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Coates v Michigan Mutual; (COA-PUB, 4/9/1981; RB #397)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 52780; Published  
Judges R. B. Bums, T. M. Burns, and Cynar; Unanimous  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 105 Mich App 290; Link to Opinion alt    

Work Loss Benefits: Nature of the Benefit [§3107(1)(b)]  
Work Loss Benefits: Self-Employed Persons [§3107(1)(b)]

Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reparations Act (UMVARA)   

In a unanimous Opinion by Judge R. B. Burns, the Court of Appeals held that a truck driver who sustained physical injury in an accident which also resulted in damage and loss of use of the truck, was entitled to recover wage loss benefits which included loss of the rental income that continued use of the truck would have generated. However, the right to include this "loss of rental income" in the wage loss benefits recoverable under §3107(b), terminated when the plaintiff was physically able to return to work even though the loss of the use of the truck continued because the plaintiff chose to sell it. Furthermore, the lost rental income can be included in the wage loss benefits only to the extent it exceeded the plaintiff’s costs of operating the truck. Therefore, it was necessary to remand the case to the trial court to present proofs regarding expected depreciation costs and expenses of operating the truck which would be subtracted from the expected rental income had the plaintiff not been injured.

In arriving at its conclusion, the Court referred to the Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reparation Act which provides in the comments to §1(a)(5)(ii) that work loss benefits include "not only lost wages, but lost profit which is attributable to personal effort and self-employment." The language of §3107(b) would appear, however, to preclude benefits for the loss of income consisting of return on the investment of capital, as opposed to income generated from a persons endeavors, skill, and attention.

In any event, if the person involved in the accident does not sustain physical injury, no lost rental income can be recovered under §3107(b) inasmuch as the Act requires bodily injury as a precondition to recovery of benefits.

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