Health carrier allowed to intervene in no fault PIP claim more than one year after expenses incurred
Victoria Jones and Michael Johnson were hurt in a car wreck. Because they were not covered by a household auto policy (and not driving an uninsured car) they were assigned to Farmers Insurance Exchange to collect no fault Personal Injury Protection benefits [medical and three years of wage loss or limited domestic services]. Farmers is notoriously difficult to deal with, and Jones and Johnson were forced to file suit before the benefits (including medical) were one year old.Several months later, the Henry Ford Health System--which remained unpaid for $15,000.00 worth of care provided the plaintiffs---became aware of the lawsuit and intervened. Farmers sought to dismiss Henry Ford's claims with the argument that the intervention occurred more than one year after the benefits were incurred and therefore violated the "one year back" rule. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's decision rejecting Farmers' argument, even though the trial judge had mis-stated the law. The Court of Appeals noted that either party could sue for benefits and that "the action" seeking payment of PIP medical was commenced within one year: therefore, the intervening medical provider was not in violation of the "one year back" rule, even though it joined the case after a year had passed.