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City of Detroit making it hard for accident victims to receive No-Fault insurance benefits

May 9, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Accident lawyer posts open letter asking Michigan Insurance Commissioner to investigate how Detroit handles bus accident and insurance claims

Below is a letter to Kevin Clinton, Michigan’s new insurance commissioner, from a Detroit accident lawyer. This letter is a good example of how auto insurance companies, including municipalities like Detroit, are making it nearly impossible for seriously injured bus accident victims to recover their No-Fault insurance benefits.

April 18, 2011


Kevin Clinton, Commissioner
Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation
611 West Ottawa Street, 3rd Floor
Lansing, MI 48933

Re: Claimant

Dear Mr. Clinton:

I have listed one of my clients in the above caption, but the problems presented in this letter are now occurring with many of my clients, as well as for those accident victims who I frequently assist as a courtesy.

Recently, the City of Detroit Law Department has implemented new procedures that have made it much more difficult for bus accident claimants to recover Michigan No-Fault (PIP) benefits, for accidents involving City of Detroit vehicles (i.e. DDOT). The following is a list of problems that the City of Detroit has created for new accident claimants:

1. The City of Detroit now requires claimants to print 14 pages of forms off of the Internet and mail them to the City, before they will issue a claim number. Many of these forms go far above and beyond what is required by MCL 500.3145 and it is intentionally burdensome. I am also concerned by the large number of residents who do not have Internet access. It also raises fundamental fairness concerns as to why the City of Detroit Law Department is creating these unnecessary obstacles with residents, many of whom will struggle to complete these 14 pages of unnecessary and complicated paperwork.

2. They have eliminated the ability of accident victims to report accidents over the phone, which every other insurer in Michigan allows.

3. The City of Detroit investigators (insurance adjusters) are not contacting the accident claimants by phone or via mail, and are not providing bus accident victims with their claim number information. As a result, many doctors will not treat these people for auto accident-related personal injuries. This is contrary to the entire purpose and intent of the Michigan No-Fault Act, which is to provide prompt care and recovery to accident and injury victims.

4. When the clients call the City of Detroit claims adjusters and investigators, the voice mails are full and there is no way to leave a message.

5. The City is not paying bills on a timely basis pursuant to the No-Fault Act. This is not a recent development with the City of Detroit.

It is unacceptable for the City of Detroit, as a self-insured entity, to be allowed to treat its residents in this manner. On several occasions, I have had to call one or more of the attorneys on staff at the Detroit Law Department just to get a claim number. A person should not be forced to have to hire a lawyer just to get a claim number.

Very truly yours,

Jeffrey A. Bussell

Michigan Auto Law

– This blog was written by Jeffrey A. Bussell. Jeff joined Michigan Auto Law’s pre-lawsuit division with extensive experience in No-Fault insurance litigation. He works closely with car accident victims in the early stages of their lawsuits.

Related information:

Michigan Auto Law Detroit office

Legal loophole lets SMART bus off the hook – despite causing serious bus accident

3 potential cases for Michigan auto accidents

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 auto accident lawyers.

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