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New obstacles uninsured auto accident victims face obtaining No Fault benefits from the MACP

May 28, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

A call to arms: The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan has gone “rogue” and it must be fixed!

Michigan Assigned Claims Plan obstacles

As an attorney in this state, what the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) is doing concerns me for several reasons. And it should bother you as well.

What the MACP is doing violates the Michigan Constitution. It is an illegal usurpation of legislative powers, as I explain below.

But what also bothers me is the incredible delays that my own clients are seeing in trying to obtain No Fault benefits from the new MACP plan, even when they clearly qualify – such as a bicyclist or pedestrian who is hit by a car and injured.

The new MACP is now part of a power-grab by the same self-interested, for-profit entities who were foolishly put in charge of running it.  It is clearly broken and it demands our attention.

And it’s getting away with all of this because there’s no media attention or legislative scrutiny.

Yesterday, I discussed the problems that uninsured car accident victims are having in being deemed ‘eligible’ under the new standards arbitrarily created by the new Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. Today, I’d like to wrap up my three-day series on the MACP’s going “rogue” by re-writing our state law with a closer look into the many obstacles that uninsured but clearly eligible auto accident victims now face in receiving their No Fault benefits.

Let’s start with the lucky ones who’re actually deemed eligible to recover No Fault PIP (personal injury protection) benefits in the first place.

As a refresher, the MACP is the program that provides Michigan No Fault insurance benefits to uninsured auto accident victims, as long those drivers were not the owner/operator of the car involved in the crash. This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, passengers and other non-drivers.

As if the MACP’s unconstitutional changes to the Michigan No Fault Law weren’t enough, the MACP has also used its self-created rule-making power to include in its “Plan of Operations” the following new, unprecedented hurdles that make it more difficult for an injured car accident victims to obtain No Fault benefits through the MACP.  These include:

  • “An application for benefits under the Plan must be accompanied by a satisfactory proof of loss, documentation supporting that due diligence was exercised and the amount of loss sustained.”
  • “Upon receipt of a claim for benefits, the MAIPF [which administers the MACP] may make an initial determination of the claimants’ eligibility for benefits. The claimant shall reasonably cooperate with MAIPF in the investigation of any claim, including furnishing medical records and submitting to an examination under oath.”
  • “A satisfactory proof of loss may include a police report, an EMS report and/or any other documentation that the MAIPF deems satisfactory to substantiate that the claimant may be entitled to benefits through the MACP.”
  • “Due diligence is exercised when the claimant or their representative has investigated and exhausted all avenues of any other available coverage. This may include, but is not limited to, contact attempt with the claimant, the claimant’s resident relatives or spouse, the involved vehicle owner(s), the involved vehicle driver and any other actions that the MAIPF deems necessary for the claimant or their representative to determine that the claimant may be entitled to benefits through the MACP.”

No legislative approval

Whether some, all or none of the unilaterally-created rules that the MACP “wrote” into the No Fault law make sense or have merit does not change the fact – or otherwise mitigate the unlawfulness – of what the MACP has done.

The rogue MACP has effectively “seized” the “legislative power” that has been historically – and constitutionally – reserved exclusively for Michigan’s Legislature. (“The legislative power of the State of Michigan is vested in a senate and a house of representatives.” (Article 4, Section 1 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963))

To be clear, none of the rules enacted by the MACP – and imposed by the MACP on uninsured auto accident victims applying for No Fault PIP benefits – are provided for or authorized anywhere in the existing No Fault statutes or the law as it exists in this state.

That means none of the MACP’s changes to the No Fault Law have been approved by the Michigan Legislature – the only governmental body with the constitutional authority to make the law.

To learn more, please check out Michigan Auto Law’s blog post, “MI Assigned Claims Plan seizes ‘legislative power’ to rewrite No Fault law.”

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