State Farm not required to pay living costs for spared quadriplegiac
Bonnie Yackish suffered catastrophic paralysis from the chest down in a motor vehicle collision. She required a conversion van for transportation, and could not return to her home because it could not be modified to accommodate her disability. When State Farm refused to pay the full cost of her van or her new living arrangement, Yackish filed suit seeking more complete Personal Injury Protection benefits.While courts had previously required a no fault PIP insurer to pay all of the increased living expenses of a catastrophically injured motorist, the Engler Majority of the Michigan Supreme Court overturned these holdings; it limited the PIP insurer's liability to the cost of living increase directly attributable to the injuries. Thus, it held that the "normal" cost of food or housing can be deducted from what the PIP carrier pays to support an injury victim. Applying that principle in Yackish's case, the Court reversed the lower court and allowed State Farm to reduce what it paid for Yakish's housing to the difference in rental associated with her handicap accommodations.
Since Yackish's need for the handicap van she purchased was solely a result of her motor vehicle injuries, however, the Court required State Farm to cover that full expense.