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Survivors Loss No Fault Benefits in Michigan

In 2021, over 1,100 people lost their lives in Michigan car accidents. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you should be healing and grieving, not filling out paperwork and fighting with insurance companies that are set against paying you no matter what. You deserve rightful compensation for your loss, and the experienced wrongful death car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law are ready to help. Learn about Michigan survivor’s loss benefits, how much you may be eligible to collect, and how our experienced auto accident law firm can help you through this trying time.

Are There No-Fault Benefits That Family Members Can Receive if the ‘Breadwinner’ Dies in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Yes. These are called “survivor’s loss” benefits or death benefits. Family members who relied upon the financial support (wages and other items of “tangible value”) of a loved one can apply to the insured’s no-fault policy for reimbursement for up to three years after the accident. The survivors can also claim up to $20 a day for three years for having to pay someone else to do chores that the deceased family member customarily handled.

Family members may be entitled to no-fault reimbursement if they depended financially on an insured person fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident, even if the deceased person was at fault.

There are formulas for figuring out how much the family members can receive. A knowledgeable Michigan auto insurance lawyer can help you calculate the value you ought to receive.

What is Covered by Michigan Survivor’s Loss Benefits?

Car insurance death benefits cover the loss of economic contributions that the deceased policyholder would have made to the dependents, including:

  • Lost wages
  • Disability coverage, including insurance and social security
  • Annuity and investment income
  • Loss of workers’ compensation
  • Lost retirement benefits
  • Other work-loss benefits
  • PIP medical benefits, such as health insurance premiums for medical coverage, medical bills, attendant care, and other healthcare and medical expenses.
  • Fringe benefits
  • Replacement services

If the deceased person has any dependents and was employed, those dependents should qualify for survivor’s loss benefits. These benefits amount to 85% of what the deceased person would have earned in wages for the first three years following the car crash, plus $20 per day for that same period.

A provision also exists to cover funeral expenses and burial expenses. The no-fault insurance policy will specify the amount allowable, but it should not exceed $5,000 according to Michigan law.

What is the Monthly Maximum Amount of Death Benefits in Michigan?

As of October 2022 through September 2023, the monthly maximum for car accident death benefits from the auto insurance company is $6,615. This amount is recalculated yearly based on changes to the cost of living. Your monthly maximum will be based on the monthly maximum at the date of the accident which led to the injured person’s death. It is also worth noting that your PIP benefits may be subject to any deductible on the policy. 

How Long Do Death Benefits Last in Michigan?

You cannot collect survivor’s benefits indefinitely. Michigan state law limits how long these benefits may be paid. This limit is three years from the date of the accident, which caused the decedent’s death, which may differ from the date of the accident victim’s death.

What if the Death Benefits Are Not Enough?

Woman looking upset at benefit paperwork

If the death benefits under PIP do not cover their needs, dependent survivors may sue the at-fault driver for the fatal accident to cover any amounts over the no-fault benefits. A claim for excess survivor’s loss benefits is extremely rare. The reason is that any amount recovered for excess wage loss is taxable.

When we sue an at-fault driver, we are almost always limited by the maximum amount allowable under the responsible driver’s auto insurance policy, so the value that the excess wage loss claim brings can be extraneous; the non-economic value of a wrongful death case (pain and suffering) is whatever insurance money remains. If there is no concern for the policy limit, or no policy limit exists, then we would try to add value by claiming excess wage loss.

How Do I File a Claim for Survivor’s Loss Benefits?

You must file your claim within one year of the accident to be eligible for no-fault benefits. You must complete a no-fault application for benefits, which should be available through the insurance provider. If the victim was uninsured, you may be able to file with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, which assigns insurance providers to handle uninsured PIP benefits.

You must include your name and address on the form and provide, in plain language, the time, place, and nature of the accident and injuries that led to the death of the injury victim. This must, under state law, include a description of symptoms, but does not require a precise medical diagnosis of the bodily injury, which is beyond the bounds of ‘ordinary language.’

It is, however, a good idea to consult with a qualified and experienced Michigan car accident attorney at Matz Injury Law. We can help you submit your application and include all the relevant information to avoid rejection, and we can represent your interests in case of a claim denial.

Who Pays for Survivor’s Loss Benefits?

Survivor’s loss benefits are paid by the deceased’s auto insurance policy if they had one. If they did not have coverage, priority rules determine which insurer is responsible for making payments. The first priority is the spouse’s insurance. Next is the insurer of a live-in relative. If neither of these exists, the claim is filed through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, which assigns an insurer to pay the benefits.

How Can a Michigan Lawyer Help With My No-Fault Benefits?

lawyer consultation

A knowledgeable and experienced car insurance lawyer can help you in many ways. They can take over communication with the insurance company, calculate the amount you deserve in survivor’s loss benefits, handle the applications and other legal and insurance paperwork needed, and represent you in court if you need to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for additional compensation.

Matz Injury law has represented a case, for example, involving the death of a 20-year-old college student. In this case, there happened to be a great deal of insurance, so our law firm went through the process of trying to determine what his earnings would have been throughout his life had he survived. That amount was the amount requested for compensation, as well as additional compensation for his death.

Matz Injury Law also works on contingency, meaning you do not owe legal fees unless you get compensated. When the time comes, Matz only takes 22% of your award rather than 33%, like most other firms. That is why our slogan is 22, not 33!

We Provide Relief to Those Who Need It Most!

When you work with Matz Injury Law, you receive peace of mind. We have decades of combined experience in injury law. We are well-versed in how insurance policies work, their exclusions, how they interact with Medicare and Medicaid, and how to protect your interests and fight to get you paid. We have represented clients across the great state of Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids and beyond, and we are ready to stand up for you.

When facing an auto insurance company that does not want to pay up, you do not have to deal with them alone. Matz Injury Law is here to be the ally you need in this trying time. Get in touch with us at 888-22not33 or use our online contact form for a free consultation today.