Logo      Miller & Tischler, P.C. 
26711 Northwestern Hwy. Ste. 200
Southfield, MI 48033 
(248) 945-1040  

New Group

No-Fault News 
March 30, 2011

26711 Northwestern Hwy. Ste. 200
Southfield, MI 48033
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Michigan No-Fault Law 


Dear Friends,

Hello again!  We want to keep you updated in the world of Michigan's No-Fault auto insurance law. This newsletter will focus on barrier free issues relative to accomodations and transportation.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We do not charge for initial consultations or to answer basic No-Fault questions.  
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M & T Legal Team

Firm News

        2011 has proven busy with M&T's participation in community events. Wayne Miller spoke at Acclaimed Rehabilitation Symposium on the topic of medical causation in No-Fault cases.

        M & T co-sponsored the Carnival of Care on March 12th where over 570 brain injury survivors and their care providers participated in this free day full of games, fun, food, prizes, magic shows, dancing and raffles. Our hats off to Deborah Johnson of Care Forward and her team for hosting a wonderful event.

        M & T is growing! We have added Matt Koss to our legal team. Matt is a recent Wayne State University Law School graduate.

        Looking forward, we hope to see many of you at the Brain Injury Legacy Dinner on April 9th. M & T is once again a sponsor of this event and Wayne and Ronni serve on the host committee.

Legal Decisions and Verdicts 





        For years, we have been concerned about the Supreme Court's decision in the Griffith case from 2005. That case held that ordinary food provided at home (instead of an institution) is not covered under the No-Fault law. Griffith has been misinterpreted by insurers to hold that they only owe for "incremental expenses", such as lifts on vans that people purchase with their own money. We have been waiting for clarification from the Court on these points ever since Griffith was issued. The Supreme Court missed its opportunity to do so in the last term as there were several cases that were not decided by the Court that could have put this issue of "incremental expenses" to rest. Since the election of 2010, we have a new and more conservative majority on the Court. It will be interesting to see what their take on Griffith will be.

        Opportunities for the new Court to clarify Griffith may come soon, as 2 recent decisions have been issued by the Court of Appeals (the court beneath the Supreme Court). Both cases (Yackish and Admire, discussed below) held that vans are compensable in their entirety, not just the incremental parts. The cases are less clear on the applicability of Griffith to home modification issues. We will await any further action from the Supreme Court, but these are currently the cases to watch.




        We are often asked whether an insurance company is obligated to pay for the entire modified van cost or merely the cost to modify the van. Two recent Court of Appeal decisions answer that question and solidify that the entire van cost is a benefit under the No-Fault law.

         In Yakish, the Court of Appeals ruled that State Farm must pay the entire van expense and insurance cost; not merely a portion of the expense. In Admire, the plaintiff was wheelchair bound and required the use of a modified vehicle. The Court of Appeals held that the entire van cost is compensable.  

        So, what does this mean for an injured claimant that requires a modified vehicle? Even with these important recent Court of Appeals decisions, it is important for plaintiffs to show that a modified van is needed for transportation (ie. they cannot drive a standard vehicle, they cannot access a standard vehicle safely, etc.) and that the cost is reasonable. For more information about van claims, please call or email Maureen Kinsella at mkinsella@msapc.net .  




           A nonprofit foundation, The Wheelchair Recycler may be able to help.  It collects, refurbishes and reissues used power chairs at little to no cost for the end-user.  Most equipment is 90% below market value.  Its mission is to provide customized refurbished power wheelchairs to those in need.  The nonprofit, founded in 1998 by David Heim, a quadriplegic paralyzed in a car accident, has donated over 500 power wheelchairs to uninsured Americans.  This organization also accepts old power chairs that would otherwise end up discarded.  Visit the website for more information: www.wheelchairrecylcer.org







Ask Wayne Wayne


What if my home is not handicap accessible?

Few homes are originally built barrier-free or handicap accessible. Thus, most homes require modification to meet your needs if you are catastrophically injured. Ramps, lifts, emergency exits, bathroom facilities, accessible kitchens and much more may be needed. Should your injuries require special accommodation, your No-Fault insurer is obligated to pay for all reasonably necessary modifications. To read the actual statute identifying home modifications as a compensable benefit click here.


"Mark: We truly cannot express the full extent of our gratitude. Your professionalism, honesty, integrity, and knowledge of the law are so very impressive. We have a very large file with your name on it and would not hesitate to recommend you or your firm to anyone in need of legal assistance. While we hope to never be in need of legal counsel again, you have renewed our faith in the trust that is a vital part of the lawyer-client relationship. Prompt response to any and every question we had, no matter how trivial, gave us the peace of mind needed to proceed with our case. You pushed when we needed pushing, listened when we talked, and responded on a level we could fully understand and appreciate. We are very grateful to be in a position where we can now put our case behind us and truly move on with no regrets. We want to thank for that peace of mind." - Jeff and Marcia L., Traverse City.


About Our Law Firm


Miller & Tischler, P.C.,  represents survivors of catastrophic brain and spinal injuries, their families and their professional service providers who are having difficulty pursuing their entitlement to receive No-Fault benefits for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.  We help our clients understand how their No-Fault insurance may coordinate with other kinds of insurances they have whether it be private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Workers' Compensation, or Veterans benefits. We also assist our clients in learning about and obtaining all of the benefits to which they are entitled, whether they be individuals or service providers.

Let Us Help You.