requirements is the justices’ practical application of their interpretation.
How did the Court determine whether a hip injury was covered by a victim’s application for Michigan car insurance benefits?
In Dillon, State Farm tried to get out of paying No Fault benefits for Jessica Dillon’s hip injury by claiming it wasn’t specifically identified as an “injury” in her application for Michigan car insurance benefits — which she provided to State Farm more than two years before claiming benefits related to her hip injury.
Based on its interpretation that the No-Fault law’s “notice-of-injury” rule does not require an auto accident victim to “identify the specific injury for which the insured later seeks coverage,” the Court of Appeals in Dillon concluded the victim’s application for Michigan car insurance benefits covered her hip injury and, thus, State Farm had to cover it.
However, once the case reached the Michigan Supreme Court, the justices unanimously voted to “vacate that part of the Court of Appeals judgment analyzing MCL 500.3145 and concluding that a claimant can satisfy the statute by merely providing notice of a physical injury.”
But — and this is the intriguing part for Michigan auto lawyers — the justices agreed with the Court of Appeals that the victim’s hip injury was covered by the application for Michigan car insurance benefits and, thus, No-Fault PIP benefits were still owed:
“[A]fter being involved in a motor vehicle accident, the claimant provided timely notice of injuries causing pain to her left shoulder and lower back.”
“Years later, the claimant sought treatment for an injury to her left hip that, according to the jury, was caused by the same accident.”
“Because, as the claimant’s doctor pointed out, the hip injury could have created the lower back pain, her initial notice can be traced to the eventual injury and was sufficient for the purposes of MCL 500.3145(1) …,” i.e., the No-Fault Law’s notice-of-injury rule.
How does Michigan’s notice of injury rule apply to an application for Michigan car insurance benefits?
Michigan’s No-Fault insurance law has the following “notice of injury” rule that applies to a victim’s application for Michigan car insurance benefits:
A victim must provide a “written notice of injury … to the insurer within 1 year after the accident” in order to preserve his or her right to sue for unpaid No Fault auto insurance benefits.
So long as the “written notice of injury” is given to the auto insurance company within a year of the accident, a lawsuit for unpaid No-Fault benefits can “be commenced at any time within 1 year after the most recent allowable expense, work loss or survivor’s loss has been incurred.”
The “notice of injury” must include “the name and address of the claimant and indicate in