If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan accident, there are many potential damages that you may be able to recover. Some of the potential categories of damages include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and other costs or lost income related to the accident. This case revolves around one of those kinds of damages, specifically attendant care benefits. Attendant care benefits may be paid in situations where the injured person needs support that cannot be given by their family or caretakers. Attendants are people that come in anywhere from 24 hours a day/seven days a week to an hour or less a week to assist the injured person with their daily care.
The Accident and Injuries
In 2001, a five year old girl was injured in a car accident. Her mother was killed in the accident. As they did not have insurance, the claim was assigned through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. The state plan then assigned the claim to State Farm Insurance. In the time since the accident, the insurance carrier paid out only a little over $5,000 in attendant care benefits.
However, the injured girl and her caretaker are now arguing that they should have been paid more attendant care benefits. The caretaker alleges that along with physical injuries, the girl also suffered a closed head injury from the accident which required extra assistance and supervision. Doctors have noted and testified that she likely suffered a brain injury from the accident which has affected her behavior. However, they did not specifically prescribe ongoing attendant care benefits and the plaintiff was not aware that they were available.
Now, the plaintiffs are arguing that it was fraudulent for the insurance company to withhold the availability of the attendant care services from them. She alleges that she was told by the insurance company that the care was not available and was only available for when she was taking the injured girl to appointments.
Michigan law allows fraud actions against insurance companies as long as the plaintiff can prove the following six things: 1) that the insurance company made a material misrepresentation, 2) that the information was false, 3) the insurer knew the information was false, 4) the insurer made the misrepresentation intending that the plaintiff acted upon it, 5) the plaintiff acted and relied on the misrepresentation, and 6) the plaintiff suffered an injury.
Here, the court held that the plaintiff did not prove that the five elements were met. Specifically, they noted evidence that the insurer did actually inform them of the availability of attendant care benefits. Therefore, the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan held that the plaintiff did not meet their burden and summary judgment was granted for the insurance agency on these issues.
Contact an Experienced Western Michigan Personal Injury Attorney Today!
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to damages. It is important that you fully understand all the benefits that you may be entitled to so that you get the full compensation that you deserve for your injuries. The knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Neumann Law Group can help you to access these benefits. Neumann Law Group regularly has clients in Detroit, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Southfield, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Traverse City, and other parts of Western Michigan. You should call 800-525-6386 or use the contact form on this website to schedule your free consultation today!
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