Following these steps will help ensure your No Fault lawsuit is successful, your attorney is prepared, and your PIP benefits are paid after a car accident
One of the hardest thing for people who have been injured in a car accident in Michigan is keeping track of the piles of paperwork and bills. Kitchen drawers become stuffed with mounds of EOBs and piles of statements and medical bills that come daily in the mail.
This can be stressful for anyone. It can seem impossible for people who are trying to recover from serious neck and back injuries and brain injuries.
But organizing your medical bills and making sure your attorney is aware of them is one of the most important and essential things you can do if you have to file a No Fault lawsuit for overdue and outstanding medical bills, wage loss or other PIP benefits that your insurance company has not paid. Under the Michigan No Fault law, automobile accident victims are entitled to No Fault (PIP) benefits from their own auto insurers, regardless of who caused the motor vehicle accident.
These No Fault benefits, often referred to as PIP or Personal Injury Protection benefits, include reimbursement of your medical expenses and mileage to and from medical appointments, 85% of your lost wages for up to three years, in-home attendant care nursing services and even help with household duties called replacement services.
Today I want to share some tips on how accident victims can organize medical bills and No Fault forms for wage loss or replacement services. These tips were originally created by Michigan Auto Law trial attorney Alison Duffy. Following these steps will help to ensure the success of your No Fault lawsuit and that your PIP benefits are paid:
Gather these documents for your attorney’s review
- Medical bills for accident-related treatment.
- Household/replacement services logs signed and dated by you and your household services provider.
- Attendant care logs completed by you and your attendant care provider.
- Disability slips from your doctor(s) regarding your ability to work, need for help with household chores and/or attendant care (personal needs).
- Wage loss evidence (paystubs, explanation of benefits/“EOBs”, or other documents showing what you were earning before your accident).
- Documents received from any other wage loss source (Social Security Disability, short-term or long-term disability carriers, workers compensation).
- Copies of the front and back of any health insurance cards you’ve had since your accident.
- A list of mileage to and from your accident-related doctors’ appointments (including totals).
- A list of any out-of-pocket costs (co-pays, prescription costs, including totals).
What should I do with these documents?
If you have a car accident attorney, gather these documents and bring them in for your attorney to review. If you have any questions, call your attorney for advice.
There are generally two times you will need to send your No Fault evidence documents:
- First, a few months after your lawsuit, you will receive a list of questions from the insurance company’s attorney called “interrogatories.” These questions will ask for detailed information about your No Fault claim, as well as supporting documents.
- Next, once case evaluation is scheduled by the court, your attorney will contact you with a list of documents needed for case evaluation (For example, updated disability scripts you have received since returning your interrogatory answers).
If you receive a new medical bill
It’s not necessary to send your attorney every medical bill as you receive them. It’s best to keep a folder or other designated place for documents regarding your No Fault claim. This will make it easy for you to collect all documents so you can review them with your attorney.
No fault forms from your insurance company
If you receive attendant care nursing services or replacement services, your auto insurance company will require you to fill out forms that keep track of your help. Be aware that after Bahri v. IDS, accurately completing these forms is critical. You cannot guess. The penalty for making a mistake can be the dismissal of your case.
If you run out of these forms and don’t have access to a photocopier, you can always ask your attorney to send you some new ones. If you are a client of Michigan Auto Law, your attorney can instantaneously send you new forms, or any other documents you might need or require, such as your deposition or interrogatories.
Remember, even if your attorney will always do his or her very best to make a claim for all outstanding No Fault benefits in your lawsuit, an attorney does not have ESP, no matter how good he or she is. Often one medical visit can result in three or four different bills coming in the mail. Your attorney is also depending on you to collect this information so a medical bill doesn’t slip through, or become time-barred by the statute of limitations or a full and final settlement release. No attorney can make a claim under Michigan law for No Fault auto insurance benefits that is not supported by reasonable proof.
As Alison always reminds her clients, in court it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.
Collecting all of your medical bills and making sure your attorney knows about all of the bills you receive is essential.
Again, if you have any questions, feel free to call one of our attorneys.