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Do I need a prescription for attendant care services in Michigan?

October 13, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

What most No Fault attorneys will say is wrong.  By law, you don’t need a script for in-home nursing services like attendant care…but you will likely have an easier time when the doctor orders

no-fault-attendant-care

Attendant care is one of the most important No Fault benefits, but most people have no idea they’re entitled to it (it doesn’t help that our courts have allowed claims adjusters to lie about it, and get away with it).

What is attendant care?

When people are seriously injured in car and truck accidents, they’re allowed an important first-party No Fault benefit called attendant care services under the Michigan No Fault law. Think of this like in home nursing care while you recover from your car crash injuries. You receive assistance with “activities of daily living,” that can include monitoring and supervision for safety reasons, administering medication, bathing, dressing, walking, personal grooming and hygiene, such as help using help using a toilet, and wound care.

A family member can provide these services, or you can find a professional (through a service) to come to your house to provide attendant care.

Who pays for attendant care?

In most cases, your own auto No-Fault insurance company pays for attendant care. Under Michigan law, your auto No Fault insurance company must pay for care that is reasonably necessary for your care, recovery or rehabilitation.

In most cases, doctors will write a prescription for your attendant care. It’s not uncommon for a doctor to prescribe 24/7 “around-the-clock” attendant care for seriously injured car and truck accident victims after a major surgery or after a person has suffered a very serious brain or spinal cord injury.

Most claims adjusters insist you need a script for attendant care.

You don’t.

Unfortunately, many plaintiff personal injury lawyers in Michigan mistakenly believe this as well.

Hopefully, a recent Court of Appeals decision will put a stop to unjust attendant care denials by claims adjusters and mistaken No Fault attorneys.  In Merriweather-Shane v MPCGA (February 11, 2016) the Court affirmed that “…the presence or absence of a prescription is not determinative.”

Still, from practical experience, most No Fault insurance adjusters will be more likely to pay for  attendant care services if you have a script. You don’t necessarily need it, but it does seem to prevent a lot of problems, delays and denials when you have one.

To get your attendant care benefits rolling, whether you hire a provider from a service or have a family member do it for you, you or your attendant care provider need to keep track of the hours and tasks completed toward your care. The insurance company (or your attorney if you have one) will send you a calendar with a key, for easier record keeping.

There is no limit as to how long a Michigan auto accident victim may receive attendant care. If the injuries are serious enough, it can be a lifetime benefit.

It’s always best to run any questions you have by an experienced No Fault insurance lawyer so you won’t miss important deadlines, to make sure your application for No Fault benefits is submitted in time and double check that your attendant care forms are filled out accurately. We’re happy to answer your questions about attendant care, free of charge.

For more information, take a look at our attendant care FAQs.

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