Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 122270; Published
Judges Doctoroff, Maher, and Cavanagh; Unanimous; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 187 Mich App 552; Link to Opinion
Work Loss Benefits: Nature of the Benefit [§3107(1)(b)]
Work Loss Benefits: Self-Employed Persons [§3107(1)(b)]
Replacement Service Expense Benefits: Nature of the Benefit [§3107(1)(c)]
In this unanimous published per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's grant of partial summary disposition in favor of plaintiff regarding her claim that she was entitled to obtain "replacement business service" expenses as a part of her wage loss benefits under §3107(b).
In this case, plaintiff was the operator of an adult foster care home, which she ran by herself, doing the cooking, cleaning, and general maintenance. When she was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1987, she sustained injuries preventing her from running the home. Consequently, plaintiff hired replacement workers to perform the work she could no longer perform. Although the insurance company determined the amount of plaintiff’s reimbursable work loss benefits in accordance with her 1987 income tax return, plaintiff claimed that, in addition to these amounts, she was also entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of hiring others to run the foster care home. The insurance company denied liability for such expenses, and the trial court entered summary disposition in plaintiff’s favor and ruled that these expenses were reimbursable as wage loss benefits under §3107(b).
In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeals held that there was no dispute that the contested expenses were not reimbursable under the "replacement services" component of §3107(b), since this section expressly limits reimbursement for replacement services to those services necessary for the benefit of the injured person, not for income.
With respect to "work loss," §3107(b) defines work loss as "loss of income from work." Thus, the statute appears to preclude reimbursement for replacement business services as work-loss benefits.
In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeals relied upon the provisions of the Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reparations Act (UMVARA), §(l)(a)(5)(ii), which provides that "work loss means loss of income from work the injured person would have performed if he had not been injured, and expenses reasonably incurred by him in obtaining services in lieu of those he would have performed for income."
Thus, while the language of UMVARA would arguably include the plaintiff’s claimed benefits as compensable work loss, it must be presumed that the Michigan Legislature considered and rejected this language in favor of the Michigan statutory language and did not intend for replacement service expenses to be recoverable as work loss benefits under the No-Fault Act.