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Pedestrian struck by U.S. Postal Service vehicle cannot collect PIP benefits from government

Joelle Premo sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, after she was struck by a mail delivery vehicle.  Since she had no insurance or automobile of her own or in her household, she was required to collect PIP benefits [medical expenses, three years of lost income, and certain domestic services] either from the auto involved or from the "assigned claims plan."  Unfortunately, she didn't pursue an assigned claims plan within the one year notice period, and the Sixth Circuit concluded that the government and Postal Service are not responsible for PIP benefits because of a federal statute that limits governmental liability for damages not assessed by reason of "fault." 

Since the Michigan No Fault scheme allocates certain economic damages to the vehicle owner's insurer without regard to fault and is a form of "strict liability," the Federal Tort Claims Act excludes payment of PIP "economic" benefits to an injury victim.  Premo's sole alternative was to pursue PIP economic benefits through the assigned claims plan, and it was too late to make application.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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