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An inurer "hung by their own petard" after it doesn't comply with "one year back" rule

Titan, State Farm and Affirmative Insurance all became engaged in a dispute over who should pay PIP benefits to an injured man and the hospital where he was treated.  Eventually, State Farm paid the bills, but the facts suggested that the obligation should have landed in Affirmative's lap.  State Farm hadn't sent a proper notice to Affirmative, however, and it didn't sue Affirmative or pay benefits within one year.  Nevertheless, it claimed a right of reimbursement on equitable principles.

The Appeals panel pointed out that the conservative Michigan Supreme Court majority has severely limited the "substantial compliance" standard as applied to notices and has refused to grant "equitable" relief from time limitations.  On that basis, the panel felt compelled to conclude that just as hundreds of Michigan insureds and injury victims have lost their day in court by a procedural defect, so too must State Farm lose its equitable right of recovery in this case.

We'd say "what's good for the goose is good for the gander," however, this elevation of ironclad interpretation of dates and notice requirements above the interests of justice has served the insurance industry--including State Farm--much better than it has served ordinary people less likely to be fully informed in the law. 

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262