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One Court of Justice Blog

Sep 2017
September 13, 2017

COA: A vehicle only became uninsured upon a court's ruling of no coverage

In Wagner v. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., No 332400, the Court of Appeals addressed the applicability of uninsured motorist coverage.  A party injured in a rear-end automobile accident brought a claim against the other driver.  That other driver's insurer, Farm Bureau, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that there was no coverage and a court eventually awarded summary judgment.  The injured party sought first-party uninsured motorist coverage from her own insurer, which also happened to be Farm Bureau.  Farm Bureau denied the claim on the grounds that the policy required a claim be filed within three years of the accident, and the injured party did not file her claim within that time.  The trial court and Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the policy was ambiguous given its contradictory language requiring a claim to be brought within three years, but also requiring proof of the uninsured status of the other involved vehicle.  Here, as coverage for the other vehicle was contested, there was no evidence establishing that the vehicle was uninsured until the judgment was entered in the declaratory judgment action - which was entered more than three years after the accident.  Thus the provision requiring the uninsured motorist claim be brought within three years was ambiguous, and the insurer was not entitled to summary disposition.   

Jun 2017
June 16, 2017

MSC broadens parked-car exception to the Michigan no-fault insurance act

In Daniel Kemp v. Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan, No. 151719, the Michigan Supreme Court of reversed the Court of Appeals and overruled Shellenberger v Insurance Co. of North America, holding that a man who had injured himself while unloading a bundle from his parked truck raised sufficient issues of material fact to survive a motion for summary judgment. 

May 2017
May 25, 2017

COA: A claim for "reimbursement" against medical providers under the Assigned Claims System is subject to a 2-year limitations period

In Citizens Ins Co of America v. University Physician Grp, No 328553, the Court of Appeals found when a plaintiff, seeking to enforce rights to indemnity or reimbursement, uses the word “reimbursement” in a complaint against a third party provider defendant(s) under the assigned claims system, the 2-year statute of limitations under MCL 500.3175(3) governs the proceedings.

May 2017
May 22, 2017

COA: Businesses that peripherally participate in auto maintenance and repair are not excluded from coverage under the No Fault Act

The Michigan Insurance Code excludes no-fault insurance liability for property damage only where the damage occurs at a business whose primary purpose is to provide maintenance and repair services for motor vehicles, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Hastings Mutual Insurance Company v. Grange Insurance Company, No. 333193. The exclusion does not apply to a business that has primary purpose doing something else and only peripherally participates in vehicle repair and maintenance. 
In this case, although a farm barn was regularly used to provide repairs and maintenance to the farm’s vehicles as well as the vehicles of the family members, it did not change the primary purpose of the business from farming to vehicle repair business.

Apr 2017
April 17, 2017

To satisfy the no-fault act requirements, notice need not be in particular format or expressly identify a possible claim for benefits, says the MSC

In Perkovic v Zurich American Insurance, No. 152484, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the statutory notice period for seeking no-fault benefits is satisfied when documentation containing all the information required by Michigan’s No-Fault Act is provided to an insurance company by the medical provider that treated the insured.  The Court also held that notice does not need to inform an insurer of a potential claim, nor does a claim need to already have been filed for notice to be sufficient. 

Feb 2017
February 25, 2017

Back off the front-end loader: it is exempt from registration requirements under Michigan’s no-fault act

A front-end loader that has to travel about a quarter of a mile along a public road between work sites is exempt from the no-fault act’s registration and insurance requirements, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Bergman v. Cotanche, No. 330438.  The vehicle was neither designed for nor used for the transport of people or property, and its travel over public roads was incidental to its main purpose—to plow snow.  The front-end loader thus fell under the statutory exemption for “special mobile equipment.”

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