Are No-Fault And Personal Injury Protection The Same Coverage?
The answer is “yes,” but is that really your question? Have you been injured in a car accident? Need legal advice?
Cochran, Kroll & Associates can help.
Michigan Is A No-Fault State
In Michigan — as in many other states — your no-fault auto insurance company covers you, your family members, and others injured in the accident with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. There is sometimes confusion about what Michigan’s no-fault law says, and what Personal Injury Protection (PIP) means in the context of this law.
Michigan’s no-fault law says that drivers involved in a car accident should first file a claim with their own insurance company. Michigan is one of the few states where your PIP coverage works in conjunction with your health insurance for medical payments coverage and additional economic losses like wages.
PIP benefits include medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages for up to three years, and other costs — like home care assistance and child care support — that may be associated with your care and recovery process.
In most cases, PIP is all the coverage you need. But sometimes it isn’t.
Changes To Michigan’s No-Fault Law
Michigan’s no-fault insurance law has recently been overhauled. Known as Senate Bill 1, new no-fault guidelines were signed into law on June 11, 2019. The new regulations have made several significant changes to what PIP insurance covers, coverage limits, and other details as a tradeoff for lowering premium rates.
As of July 1, 2020, drivers have a choice of four different coverage levels; $50,000 (if enrolled in Medicaid); $250,000; $500,000; or no limit. The new law promises significant premium savings for drivers who agree to a lower cap. However, it also means that if you are injured, your coverage limit may not be adequate to cover your medical bills.
If you have questions about what PIP covers, and what it doesn’t, an attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. will be happy to meet with you at a time and place that is convenient and comfortable for you, including your home or hospital room. We help individuals and families throughout Michigan to evaluate their situation after an auto accident, explaining liability insurance and helping clients understand the pros and cons of settlement options that take liability coverage into account.
Negotiating The Claims Process
Sometimes before a personal injury claim is even filed, the at-fault driver — or more likely the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver will approach you with a settlement offer. Don’t sign anything before consulting with an attorney. In complex cases, settlement discussions can happen several times, over a period of months, as different compensation scenarios are proposed and evaluated.
Insurance companies want to settle for as little as possible, and they also want to settle out of court.
An attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. can be at your side during any discussions with an insurance company, helping you understand, in plain terms, what all the documents and fine print mean — and what signing your name means. We’re also prepared to go to court, if necessary, to recover additional damages not covered by PIP.
Have You Been Seriously Injured?
If you are recovering from a serious car accident injury, you may not know at first what the long-term impact of your injuries might be. Will your recovery process be complete by the time your insurance reaches its cap? What insurance pays for your medical care then? Are you looking at long-term or permanent disability?
Serious injuries mean that your financial loss is more significant. What will happen if you aren’t able to return to the same job — or return to work at all — when you recover? What happens then?
Senior Partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical cases at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. and her training as a Registered Nurse is invaluable in evaluating your injuries for legal purposes. In some situations, we may recommend that a particular specialist be seen or a test conducted, to provide us with indisputable evidence and testimony during settlement discussions, and if necessary, litigation in court.
Filing A Personal Injury Claim
Michigan law recognizes your right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages that are not medical in nature and that exceed the limitations of PIP coverage. Michigan law stipulates that you can only file a lawsuit against the other driver if you have what is referred to as a “threshold injury,” which means serious impairment, disability, and/or disfigurement. Examples of threshold injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Closed head injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Compound fractures
- Loss of a body function
- Permanent disfigurement
If you believe you were not the at-fault driver, contacting an attorney should be one of the first things you do after the accident.
The team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. is ready to get to work assembling evidence, interviewing witnesses, discovering information from the other side, and planning solid legal strategy that will persuade a judge and jury.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Even if you believe that the claims process will be simple, consulting an attorney is always a helpful step to take after an accident. This is because it’s almost always easier to gather evidence, interview witnesses and assemble other documentation as soon after the accident as possible.
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including car accident claims is three years after the date of the accident.
If a person dies as a result of the injuries sustained in the car accident and the surviving family decides to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the same three-year statute of limitations applies but begins on the date of death.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates has proven expertise in helping individuals and families who have suffered losses — through injury, disability, or death — to understand their options and recover damages. After a free initial consultation, if we decide to work together, it will be a contingency fee agreement. That means we don’t get paid until you get your settlement. Contingency fee agreements are set by statute (MRPC Rule 1.5) and can be up to one-third of the recovery award.
Contact us toll-free (24 hours) at 866-466-9912 or use our convenient online contact form.