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When to consult an insurance attorney? Any claim involving Michigan attendant care benefits – Part 5

March 2, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Insurance attorney explains how your auto insurance company doesn’t always give the full rate or the fair rate for attendant care and other No-Fault benefits

Yesterday, I wrote about some of the deliberate fraud I see insurance company claims adjusters commit. But no type of case has more insurance fraud than cases involving attendant care claims.

The amount of deliberate fraud and willful misrepresentation that occurs in attendant care claims in Michigan today is mind boggling. Why is this happening? The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that insurance adjusters can lie to their own customers about their ability to collect No-Fault attendant care benefits. And even when a claims adjuster does disclose that a person is entitled to attendant care – and some insurance companies are clearly better at disclosing this than others – there is still the battle over what is a fair hourly rate for the attendant care that is needed, and how many hours should the attendant care be paid.

The reality is this: In many, if not most attendant care injury cases, an experienced No-Fault insurance attorney can usually double or triple (or more) the voluntary hourly rate of attendant care being offered, or increase the number of hours the insurance company will pay for attendant care (or both), following a car accident causing serious personal injury.

It’s at least worth a phone call to an experienced insurance attorney to review the attendant care rate being voluntarily offered by the auto insurance company to make sure it is fair. You want to make sure you are receiving a fair and correct attendant care rate, and are not being shortchanged on the number of hours that attendant care is required.

One great example – night-time attendant care for supervision and monitoring is almost never voluntarily paid, even when it is clearly medically necessary and even when it is prescribed by the doctor. At eight hours a day, this quickly adds up. I am amazed how frequently the insurance company grabs this windfall that they legally owe to their own injured customers under Michigan No-Fault.

Don’t think your insurance company would deliberately misrepresent or intentionally pay an attendant care rate far less than the fair market rate? Watch this video called “Defense lawyer versus auto insurance adjuster.”

This would be entertaining if it weren’t so sad. The video will give you a good idea of what likely lies ahead for you when you deal with any claims adjuster on a serious car accident injury claim yourself. I’m not saying there aren’t many cases where you shouldn’t do it, but there are many cases, and types of claims, where people will be well-advised to at least review what they are entitled to and what is fair with an experienced Michigan insurance attorney.

Remember, auto insurance claims adjusters make their bonuses on the amount of money they save the insurance company every year – not on what they pay out to you.

What is Michigan attendant care?

Many people have never even heard of attendant care, which is an important No-Fault insurance benefit that is available to people who have been seriously injured in an auto accident. Our insurance attorneys always explain to our clients that attendant care means what it sounds like. Attendant care (also referred to as nursing care services) refers to activities of daily living that you are unable to perform yourself due to the severity of your personal injuries. Therefore, you require the help of someone else (the attendant) to provide the care.

Here’s a blog on the ins and outs of attendant care, including information on what is a fair hourly attendant care rate in Michigan.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top attorneys handling serious car accident and truck accident lawsuits, and No-Fault insurance litigation. He routinely writes about insurance company abuse and the No-Fault laws in Michigan, and is available for comment.

Related information:

Challenges facing No-Fault insurance attorneys

Video: Michigan attendant care benefits

How to read your auto insurance policy in Michigan

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our insurance attorneys.

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