Receiving Your Benefits Before Filing Suit
Client’s can receive their benefits without having to file a lawsuit! Many clients believe that their personal injury attorneys need to file suit immediately to receive their benefits. However, that is not the case. Under Michigan No-Fault law, there is a one-year statute of limitation, from the date of the motor vehicle accident, to file a lawsuit against the client’s insurance company. Clients can also sue the at-fault driver causing the accident for pain and suffering, and have a three-year statute of limitation from the date of the accident to do so.
Motor vehicle insurance companies, if primary over medical, are responsible for paying their insured’s medical bills, wage loss, household or replacement services, attendant care, and medical mileage. During the pre-litigation phase, attorneys will be submitting client’s medical bills, wage loss, and calendars/logs to the insurance company, giving the insurance company an opportunity to pay.
Clients easily confuse household or replacement services and attendant care. Household or replacement services are services that a client was performing before the accident, but due to the injuries suffered in the motor vehicle accident, could no longer perform. Examples include: vacuuming, taking out the garbage, cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc. Service providers can receive up to $20.00 per day. A specialist would have to disable a client from performing household or replacement services due to the client’s injuries.
On the other hand, a specialist would have to prescribe attendant care for a client that was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Attendant care is different than household or replacement services because the tasks are more personal in nature, such as personal grooming, bathing, dressing, undressing, showering, etc. Due to the nature of these tasks, persons helping the injured client with these tasks can get up to $15 an hour.
Without having to file a suit, clients will submit monthly calendars detailing the services performed by the service provider, along with disability certificates proving that the client was in need of help that month. Attorneys will then submit the calendars and the insurance company will have up to 30 days to pay. However, clients should keep in mind, especially in the early stages of submissions, that they should expect to have their first payment within 60 days of the submission.
In any event, if the client becomes “cut-off” from their insurance company, meaning that the insurance company believes that the client does not require further treatment for the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident, usually attorneys will file the lawsuit. Clients should keep in mind, however, that once the lawsuit is filed, the client will not receive any sort of payment until settlement or closing of the case!