Three no fault insurers but no PIP benefits, and insurers complain about frivolous lawsuits clogging the courts
Young Tabarak was walking home from school when a car jumped the curb and pinned her against a building, causing multiple fractures and serious injuries. Tabarak lived with her mom in Dearborn Heights. Her dad had originally come to the U.S. to escape Saddam Hussein, however, when Hussein was toppled, he returned to Iraq to seek employment and to build a new life there for his family. He was there for almost two years, living with a sister and hoping to find the means to reunite his family, when Tabarak was hurt. He had purchased car insurance on a stored vehicle from Farm Bureau. His wife's car was insured with Bristol West. Both insurers refused to pay Tabarak's medical bills and PIP benefits, so Citizens Insurance was assigned to pay the claims: it also refused to pay, forcing Tabarak's mother and Children's Hospital of Michigan to sue all three insurers.Bristol West "questioned the family relationship" between Tabarak and her mom, but its defense was rejected by the trial court, which ordered it to pay one-half of the benefits. Farm Bureau argued that Tabarak's father, Qaiser Wutwut, was no longer a resident of Michigan, even though he maintained the home in Dearborn, maintained a Michigan driver's license, paid the bills and received mail there. It argued he had "settled" in Iraq. The other insurers, the hospital and the family argued that he had bought the insurance from Farm Bureau and need only prove that Tabarak was "domiciled" in his home. The trial court agreed, but the Court of Appeals reversed. It held that if Farm Bureau can prove to the finder of fact that Qaiser had established a residency in Iraq and no longer "resided" in the Michigan home, Farm Bureau can avoid paying PIP benefits.