Michigan Supreme Court Rules “Base Price” of Van Not Included as “Allowable Expense” Under Personal Insurance Protection Benefits of the No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act

In a 4-1 opinion (JJ. Viviano and McCormack not participating), the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the “base price” of a van was not an allowable PIP expense under the No-Fault Act.  MCL 500.3107(1)(a) permits an injured person to recover personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from an insurer for “[a]llowable expenses consisting of all reasonable charges incurred for reasonably necessary products, services and accommodations for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation.”

Here, the Plaintiff claimed he was entitled to the full purchase price of a van, including the necessary expenses associated with modifying the van to accommodate his disability.  The trial court and the Court of Appeals agreed.  Here, the Court reverses, holding that the defendant insurance company was only responsible for the modifications because only the modifications are allowable expenses “for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation” under MCL 500.3107(1)(a).

Because the base price of the van is an ordinary transportation expense—an expense that is as necessary for the uninjured as the injured—and is easily separated from the modifications, defendant is not required to pay for it under the no-fault insurance act.

The Supreme Court overruled Court of Appeals decisions that held to the contrary.

Read the opinion here:  Admire v. Auto Owners Insurance

 

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
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