Michigan's No-Fault Law
An injured Michigan resident who is hurt in an auto accident may not be able to perform normal household chores and tasks, such as shoveling snow. But Michigan No-Fault PIP "replacement services" benefits make it possible for an accident victim's normal household duties to still get done. Under Michigan's No-Fault Law, an auto accident victim is entitled to "replacement services" under the following conditions if his accident-related injuries have disabled him from performing his normal household chores and tasks: obtaining ordinary and necessary services in lieu of those that, if he or she had not been injured, an injured person would have performed during the first 3 years after the date of the accident, not for income but for the benefit of himself or herself or of his or her dependent.
Chores that are covered under No-Fault replacement services
The replacement services required for any given auto accident victim will depend on both the specific victim and the unique facts of his case. The following services are some examples of what is covered by No-Fault replacement services benefits: Housework, Vacuuming, Cooking, Laundry, Snow shoveling, Grass cutting, Leaf raking, Grocery shopping, Running errands and Child care.
No-Fault replacement services and proving disability
The critical factor in establishing that a Michigan auto accident victim is entitled to No-Fault replacement services benefits is showing that the victim's accident-related injuries have disabled him from performing his normal household chores and tasks. A victim's replacement services disability is most commonly verified through a "replacement services disability certificate" by one or more of the physicians who are treating the victim for his accident-related injuries. A physician-issued replacement services disability certificate will specify that the auto accident victim is totally disabled from performing his normal household chores and tasks and/or "ordinary and necessary services, the services that the auto accident victim is disabled from performing, the period of time during which the replacement services disability is expected to last, and the injury and/or injuries that cause the victim to be disabled from performing his normal household chores.
Household services statement
Almost as important as showing the disability that gives rise to the need for replacement services is showing that the prescribed replacement services were actually performed. Without proof of both disability and performance, a No-Fault auto insurance company is likely to refuse payment of replacement services benefits. To prove that replacement services have been performed, the auto accident victim and/or his replacement services provider must complete and submit a "Household Services Statement" to the victim's No-Fault insurer. Among other things, the "Household Services Statement" should contain the name of the person who provided replacement services to the victim, the replacement services that were provided, and the dates on which replacement services were provided. Neither Michigan's No-Fault Law nor Michigan case law place any restrictions on who can provide replacement services to an auto accident victim.
Limits for replacement services
The maximum daily amount payable for No-Fault replacement services benefits is $20 per day. A Michigan auto accident victim is entitled to receive No Fault replacement services benefits for the first three years after the date of the accident. If the daily limit and/or the three-year limit is insufficient to cover a Michigan auto accident victim's actual expenses for replacement services resulting from his accident-related injuries, then the victim can pursue a claim for "excess" replacement services benefits. To pursue a claim for excess replacement services benefits, the victim will have to sue the driver who allegedly caused the accident and prove in court that the driver was actually "at fault" in causing the accident.