After an auto accident, injured motorists usually aren’t particular about which auto insurance company pays their bills. However, for insurers, the priority of payments can be worth the fight. Find out what it means for you when auto insurance companies fight over who pays your no-fault benefits.
Finding The Correct Auto Insurance Provider Is A Matter Of Priority
The Michigan No-Fault Act is designed to ensure that nearly every person injured by a motor vehicle has somewhere to turn to for their medical expenses, lost wages, attendant care, and replacement services. In the majority of auto accident lawsuits, these benefits are paid by a driver’s own insurance policy. However, when a passenger or pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle, finding the proper auto insurance provider can sometimes be a challenge.
Michigan law describes where injured motorists should turn in terms of “priority.” After an auto accident, personal injury attorneys will need to provide notice and pursue claims against auto insurance companies in order based on:
- Any auto insurance policy that lists the injured person as a named insured (even if that vehicle was not involved in the accident)
- Policies covering the person’s spouse or a relative living in the same household
- The policy of the owner or driver of a vehicle involved in the accident
If the injured party’s personal injury attorney can’t uncover any policies that apply, he or she can file a claim with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. The case will then be assigned to one of the auto insurance companies that do business in the state to pay the benefits. Assigned claims are necessarily the lowest priority. If any other insurance applies, the injured person must file his or her claim with that insurance provider.
Auto Insurance Priority Battles Put Injured Motorists In The Middle
When a personal injury lawsuit is filed against on a low priority auto insurer, especially as an assigned claim, a priority battle is likely to follow. A common defense in these cases is that the defendant auto insurance company is not the insurer of highest priority, and therefore should not be required to pay.
According to the Michigan No-Fault Act, when there is a priority dispute, auto insurers are supposed to promptly pay valid claims for benefits first and then address the issue in a separate lawsuit for indemnification or reimbursement. However, often insurance defense attorneys will attempt to have the initial no-fault auto accident lawsuit dismissed, claiming the injured party sued the wrong defendant. This tactic can delay recovery for injured motorists, passengers, and pedestrians, while their personal injury attorneys fight against the improper procedure.
Reimbursement Litigation Makes Legal Challenges Live On After Settlement
Even when auto insurance companies do follow the proper process, their reimbursement lawsuits can often keep injured motorists from moving on after an accident. Priority battles between auto insurance companies often include depositions of the parties involved in the accident as they try to prove which company is required to pay the benefits. This causes injured parties to have to relive the details of the crash long after their own matter has been resolved.
Auto accident lawsuits are seldom simple or straight-forward. However, when auto insurance companies fight priority battles over their priority, it can make car crash litigation even longer, and more complicated. Without skilled personal injury attorneys to protect their interests, injured motorists, passengers, and pedestrians can often find themselves caught in the legal crossfire.
Contact Top Michigan Personal Injury Attorneys Today
The Cronin Law Firm has experienced attorneys to aid with whatever legal issue you’re facing. If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact The Cronin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.