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Milthaler v State Farm; (KDC-___, 3/29/1983; RB #653)


8th District Court for Kalamazoo County; Docket No. C82-864-D2  
Judge Karl G. Erickson  
Official Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   

Work Loss Benefits: Nature of the Benefit [§3107(1)(b)]  
Work Loss Benefits: Mitigation Requirement [§3107(1)(b)]

Legislative Purpose and Intent
Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reparations Act (UMVARA)   

In this significant written Opinion regarding an issue of first impression, Judge Erickson ruled that a no-fault insurer is not entitled to terminate plaintiff’s work loss benefits because plaintiff refused to undergo surgery to eliminate his disability. In so holding, Judge Erickson stated:

“... There is no exception or denial of benefits of an individual who fails to undergo medical treatment which might or might not restore his physical well being where he could return to gainful employment Section 3107 does require that the insurance carrier pay all reasonable charges for recovery or rehabilitation, but on the other hand; the statute does not require that the plaintiff have an operation or undertake any rehabilitation whatsoever. It must be assumed that it was not the legislative intent to require the recipient of benefits to undergo medical treatment beyond that which he solicits. The Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reparations Act, paragraph 34(d), specifically provides for the reduction of future benefits in case the injured person unreasonably refuses rehabilitative treatment (7 Am Jur 2d, paragraph 360), but the Michigan legislature chose not to adopt this provision."

"If the Michigan legislature had intended that individuals, in order to qualify for personal protection benefits, must first undergo reasonable surgery, whatever that might mean, then it could have clearly said so, but their failure to insert such language took away from the defendant in this case and all other defendants in similar circumstances the right to condition the payment of benefits upon undergoing reasonable medical procedures."

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