Who Pays My Benefits if I’m Involved in an Accident?
In general, under the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) portion of your automobile insurance policy, your auto insurer is “liable to pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle.”
What is an “Accidental” Bodily Injury?
A bodily injury is considered accidental as to a person claiming PIP benefits unless the injury was suffered or caused intentionally.
What Benefits Does My Auto Insurer Cover?
- Medical Expenses and Services
The PIP portion of your auto insurance policy covers what are deemed reasonably necessary medical expenses if you are injured in an automobile accident. Specifically, PIP covers medical expenses “consisting of reasonable charges incurred for reasonably necessary products, services and accommodations for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation.” In addition to medical billings, this coverage provides the following benefits:
Attendant Care (Nursing) Services – PIP can pay an hourly rate towards friends, family members or even medical professionals who need to assist a victim of an automobile accident with tasks involving personal care such as bathing, grooming, getting dressed and using the bathroom. The law does not provide a set hourly rate to be paid for attendant care services, though it can go up to $20.00 an hour or even higher depending on the individual circumstance.
Medical Mileage Reimbursement – automobile accident victims are entitled to seek reimbursement from their auto insurer for transportation to and from doctor appointments for necessary medical treatment of injuries sustained in an accident. The allowed reimbursement amount can be in excess of 50 cents a mile a driven. This benefit can also cover transportation expenses related to bus or taxi fares in the event the victim does not drive. Lastly, if an auto accident victim does not have any available means of transportation to and from their necessary medical appointments, the insurer may have to provide and pay for a transportation company to do so.
In the unfortunate event of an accident resulting in death, PIP will also pay for funeral and burial expenses based on the amount set forth in the insurance policy, which cannot be less than $1,750.00 or more than $5,000.00.
- Lost Wages
PIP will also pay 85% in lost wages for the income you would have earned if you had not been injured for up to three (3) years from the date of the accident. Since No-Fault wage loss benefits are NOT TAXABLE income, a claimant’s lost wage benefits are reduced 15% – that is unless you submit reasonable proof to your automobile insurer that your total income tax advantage is less than 15%.
- Replacement Services
Lastly, PIP will pay $20.00 per day for household or “Replacement” services. Specifically, this covers daily household services which an injured person is no longer able to do and must instead rely upon others to perform, including friends and family members. Examples of replacement services include, but are not limited to, vacuuming, dusting, taking out the trash, laundry, cutting the grass and shoveling the snow.
What if I Caused an Accident? Can I Still Collect Benefits?
Yes. Under Michigan’s No-Fault law, PIP benefits are due to the claimant “without regard to fault.” Simply put, even if you cause an accident your automobile insurer is still on the hook for payment of the benefits described above.
Who Do My PIP Benefits Cover?
Your Personal Injury Protection benefits apply to the following people when accidental bodily injury is sustained in an auto accident:
- The person named in the insurance policy (the insured)
- The spouse of the insured
- A relative of either the insured or the insured’s spouse who is domiciled in the same household. This is also known in the industry as a “Resident Relative.”
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR INSURANCE BENEFITS CALL US AT MACOMB INJURY LAWYERS FOR A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY AT (586) 333-3000.