Michigan Auto Accident: Who Pays?

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Michigan car accident, and the facts of the particular case establish that you are entitled to no-fault benefits, it is important for you to be aware of what benefits may be available to help one recover from an injury. The No-Fault Act in MI provides for personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits that allow an injured motorist to apply to her insurer for a wide variety of benefits. When an insurer refuses to pay benefits and a lawsuit commences, it is called a first-party suit. If one is killed, permanently disfigured, or suffers a serious impairment of a body function, a lawsuit against the other driver may be appropriate in what is called a third-party suit.

Michigan PIP insurance benefits cover a wide variety of necessary medical expenses. Insurers may be required to cover the cost of medicine, equipment, hospital and doctor’s bills, nursing home care, private duty nursing care, and rehabilitation services. Not only that, but if a family member is providing one of these services for you, your insurer may be required to reimburse that person for providing services for you.

Claimants may also be entitled to wage loss benefits and incidental expenses that cover the cost of living (food, utilities, rent, etc.), modifying a vehicle or home (such as building a ramp for a wheelchair), or the cost of transportation to and from hospitals, doctor appointments or rehabilitation facilities. Some injured claimants find that their insurer has to pay up to $20 per day, for up to three years after an accident, which covers replacement services. Replacement services are those activities an injured party used to participate in before she was injured but can no longer accomplish as a result of sustained injuries. These services cover activities such as shoveling snow off a driveway, mowing a lawn, picking up around the house or driving a child to soccer practice.

Clearly, there are some great benefits available for people injured in an Michigan car accident. The great thing about PIP benefits is that a claimant does not have to wait for these benefits as insurers are penalized for refusing to pay claims. So, if you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, it is important to contact your insurer immediately. If an insurer refuses to provide benefits, it is necessary to find an experienced no-fault attorney. Contact our auto accident attorney in Michigan for legal assistance.

I Was Replaced As A Life Insurance Beneficiary: Now What?

I got a phone call recently from a woman who wanted to know whether her daughter was entitled to the proceeds of a life insurance contract where her father, the woman’s ex-husband, named her as the sole beneficiary. Unfortunately for the girl, her father changed the beneficiary of his life insurance policy to his mother just before he died from brain cancer. The woman wanted to know whether her daughter could challenge the policy as the sole heir to her father’s estate (he died intestate, or, without a will).

I told the woman that the proceeds to a life insurance policy are property that passes outside of probate. Instead, the proceeds are the result of a contract that exists between the insurance company and the decedent. Therefore, challenges made regarding the appropriate beneficiary are based in normal, contract law. Or, the daughter had no right to challenge the appropriate beneficiary just because she was her father’s only heir. These challenges may be made in district or civil court, but may often times be made in probate court as well. So, what challenges are typically made in these kinds of situations? Usually, there is only one.

Challenges made as to the appropriate beneficiary of life insurance proceeds are almost always based on the decedent’s mental capacity at the time the change was made. The mental capacity required to change a beneficiary in a life insurance policy is the same as the capacity required for entering into any other contract—a person must have the ability to understand the nature and consequences of his actions. This analysis has little to do with the decedent’s overall level of intelligence, financial wherewithal, or motivation.

Instead, the court must determine whether a decedent, at the time of changing a beneficiary, knew what he was doing. Often times, challenges made as to the appropriate beneficiary will include allegations that others unduly influenced or coerced the decedent while she was in a vulnerable state. So, what we are left with is a two-part analysis which involves the mental capacity of the decedent at the time a beneficiary was changed, and whether there were outside influences which took advantage of a vulnerable policy holder. One must examine potential witnesses and the surrounding circumstances to determine whether the unclean hands of one muddied up any modification made to a life insurance policy.

For more information, please visit us at Michigan Personal Injury attorneys or call our law firm at (877) 737-8800 (toll-free).

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