Allstate achieves dismissal of PIP claim on a technicality
Kinda Kayl suffered a knee injury in a 1994 motor vehicle collision. Ten years later, she was still having trouble and required medical care which her doctor attributed to the collision. Under Michigan's no fault law, if Kayl's current care was caused, in part, by the prior collision, Allstate, her insurer at the time, was obligated to pay the medical expenses. Kayl filed suit, and Allstate sought summary disposition claiming the recent care was caused by a more recent collision and not by the 1994 injuries. Allstate's attorney also argued, at some point, that Kayl had not properly submitted evidence of her current expenses and treatment. Her attorney responded with an affidavit documenting her submission of claims, however, Kayl's signature was not secured on the affidavit until after the hearing.
The Court of Appeals majority (two judges) held that Allstate was properly dismissed, even though the attorney for Kayl subsequently and timely sought rehearing and documented the submission of Kayl's claimed expenses. Judge Cynthia Stephens filed a spirited brief dissent, noting that "at oral argument counsel for [Allstate] conceded that the bills had been received and were not paid." Judge Stephens went on to note that "[Allstate] further agreed that plaintiff offered an excerpt from an expert report that connected the knee treatments to the 1994 accident." Under the circumstances, we find it to be shocking that that the Court would uphold this outcome and not consider the dismissal of the claim against Allstate to be an "abuse of discretion."
Next time you see the claim that an Allstate insured is "in good hands", think about how this claim was managed with delay, double-talk, denial and ultimately, defeat.