ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
Constantine, Mi. 49042
Phone: 269 435-2058
I wrote an article about 4 years ago that, in this increasingly threatening time that we live in where our rights to be compensated after a motorcycle accident are under constant attack in Lansing, seems very relevant and bears repeating now 4 years later. If tort reform is passed into law, it will almost certainly cap or in worst case scenario repeal Michigan’s No-Fault Law. This means that there is the possibility that with any tort reform package there is a risk that an injured motorcyclist could lose his/her right to claim wage loss benefits which under current law is payable for up to three years after the accident. Thus, it bears repeating that it seems more important than ever for someone rendered disabled from working due to a motor vehicle accident to consider Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as a potential source of income while out of work.
In general, in order to be considered “disabled” for purposes of receiving SSD benefits, one must be unable to able to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death, or that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Admittedly, this is a strict definition of disability. However, many motorcyclists involved in accidents with motor vehicles tend to sustain very serious and disabling injuries.
An approved applicant for SSD benefits is assured a monthly benefit check so long as they remain disabled going forward. Our judiciary has offered no similar assurance to persons injured in motor vehicle accidents with respect to obtaining their wage loss benefits under the Michigan No Fault Act. Further, if tort reform caps or repeals No Fault benefits, wage loss claims under Michigan’s No-Fault Act could become a thing of the past. For this reason, it makes more sense than ever for a motorcyclist who is disabled in a motor vehicle accident to apply for SSD benefits in addition to applying for No Fault benefits subsequent to their accident.
If the disabled motorcyclist is successful in obtaining SSD benefits and wage loss benefits from an auto insurer under the Michigan No Fault Act, the auto insurer is entitled to be reimbursed out of the Social Security award for wage loss payments it has made over the same time frame. However, in this situation, the motorcyclist is still in an optimum position in that the wage loss benefits under the Michigan No Fault Act are only payable for 3 years after the accident. If the motorcyclist is still disabled beyond the first three years, he/she will still be eligible to collect his/her SSD benefits indefinitely into the future so long as he/she remains disabled. Also, during the time period that the motorcyclist receives both Social Security Disability benefits and wage loss benefits from the auto insurer, if the monthly SSD benefits are greater than the monthly wage loss benefits the motorcyclist retains the excess SSD benefit. This offers the motorcyclist additional protection if he/she is being “short changed” by the auto insurer regarding their wage loss benefits.
In conclusion, given the war that the insurance industry continues to wage in Lansing to cap or otherwise repeal benefits currently provide for under Michigan’s No-Fault Act, it would be wise for the disabled motorcyclist to consider SSD benefits as an option to provide some income while he/she is out of work after a disabling accident.
As always, if anyone has any questions or if I can be of legal assistance to you or anyone you know dealing with this issue or who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I deal with these types of claims on a daily basis on behalf of injured motorcyclists statewide.
Further, if you would like to have me come out to your Region to speak or give a presentation on the legal rights of an injured motorcyclist or on any specific topic that your region may be curious about, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (248-569-4646) or shoot me an e-mail at Dondi@buckfirelaw.com. I give presentations to Regions state-wide and there is never a charge associated with having me out. I enjoy having the opportunity to come out and meet motorcycle enthusiasts from all parts of our State!
ABATE of Michigan
Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976
Dondi Vesprini firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 248 569-4646