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Detroit Lions Nate Burleson breaks arm in car crash

How does Michigan law work and how does No Fault cover Nate Burleson while he recovers from his car accident?

Detroit Lions Nate Burleson breaks arm in crash

As a big Lions fan, this one really hurts. Nate Burleson was having a terrific year. Now he’s out and having surgery to repair his broken arm. Does the curse over the Detroit Lions linger, losing a key player yet again?

I’ve written from time to time about the Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines. I’ve discussed the NFL players’ settlement and the dangers of football players sustaining concussions, and then subsequent concussions because they return to the game too quickly or are improperly diagnosed. I’ve even wondered aloud whether football will still be a sport as the science and the medicine on concussion and brain injuries continues to evolve.

Nate Burleson broke his arm in a single-car crash in the early morning hours. That leaves the Detroit Lions wide receiver with a broken arm in two places. Nate is scheduled to have surgery sometime today, according to a story on, “Nate Burleson breaks arm in crash.”

The crash occurred on I-696 in Farmington Hills, very close to our law office. Police say there was no alcohol involved.

Burleson is coming off his best game in a few seasons. He has 19 receptions for 239 yards for the Lions on Sunday.

How Michigan’s No Fault insurance law works in Nate Burleson’s single car accident

I wanted to take Burleson’s injury as an opportunity to explain how Michigan’s No Fault benefits provided through his No Fault auto insurance policy will cover him while his broken arm heals.

Many people are unfamiliar with Michigan’s No Fault law, and how the No Fault system protects them after a car accident, even though we all pay for No Fault insurance. Unfortunately, people really only start to understand how important this insurance is after they’ve been involved in a car accident and spoken to a lawyer.  But the help that Michigan No Fault can offer in paying for medical bills or lost wages can be invaluable.

Michigan is a “No-Fault” state, meaning that even in a single-car accident like Burleson’s, where a driver may have caused his own injuries, he or she is still entitled  No Fault benefits from their own insurance company.  That’s why the law is called “No Fault,” because regardless of fault, and no matter who caused the crash, crash victims can still receive insurance benefits.

So even though Burleson was involved in a single-car accident, he can still receive Michigan No Fault benefits if he has Michigan No Fault insurance.

Michigan No Fault benefits include:

Lost wages

If you’re injured in a car accident in Michigan, No Fault insurance will reimburse you for 85% of your lost wages as a result of your injuries – up to $5,189 per month for up to three years.

Burleson can receive lost wages under the No Fault Law. Unfortunately, as a professional football player, Burleson will be substantially over the monthly cap.  Because another driver did not cause the automobile crash, Burleson will only be able to recover up to the monthly cap on wage loss, unless he had a supplemental disability insurance (almost all athletes do – the question will be whether it covers this automobile accident, or whether there will be an exclusion in the disability policy).

Medical expenses

This is why Michigan No Fault is so fantastic.  No Fault insurance provides coverage of all of your necessary automobile accident-related medical treatment for the entire duration of your injuries, even if it lasts for the rest of your life. For people who have suffered catastrophic life-long injuries, like serious spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, this benefit (currently) lasts for life.

The insurance industry is working very hard to change this as we speak, and No Fault “reform” legislation will likely be proposed yet again to cap or limit medical treatment under No Fault in Michigan.

Your medical expenses also include medical mileage, which is reimbursement for travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments; and attendant care (in home nursing services).

In Burleson’s case, he almost certainly has very good health insurance. This health insurance is always primary, except for a few exceptions mostly involving ERISA plans.  That means his health insurance will pay first, and anything that his health insurance does not cover, or if there are remainder balances after his health insurance pays, he can turn to his own No Fault company to have his medical expenses related to his car accident covered under his auto No Fault policy.

Replacement services

Michigan No Fault insurance provides up to $20 a day for help with household chores, services like meal preparation and even child care, for up to three years. Burleson can receive replacement services due to his broken arm preventing him from doing household chores.

Michigan’s auto insurance system is widely considered by experts to be the very best in the nation. We wish Burleson the best in his recovery.

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Blog Author Steven M. Gursten
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