After a serious auto accident, you may not be able to do all the things you used to. When your injuries keep you from doing work around the house or for your family, you may be able to obtain no-fault benefits for replacement services.
The Michigan No-Fault Law allows for injured motorists to collect replacement services called “allowable expenses”:
“Allowable expenses consisting of all reasonable charges incurred for reasonably necessary products, services and accommodations for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation.”
What Counts as Replacement Services?
Replacement services include all those things you did for yourself before the accident, but now need to pay someone else to do for you. Typical replacement services include:
- Transportation costs;
- Lawn maintenance;
- Laundry services;
- Snow removal;
- Handyman services;
- Vehicle repairs and maintenance; and
- Child care services.
Compensation for these services are available, even if a family member does it for you, as long as you have agreed to compensate them for the work they do for you. Even your spouse can get payment for the extra work he or she had to do around the house.
What is Needed Before you get Replacement Services Benefits?
Just because you were in an accident doesn’t mean you are automatically entitled to payment for household activities. Before you can get no-fault benefits for replacement services, your doctors need to put you “on restriction.” After an accident, medical treatment, or surgery, there will be some activities that are not medically allowable. Physical exertion may make your condition worse or interfere with your healing. To avoid this, your doctor will give you “restrictions” on what you are allowed to do to make sure you can recover safely.
Medical restrictions may limit:
- Weight lifted;
- Length of time sitting, standing, or lying down;
- Exercises performed; or
- Activities done.
If your documented medical restrictions would prevent you from doing household work, that’s where replacement service come in. Your doctor can “prescribe” replacement services to fill in for you while you recover.
What Benefits are Available for Replacement Services?
If your doctor says you need replacement services, you are entitled to collect up to $20 per day for replacement services for up to three years after the accident. The amount you collect for any particular service is based on the market rate for that service. That means if a family member is doing the work, you can’t set an unreasonably high rate for compensation. When you hire outside help, if you don’t price shop you could still be on the hook for the cost above what is reasonable.
After a serious auto accident, you may need help doing household chores. If your doctor puts you on restriction and prescribes help, your auto accident attorney can help you get compensation for those replacement services from your auto insurance provider. Be sure to keep all of your receipts and give them to your no-fault lawyer to make sure you can receive the benefits you deserve.