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AutoOwners wins partial victory in dispute over PIP benefits

When a no fault insured Michigan resident is so badly injured in a motor vehicle accident that he or she cannot manage his or her own affairs--necessitating the appointment of a guardian or conservator--the insurer responsible for paying PIP benefits (medical, three years of wages and household services) is required to pay the expense of the guardian.  William McDonald became the Conservator for Larry Jerome LeBoeuf under these circumstances, but was not initially aware of his right to bill AutoOwners for his service.  More than a year after some of his services were incurred, but less than a year after they were approved by the Probate Court, as required, he sued AutoOwners to recover his expenses. 

The trial court ruled that he could recover for all of his expenses because they were not "incurred" until the Probate Court approved them.  The Court of Appeals reversed and held that he could not recover for those expenses which were related to services provided more than a year prior to his lawsuit, under the "one year back" rule.  It applied the "general rule" defining when services are "incurred," despite the fact that expenses are not owed by a probate estate until they are approved by the Court.  The Appellate Court then handed the Guardian a mixed decision by holding that AutoOwners must pay the remaining expenses sought, without the more detailed billing that AutoOwners was demanding on appeal.  The appellate decision in In re Larry Jerome LeBoeuf, LIP, did not indicate how much of the $9,000.00 in expenses AutoOwners would actually avoid paying.

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