do is prove how much actual damage was done. This can be done by an adjuster or of course a car mechanic. Let’s say you take your car to a repair facility and they determine the total amount of damage is $2500.00. Finding the amount you can recover is now pretty straightforward. Simply take the amount of damage and multiply it by the percentage the other driver is at fault. In this case you take the $2500 and multiply that by 80%. That amount comes to $2000 which you are entitled to. Unfortunately, the maximum allowable amount that you can recover is $1000. Even though you should be given $2000, you will only collect $1000 in these set of circumstances. Many drivers feel this is unfair, but it’s just the reality of the no-fault law which has been established. For more information about auto accidents in Michigan, check out this page. If you need help with your mini-tort claim, contact us today for a completely free consultation.
As mentioned in our No-Fault page, first party benefits are paid for by your respective insurance provider and cover the personal protection or no fault insurance. The best way to think of first and third party benefits is economic and non-economic loss. 1st party benefits are an economic loss and 3rd party benefits are a non-economic loss. Most if not all auto accident cases that occur in Michigan include first party benefits. The state of Michigan has certain medical expenses and services that they allow injured victims if they qualify for first party benefits.
Attendant Care Under No-Fault
Under Michigan No-Fault Law, a person injured in a Michigan auto accident can receive benefits for attendant care. What is attendant care? It is essentially what can be referred to as nursing care. Many times, after a serious car accident, the injured person requires medical attention throughout the day that would require nursing services to make sure they are properly treated for and taken care of. Generally, there must be a prescription or some medical reason and authorization for these types of services. Some of these medical services include giving medication daily, dressing the patient’s wounds, bathing the injured victim, assistance when walking, grooming the injured person, and driving the patient, etc.
Medical Expenses Also Fall Under The Category of First Party Benefits
Michigan has one of the broadest and most comprehensive no-fault laws in the country. An injured person is entitled to recover allowable medical expenses when they are injured as a result of a Michigan auto accident. In order to qualify, one must purchase no-fault insurance from their insurance company before the accident occurs. Allowable expenses include all reasonable medical costs for things that were required to care for the injured person properly throughout the entire process of treatment and rehab. This can include various medical procedures, other medical expenses, and products. These expenses are payable for life and without a limit on the amount that can be paid. Do You Need Help Paying Your Michigan Medical Expenses? If you have received injuries as a result of an accident and need treatment, rehabilitation, or surgeries, then your no-fault provider should pay for all of these expenses!
What About Everyday Tasks I Can No Longer Perform?
In Michigan, when you have sustained injuries as a result of an accident, you may be entitled to certain household and domestic services such as things you did for yourself before the injury took place, but can no longer perform and require somebody else’s assistance. It can be very frustrating not being able to perform menial everyday tasks, and somebody must help in order for you to retain your quality of life. Some of these services include making meals for yourself, child care, housekeeping, lawn maintenance, etc. Usually you need to hire someone to help you perform these replacement services. What Is The Maximum Amount For Replacement Services? Under the Michigan No-Fault law, these replacement cost services cannot exceed $20 per day and are only payable for three years from the date of the accident
Do First Party Benefits Help Reimburse Me For Lost Wages?
First party benefits also account for wage loss as a result of an injury sustained in an automobile accident. Many victims are unable to work because of their injuries, these workers are entitled to compensation for their inability to work and earn a living. These wage loss benefits are payable up to a maximum of the first three years following the date of the injury. There are some limitations on the amount of income you can receive and this amount is adjusted annually to reflect and keep pace with the rising cost of living. If you are injured between October 1st, 2010 and September 30th, 2011, the maximum wage loss you are entitled to is $4,929 per month for the first three years. If you have sustained injuries resulting in work-loss, you should contact your insurance company. Often, the insurance company refuses to pay for your wage loss.
Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation
If you need helping collecting your first party benefits following an auto accident, call us free at (517) 347-6900 or contact us through the website. We charge you no fees unless you win your case.
People often are afraid to call an attorney following an accident because they think they don’t have enough money for skilled representation. This is understandable because lawyers have a reputation for not being affordable and charging exorbitant prices. With our law firm, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The phrases free evaluation and no fee are used frequently, so it’s hard to determine which lawyers are telling the truth. At The Clark Law Office, you get exactly what it sounds like. We will give you a free legal evaluation in person or by phone, it’s completely your choice. While we prefer to meet face-to-face, we understand many accident victims have a hard time getting around or would just rather talk by phone. We can help you no matter your situation. We will even come to you if that’s what you prefer. You call us and give us the details about your situation and we will use our experience to determine if you have a case. If we feel that you don’t have a case or that you can handle it by yourself, we will give you our honest opinion. No tricks or gimmicks here, we want whatever is best for you! There is no obligation and you will owe us absolutely nothing for your free legal evaluation.
In all injury cases, we work strictly on a contingent fee basis. There is no charge for hourly work or other miscellaneous fees like phone calls that many other attorneys will charge for. In fact, we will personally pay the upfront costs necessary to win your case. Usually, we will immediately start an investigation into your claim. We will also find relevant records, find relevant witnesses, and higher an interview relevant experts. This list are just a few of the expenses we cover for you, we will conduct depositions and other services as well. As you can imagine, these expenses are quite substantial but usually necessary to win your case. We will cover these costs to give you the best chance for compensation. If for some reason you do not win your case, you not have to pay for any of these fees. All the time and money spent will cost us, but won’t cost you a single penny.
What do you have to lose? David M. Clark and The Clark Law Office have won multiple million dollar verdicts on behalf of our clients and we want to help you! Give us a call today and talk to David personally or let us know how you would like to be contacted. We are located at 3970 Heritage Avenue in Okemos, MI and you can call us free at (517) 347-6900.
If you are unsure that you have a legitimate case, get the legal advice you deserve. Often times, car insurance companies will offer quick settlements that sound too good to be true. Most of the time they are too good to be true and there simply trying to mitigate their own damages instead of giving you the compensation that you need. This is a common tactic used by insurance companies around the country. By offering you a quick settlement, they are actually reducing the amount of your award but are relying on the fact that you need money right away. Regardless of the seriousness of your injuries, there is usually a ground for some sort of legal action. As an attorney practicing car accident law in Michigan for 30 years, I can help determine if you have a case against the auto insurance company.
The majority of auto accidents are not life-threatening or extremely severe, but medical costs and other expenses can accumulate quickly regardless of the injuries. As you know, the expense related to the medical field can be cumbersome and hurt your financial position. While some injuries are obvious and easy to prove, many injuries are not quite so obvious. For example, certain types of spinal injuries and whiplash injuries will not show up during routine exams using an x-ray or MRI. Just because they are architect doesn’t mean they can cause you significant pain and require extensive medical treatment.
If you or someone you care about sustains an injury from non-mobile accident, be cautious of any settlements that your insurance company offers. You should also be careful about giving statements by phone, e-mail, or any other type of communication regarding your injuries. Even though you may think the statements are fine, they can easily be used to hurt your chances or lower your payment on a car accident claim.
Michigan car accident law is quite extensive and can be confusing, for this reason the best way to determine if you have a case is to call an experienced personal injury attorney. Nobody enjoys suing somebody, but many times this is the only alternative that you are left with. Most people don’t realize that in Michigan you are usually suing your own insurance company for medical expenses. If you have suffered a catastrophic or serious injury, you may also be entitled to third-party benefits where you will be suing the other driver was negligent in causing the accident.
Call us today to see if you have an auto accident claim at (517) 347-6900. The Clark Law Office has litigated car accident cases in Michigan for 30 years and we can help determine whether you have a case. We offer free consultations to all of our clients and charge no fees unless you win your auto accident case.
Text messaging is the most common form of distracted driving, and a New Jersey lawsuit is testing the notion that the sender of a text message should be held liable. It’s believed to be the first lawsuit of it’s kind in the country. The case is actually quite interesting. It involved two motorcyclists that were involved in a tragic accident with a pickup truck. The motorcyclists, David and Linda, were hit head on by a truck that crossed over the center-line of the road. When I first heard this scenario, I figured there was no way to survive. It turns out they both lived but both lost a leg during the crash.
The driver in the Chevy truck admitted guilt and also admitted that he was text messaging at the time was the underlying reason for the accident. His phone records show text messages seconds before a frantic 911 call. Both David and Linda claim that they saw the truck driver driving with his elbows because he was busy text messaging someone. They also claim that he was not paying attention to the road and this his head was pointed down towards a cellphone. It turns out that someone is the girlfriend of the truck driver.
The interesting part of this case is that David and Linda are suing both the driver and the girlfriend of the driver. It’s obvious as to why they’re suing the driver, but this is the first lawsuit also targeting the text message-er on the other end of the conversation. The argument is that the girlfriend was electronically present and therefore also negligent. Linda insists that the girlfriend knew his boyfriend was driving at the time and should also be held accountable. It seems pretty difficult to prove this fact to me.
The ruling came in just this morning from Judge David Rand. All of the claims against the girlfriend of the driver were dismissed. The truck driver is required to speak to local schools about how dangerous texting and driving really is. Surprisingly, his driver’s license is still valid.
As the majority of Michigan drivers already know, driving and texting is now illegal in the state. The ban officially took place on the 1st of July, and drivers now face a $100 dollar fine for their first offense. The second offense sees steeper penalties, and drivers will be subject to a $200 dollar fine. Michigan is joining a growing list of states that have bans on the books, and it was officially the 24th state to adopt legislation regarding texting and driving. There are now 30 states that have bans in place around the country.
There are a number of issues that are raised by this new legislation, and the major thing is how police and judges determine whether a driver was actually texting while operating their vehicle. There are a host of other uses for cell phones, and none of these are illegal yet. Some of the legitimate uses that are not covered in the ban include using a phone to find information or using the GPS that is included on most handsets.
I agree that the ban is a good one and do not feel that texting and driving are a good mix. I often see drivers texting while they are behind the wheel. Some of them are pretty dangerous, and they can be seen weaving through traffic haphazardly. However, it seems that the ban is actually pretty hard to enforce due to the different uses that cell phones have. I do not design cell phones, but most have GPS technology. Maybe, the texting feature could be disabled when vehicles are driving faster than five miles per hour. I am not sure, but it seems that there are better ways than the current ban.
The ban has been in place for quite a few months now, but I have not seen any real statistics that would enable me to evaluate its efficacy. If you have seen something or wish to discuss this issue, please feel free to do so.
If you want to talk with an experienced attorney about this or any other law, call The Clark Law Office at 517.347.9600. We can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you call us, you can rely on the professional advice of an attorney who has more than 30 years of experience. We will not refer you to a third party, and you can call today for your free consultation.
Shoppers for high powered fireworks will now find themselves freed from yesteryear’s staunch fireworks regulations by newly passed laws within the state of Michigan. Always a strict enforcer of fireworks prohibition, Michigan has kept a close eye on the sales and purchase of fireworks and caused in-state buyers to often travel great distances across state lines to acquire fireworks for special occasions such as birthdays, New Year’s Eve, and Independence Day. Of course, this out-of-state expenditure caused significant tax loss to Michigan state, revenue which could have been bolstering Michigan’s economy. And it was that loss that ultimately inspired the newly revised and loosened laws. Many people, especially those who were inconveniently travelling out-of-state to purchase their fireworks, believe that these new laws are beneficial, especially when considering the poorly declining economy within the state of Michigan. However, many shoppers may still opt to travel out of Michigan’s boundaries in order to avoid the inflated fees involved with either buying or selling upgraded fireworks; fees that now charge business owners $1000 to establish their permanent fireworks shop, or $600 for a temporary stand. This, in tandem with newly increased tax rates and a newly applied 6% fireworks safety fee, pass on bloated prices to the consumer – a burden that some may happily bear in respect for the state’s suffering economy.
Some arguers claim that permitted in-state fireworks sales will directly cause a higher rate in fireworks related incidents, such as severe personal burns and property fire damage – that argument is quickly rebuked when one considers that these accidents were already taking place with the purchase of out-of-state fireworks. Wherever the source of the fireworks, the ultimate result is the same, and hundreds of people per year still suffer wrongful burns or property loss as a result of improper fireworks use. If you’re one of these many, you must understand that you may be eligible for compensation for you pains and losses, and that you’re not alone in your struggle. There are specialists waiting to help you with your case and fight for the justice that you deserve.
The Clark Law Offices have served Michigan for over 30 years and brought justice for countless victims of personal injury. With offices in Okemos and Lansing, Michigan we are conveniently located to assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve after for your accident. Please call us for answers and peace of mind at (517) 347-6900. All consultations are free.
Judge David Rand queried a plaintiffs lawyer named Mitchell Makowicz Jr. and tried to find out whether he was Googling the jurors or not. This occurred on May 14th, 2009. There was a transcription of the whole discussion at law.com, and the discussion went a little something like this.
The Judge: Are you running Google searches on these potential jurors?
Plaintiffs Lawyer: Judge, there is no law that says I cannot do that.
The Judge: Is that what you are up to right now?
Plaintiffs Lawyer: I’m just getting the facts on jurors. It is within my rights. Everyone does this sort of thing. It is not odd at all. There is no rule that says I can’t do it.
The Judge: This is the rule. It is my courtroom. I control it.
The judge made the decision because he thought the plaintiffs lawyer had an unfair advantage. One lawyer had a personal laptop, and the other lawyer did not have this laptop. It was unfair. The judge wanted to keep the playing field equal. He even told the lawyer that he should have asked for permission first. It was just like a classroom. An appeals court reversed the judge’s rule and said that anyone could go through with it. Having attorneys have an unfair ability to look up potential jurors while the other attorney does not is an unfair usage of courtroom freedom. This could lead to attorneys using the Internet to discovering all sorts of things about you. They could start to discover facts and information about you from all your personal services. It is not fun when attorneys can get this information on you. It is also not fair to the other side. It is not fair all around, and it is a difficult thing for people have to deal with on a regular basis in a courtroom setting, especially the defense attorneys that work hard to ensure your innocence.
It is not a good thing to give attorneys the unfair advantage of looking up potential jurors in the courtroom. Your personal information should be kept completely private from people. This is a difficult thing for people to deal with, but there is a trend where personal privacy is eroding in America.
David M. Clark is a personal injury attorney that can help you with this. Call (517) 347-6900 today.