Miller & Tischler, P.C. 

28470 W. 13 Mile Rd. Ste. 300
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
(248) 945-1040


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No-Fault News


March 2019  

Judicial Developments:
Legislative Efforts to Change No-Fault: "PIP Choice"
Efforts to Impede Service Provider Claims: The Shah Case

Verdicts and Settlements
Miller & Tischler, P.C. About Town  

By Wayne J. Miller
The new legislature begins where the old one left off: trying to foist on the public the idea of "PIP Choice."  These proposals essentially allow insureds to buy No-Fault coverage with limits that are so low that they are virtually worthless.  This could be better described as "False Choice."  These proposals do not include any proposal to guarantee rate reductions. Moreover, the driving public of Michigan will be well advised to purchase dramatically increased liability coverage. In the event one is sued, there will be no tort immunity for the economic losses that were formerly covered by No-Fault. Accordingly, while No-Fault insurance benefits will no doubt be decimated, there is little reason to believe in substantial rate relief.
Another reason to doubt that there will be any serious premium relief, is that No-Fault reform proposals do not touch collision/comprehensive coverages. These vehicle damage coverages are often the most expensive coverages by far.  For me personally, I pay $318/year for my No-Fault coverage, but $1,792 for my collision/comprehensive coverages (an almost SIX fold discrepancy). Confirm your own discrepancy by looking at your auto insurance declaration sheet.  We believe that Governor Whitmer's campaign to "fix the damn roads" will be very helpful in reducing these costs.
A much better idea to lower No-Fault insurance premiums is "Smart Choice." This proposal will require No-Fault insurers to offer much higher PIP deductibles. No one would be required to buy high deductible No-Fault. However, those who would want to save premiums may want to consider this option. HB 6100 was introduced last year.  This proposal called for insurers to offer PIP deductibles as high as $50,000. Importantly, anyone buying this option would be required to demonstrate other health insurance or Medicare coverage.  Thus, no one buying "Smart Choice" deductibles would go without coverage for the amount of the deductible.
As we have urged for several years now, please contact your legislators and urge your opposition to False Choice proposals.  There are much better ways to achieve our common goal of lowering insurance premiums.
No-Fault insurers won their great victory in the "Covenant" case in May 2017. This case prevented providers from directly suing No-Fault insurers.  Since then, providers have instead relied on "assignments" of the right to sue, issued by injured patients.  In the case of Shah v State Farm, the Court of Appeals confirmed that properly executed assignments were valid, even in the face of anti-assignment clauses in insurance policies. We await final action on this case by the Michigan supreme Court.
Apart from the validity of assignments, other litigation suggests problems with the use of this device. For example, a number of cases have held that a provider must bring their lawsuit within one year of the date of service whether or not the patient has already brought suit and later issued an assignment.  Another problem has occurred where the patient assigns their right to sue, and then the provider does not take action.  Insurers have been cleverly waiting until the one year back rule expires and then seeking to dismiss the claim for the provider from the patient's lawsuit. Insurers argue that once the patient assigns their claim, the patient no longer has a right to bring the claim.
Assuming that providers prevail in the Shah case (i.e., that assignments are valid), we will continue to have other issues on the viability and applicability of assignments and various defenses.  These will probably take several more years of litigation to resolve.
$575,000 SETTLEMENT FOR TRUCKING INJURY CASE .Wayne Miller recently settled a case for No-Fault insurance benefits involving serious burn injuries to a trucker. The case hinged on whether the trucker was an employee of the insured trucking company or an independent contractor.  After careful review of the trucking company personnel file and depositions of the various personnel, we were successful in establishing that the trucker was an employee of the trucking company.  Therefore, the trucker was covered by the company's No-Fault insurance and benefits were secured.
$1.9 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR NO-FAULT BENEFITS ON A RESIDENCY ISSUE.  Milea Vislosky recently settled a claim on behalf of the injured person's guardian, hospital and rehabilitation facility for $1.9 million.  The injured person was a passenger in an uninsured, unregistered vehicle that was involved in a serious crash, leaving him catastrophically injured.  The main issue in the case revolved around whether or not the injured person was a California resident or a Michigan resident.  The case was complicated by the fact that the original application for benefits, as well as the police report, stated the injured person was a California resident.  There was evidence that he was traveling to Michigan to stay with his sons when the crash occurred.  He never made it to his sons' home.   Milea went into great depth to show how the patient was a Michigan resident and was successful in getting Michigan No-Fault benefits for the injured person and his medical providers.  
$768,000 SETTLEMENT FOR A PEDESTRIAN'S NO-FAULT BENEFITS.   Andrew Horne recently settled a case in an action in which the underlying patient had sustained catastrophic injuries arising out of a motor vehicle v. pedestrian accident.  The driver of the striking vehicle fled the scene, and no insurance applicable to the loss could be identified. As a result of litigation filed against the insurer, Andrew successfully recovered over $768,000.   
VERDICT ON DIFFICULT MEDICAL CAUSATION CASE.  Martin Hogg and Milea Vislosky recently obtained a jury verdict on behalf of a neurosurgical group.  The case involved significant pre-existing injuries, with the patient having undergone back surgery by our client eight months before the accident for similar complaints.  The patient was still recovering from the prior surgery when he was struck by a car while trying to cross the street.  He did not go to the emergency room until the following day.  Our client performed a lumbar fusion surgery several months after the accident.  Along with his long and well-documented history of low back issues, the patient had a low level of education and suffered from bi-polar disorder.  As a result, he had a very difficult time articulating the difference between his post-accident symptoms and the back pain he had experienced before the accident.  The insurer denied it was responsible for payment of any of the medical bills following the accident, claiming the pain complaints were the same and there was no change in the MRI before and after.  The successful trial strategy involved an intense focus on the medicine through the testimony of the neurosurgeon, who was in the unique position of being the only witness who had physically seen the patient's spine both before and after the motor vehicle accident.  The insurer offered nothing to settle the case.  After eight days of trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client for $66,176.75 (100% of the unpaid medical bills and No-Fault interest).  Case evaluation sanctions are pending.  Another great result on a difficult medical causation case! 
  • Wayne Miller and Milea Vislosky will be speaking at the annual State Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) No-Fault Summit on May 2 - 3, 2019
  • M& T will once again be a sponsor for the annual RIM Symposium May 10, 2019 supporting the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan
  • Wayne Miller will be speaking on "Neuropsychological Testimony for Personal Injury Lawyers" at the annual AAJ 2019 Convention in San Diego on July 27, 2019 
  • M&T is speaking at MBIPC Legal Boot Camp on June 19th.  Looking forward to seeing many of our clients and friends there
  • Wayne Miller will be co-moderating and speaking at the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) annual No-Fault Institute on October 10 - 11, 2019

Miller & Tischler welcomes Paul Moceri to our family. 
Paul practices in the areas of No-Fault Insurance, Negligence and Litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit-School of Law.  After his admission to the bar, his career began as a litigator with a large insurance defense firm. Following his tenure in the insurance defense area, he has focused on the representation of personal injury victims. He is a member of the Michigan State Bar, Macomb County Bar Association, Michigan Association For Justice, Macomb County Bar Foundation Trustee, and has held a position as Neutral-Chairperson on a Case Evaluation Panel for Macomb Circuit County since 2002.  

About Our Law Firm


Miller & Tischler, P.C.,  represents survivors of catastrophic brain and spinal injuries, their families and their professional service providers who are having difficulty pursuing their entitlement to receive No-Fault benefits for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.  We help our clients understand how their No-Fault insurance may coordinate with other kinds of insurances they have whether it be private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Workers' Compensation, or Veterans benefits. We assist our clients in learning about and obtaining all of the benefits to which they are entitled, whether they be individuals or service providers.  We also represent our clients with their auto negligence and wrongful death claims.  In other words, we are a full service auto No-Fault law firm. 


Let Us Help You.