How Progressive is trying to trick car crash victims into forfeiting No Fault insurance benefits by using ‘Full and Final Settlement of PIP Claim’ language with wage loss payments
On Monday, I wrote about 9 reasons Progressive made my list of the worst auto insurance companies for 2015. I thought this would be a fitting follow-up blog post about the company and the way it treats auto accident victims.
This is what happens eventually when you live in a state with no bad faith legal protection against insurance company abuse, no punitive damages, and a Consumer Protection Act that was neutered by the (Republican) Michigan Supreme Court to no longer protect Michigan citizens from insurance companies.
My only advice is to call your attorney immediately if you’re injured in a car accident, file a No Fault claim and then see the following words on any check or any documents accompanying your No Fault wage loss check from your auto insurance company:
“Full and Final Settlement of PIP Claim.”
The reason you will need to call your attorney is because you will need your lawyer’s help — as your auto insurance company is trying to dupe you into forfeiting all of your No Fault insurance benefits – such as reimbursement for your No Fault lost wages and payment of all of your “reasonably necessary” crash-related medical expenses.
The reason our attorneys are writing about this trick is because Progressive Marathon Insurance Company recently tried – unsuccessfully, thankfully – to “run it” against one of Michigan Auto Law’s clients.
On its “Advice for Payment” form that accompanied our client’s No Fault wage loss check in the amount of $938.73, Progressive Marathon described the nature of its payment as “Full and Final Settlement of PIP Claim.” (To clarify, “PIP” is shorthand for “personal protection insurance” or “personal injury protection” insurance, which are both other ways of saying No Fault benefits.)
In other words, Progressive Marathon was trying to have our client agree that, in return for cashing his wage loss payment (which the auto insurer is required by the Michigan No Fault Law to pay for up to three years), our client would agree to a “Full and Final Settlement” of his claim for No Fault benefits. In other words, that he would never again ask Progressive Marathon to pay him No Fault insurance benefits.
Just so you know what to watch for, here’s a copy of the document that Progressive Marathon is using to try to pull of its trick:
Progressive Marathon Insurance Company just landed in my “Hall of Shame”
My opinion: Not only is Progressive Marathon’s decision to put this on a wage loss check shameful, it’s also outrageous when you consider the intended victim.
Our client, whom Progressive Marathon was trying to dupe with its “Full and Final Settlement” language on the check is a catastrophically injured accident victim who now requires around-the-clock attendant nursing care (24 hours per day, seven days per week) as a result of a very serious traumatic brain injury suffered in the car crash.
Had this Michigan Auto Law client actually cashed the wage loss check with the “Full and Final Settlement” of PIP claim language, Progressive Marathon would’ve argued that it no longer had to pay even a dime toward our client’s No Fault insurance benefits. Progressive Marathon would have argued that our client had “agreed” to settle all of his present and future No Fault insurance benefits – for the price of his $938.73 wage loss check.
We hear a lot about insurance fraud these days. But where is a “Michigan Auto Insurance Fraud Authority” (like the one proposed in the Senate’s No Fault plan, Senate Bill 248) that can protect consumers and innocent members of the public against insurance companies who deliberately seek to commit fraud to avoid contractual promises?
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Michigan and have Progressive Marathon as your insurance company, stay vigilant.