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Michigan No-Fault Law Archives

An Overview of the Personal Injury Process

If you are the victim of a car accident, you may have questions about what happens next. Many people who are involved in a car accident are not familiar with the legal process and do not know the first step to take. The attorneys at SMDA are here to help you with each step of the process and answer any questions you may have. We understand that being injured unexpectedly can be overwhelming, which is why our skilled attorneys strive to help you handle the legal aspect of your case.

Why You Should Report All Drivers On Your Car Insurance

Everyone loves saving money, but it could cost you if your current means of doing so include not listing all drivers of your vehicle on your insurance policy. SMDA recently worked a case where the insurance company claimed they were entitled to deny no-fault insurance benefits to our client because he allegedly was not listed as a named insured on his commercial vehicle automobile insurance policy. The company attempted to apply the holding from the Court of Appeals in Barnes v Farmers, 308 Mich App 1 (2014), to this case involving a commercial policy to ask the Court to rule that our client was not entitled to receive No-Fault insurance benefits following a collision. However, the Court determined that the Barnes case only pertained to personal automobile insurance policies and not commercial policies. Since the SMDA client was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, the holding from Barnes was inapplicable to our client. However, our case should act as a good reminder for anyone, especially families, with a personal No-Fault automobile insurance policy to list all drivers of the car on the policy, no matter how little time they spend in it and here's why:

One Step Closer to Justice for Grieving Family

SMDA is pleased to update the status of the victory in the trial win against the auto insurer of a grieving family of their minor daughter who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision. SMDA tried this case to verdict and successfully defended the case in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The case was tried over three days in August of 2015. SMDA, with the assistance of counsel for Mary Free Bed Hospital and Covenant Health Care, won a verdict of over one million dollars following a hard fought trial. Plaintiff's daughter, who passed away in a house fire before trial, was 15 years old at the time of the crash. She sustained serious injuries as a result of a single car accident while she was on her way to school. Her right to receive automobile no-fault insurance benefits rested on whether or not the she had permission to drive the car. Since the insurance company alleged that she did not have permission and thus was not entitled to receive any benefits from her mother's automobile insurance policy, it was their burden to explicitly prove she took the car without her parents' permission. Although her mother initially stated that her daughter had taken the car without permission, under testimony both parents and the minor plaintiff unequivocally testified that she had permission to take the family car. The insurance company also argued that permission could not be legally granted because the minor only had a permit and she could not legally operate the vehicle without a licensed adult in the car.

Michigan 2015 Senate Bill 248 and 249

Last week the Senate rushed SB 248 and 249 through the insurance committee. The bills were voted out of committee and passed by the Senate. These bills significantly affect our current automobile no-fault insurance system, including, most significantly, the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (CAT Fund). The bills have been sent to the House Insurance Committee. Obviously the plan is for these bills to be presented to the House of Representatives for their vote. WE urge you to contact your representative and tell them to VOTE NO on these bills.

The Danger of Drowsy Driving

We previously discussed the dangers of distracted driving. Recently, AAA released another study that suggests that falling asleep while at the wheel is also a more common danger than you might think.

Slip & Falls

As the law stands right now 90% of all slip and falls on another person's property, commercial, private or otherwise, are not compensable. There is simply no liability. The growing concept known as open and obvious, expands to every hazardous condition that can be seen upon causal inspection, including the presence of ice and snow.

I was hit by an Underinsured Driver, what is my recourse?

If you were hit by an underinsured motorist, please note that you are not out of luck!
The plaintiff is allowed to recover from his or her own auto insurance carrier for the damages sustained in an auto accident with an underinsured driver. You will know when the at-fault driver is underinsured when your third party tort damages exceed the at-fault's insurance policy limits.

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