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After an auto accident, you only have so much time to tell your auto insurance provider what happened. MCL 500.3141 gives your insurance provider the power to say how soon you need to provide a notice of claim, and what it needs to say.
MCL 500.3141 is a very straight forward part of the Michigan No-Fault Act. It says:
An insurer may require written notice to be given as soon as practicable after an accident involving a motor vehicle with respect to which the policy affords the security required by this chapter.
In other words, depending on your auto insurance policy, you may need to provide a written “Notice of Claim” or notice of accident quite quickly after the crash.
One of the most difficult parts of complying with MCL 500.3141 is making sure you file your claim with the right auto insurance company. Your auto accident attorney will need to talk to you about priority, and who in your situation has an auto insurance policy, to make sure the right company receives notice.
Almost every auto insurance company has its own claim application. Filing that application is the best way to make sure you meet the Michigan No-Fault Act’s written notice of claim requirement.
If for any reason you cannot complete the application, Michigan courts have ruled that written notice is enough if you or someone with authority to speak for you (like your auto accident attorney) sends the insurance company a letter seeking first-party no-fault benefits, which includes:
Healthcare providers seeking payment of medical bills often provide a copy of the bill along with the notice of claim to make sure the insurance company knows the extent of their interests.
“Practicable” is a legal term that roughly translates into reasonably possible. How long you have to file your notice of claim may be described in your auto insurance policy itself. If the insurance company receives your notice within that period of time, it can’t later claim you didn’t comply with MCL 500.3141.
The notice periods in many auto insurance policies are very short, so short that in serious injury accidents, your family may need to file the claim while you are still in the hospital. In many cases, the notice of claim is due well before you would think to meet with a lawyer.
Don’t delay. As soon as you know you need to file a claim, contact an experienced auto accident attorney, like David Christensen and Christensen Law. He and his team can help you complete the right forms, and notify the right auto insurance company according to its policy and time requirements