Calhoun County Circuit Court; Docket No. 94-931;
Judge Conrad Sindt; Unpublished
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
General / Miscellaneous [§3135]
Collateral Source Rule (MCL 600.6303)
In this written Opinion regarding an issue of apparent first impression, Judge Sindt ruled that the collateral source provisions contained in MCLA 600.6303 do not require that a tort verdict in an automobile wrongful death case be reduced by no-fault survivor's loss benefits paid to the deceased spouse during the first three years following the accident. Judge Sindt held that because this element of economic loss damage is not recoverable in the wrongful death tort case under §3135 of the no-fault act, no-fault survivor's loss benefits which compensate for this loss are not a collateral source that should be subtracted from the verdict. The court stated:
"This court finds that MCLA 500.3135 in the no-fault law specifically limits the claim for damages in this case to damages which are in excess of coverage already provided under the no-fault law. Since no-fault benefits received by the surviving spouse are, by the above cited provision of the no-fault law, excluded from damages paid for in this wrongful death action, those benefits should not be deducted from the verdict based on the collateral source statute. Subtracting the sum of those benefits from the verdict as a collateral source adjustment would amount to excluding them twice, since they have already been barred by the no-fault provision from a claim for damages. Therefore, this court finds that no-fault benefits received for three years by the deceased's spouse do not constitute a collateral source and shall not be deducted from the amount of the verdict in this case pursuant to MCLA 600.6303."