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Court acknowledges fact dispute over insurance coverage but grants summary disposition against unemployed man

Russell Reed was catastrophically injured in a car wreck.  He sought PIP benefits from the insurer of his wife's car, but that company, Starr Indemnity, claimed that it had canceled her policy for non-payment.  In the meantime, the Auto Club sued her and obtained a judgment that she owed $400,000.00 for Reed's medical care. Another court held that Reed could not collect any wage loss because he was unemployed for a year prior to the collision.

The consolidated cases were appealed and the Court of Appeals noted that Reed's wife had raised legitimate issues about whether Starr could properly cancel her insurance for non-payment, given the dispute over when two temporary vehicles were added to the policy and removed.  Reed's wife claimed that the policy was illegally canceled when she had paid a premium sufficient to cover the insurance on the involved car.  The Court held that the conflicting claims of the insured and insurer could not be resolved by summary disposition and reinstated the case for proper resolution.

The Court did not reinstate Reed's claim for lost wages, however.  Despite the fact that Reed demonstrated a work history up until one year prior to the wreck, and even though he documented efforts to regain employment through MichiganWORKS, the judges ruled that he "did not show that [he] would have been successful in obtaining a job" but for the accident-injuries.  This represents the judicial invalidation of a No Fault provision that allows injured and "temporarily unemployed" persons to collect wages during the time period they would have been temporarily out of work.

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