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Volume XXVII, No. 1, January 14, 2015       

From the Law Offices of Garan Lucow Miller, P.C.

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau 

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A Healthcare Provider Has Standing To Bring A Cause Of Action Against A No-Fault Insurer For PIP Benefits

Under The No-Fault Act 

By Bryan Valentine

On December 9, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals approved for publication its opinion in Wyoming Chiropractic Health Clinic v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company; ___ Mich App ___; ___ NW2d ___ (12/9/14).  In Wyoming, Auto-Owners argued that Wyoming Chiropractic was not the real party in interest but had improperly asserted the rights of the underlying insured individuals. Auto-Owners asserted, therefore, that Wyoming Chiropractic did not have standing to bring the case under the No-Fault Act.

The Wyoming Court’s opinion outlines several cases in which the Court of Appeals has recognized a third-party’s right to sue on behalf of an underlying insured in the past.  The Court specifically referenced cases which determined the following:

  • A Hospital has a right to sue an insurer for payment of unpaid bills under the No-Fault Act (Munson Med Ctr v Auto Club Ins Ass’n, 218 Mich App 375);
  • Healthcare services provider is entitled to enforce the penalty interest and attorney fee provisions of the No-Fault Act against the defendant no-fault insurer (Lakeland Neurocare Ctrs v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 250 Mich App 35);
  • Plaintiff, a political subdivision of the State of Michigan who ran a hospital that provided care to an individual involved in a motor vehicle accident, had both a derivative claim against the no-fault insurer, as well as a direct claim (Regents of U of M v State Farm Mut Ins Co, 250 Mich App 719).

The Wyoming Court also noted that recently, in Mich Head & Spine Inst PC v State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co, 299 Mich App 442, the Court of Appeals had reiterated that the No-Fault Act creates an independent cause of action for healthcare providers.  Based upon the above cases, the Wyoming Court held that Wyoming had standing to bring a cause of action against Auto-Owners for PIP benefits under the No-Fault Act where Wyoming brought the action “for the benefit of” an insured individual.

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2015 Windy City Seminar 

The Windy City Seminar originally scheduled for January 22, 2015, at the Marriott Schaumburg, will be rescheduled due to a delay in obtaining CEU credits. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please watch LawFax for updates and a new date. Thank you.

 

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