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Live-in boyfriend deemed an "owner" of uninsured car; cannot collect any no fault benefits

Cordell Savage was hurt in a car accident while driving his live-in girlfriend's car.  The girlfriend's mother had given the car to her daughter but the insurance had been allowed to lapse.  Savage claimed that he had no ownership interest in the car, was not registered as an owner, and rarely drove it, however, he admitted he possessed a set of keys and could drive the car without asking his girlfriend's permission.  On this basis, he was deemed an "owner" of the uninsured car under the no fault statute and rendered ineligible to collect PIP benefits.

The same week this case was published, the Court issued a decision invalidating coverage for another woman because her room-mate insured the car she received from her ex-husband without changing the registration. In that case, the Court held the woman who had possession of the car was not an "owner, lessee or registrant" and therefore the purchased coverage was invalidated.    Put the cases together and you have a simple conclusion:  in Michigan, insurers win; even if the facts don't change, the outcome depends on which side the insurer is on, not which side the law or justice is on.  The law can be manipulated to achieve the outcome an activist judiciary desires.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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