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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Michigan No Fault Insurance Benefits For Same Sex Couples

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With the historic United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Obergfell v. Hodges, our wonderful country has taken another huge step forward in the name of social justice. Federal law now guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. Aside from the social effects of not having the ability to legally declare their union, same-sex couples faced a plethora of disadvantages prior to the June 26th ruling. Some of the disadvantages included legal costs associated with obtaining domestic partnership/legal abilities, inability to use employer-provided health care of a spouse, adjusted tax rates for married couples with differing incomes, inability to sponsor citizenship of a same-sex partner, and more. Now same-sex couples have the opportunity to enjoy the same benefits as their opposite-sex counterparts.

Michigan No-Fault Benefits

In Michigan we are required as drivers/owners of motor vehicles to purchase no-fault auto insurance. This new law opens a new arena, where same-sex couples now receive more benefits than they could before once they are married. Michigan no-fault auto insurance companies are responsible for unlimited lifetime medical bills, mileage, wage loss, and home/vehicle modification when the insured is involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. With no-fault insurance, any relative living with the insured is eligible to receive benefits from the insured’s policy. In return for these generous benefits, only seriously injured people can recover non-economic or pain & suffering damages from the at fault driver/owner in a crash.

The November 2014 Court of Appeals decision from DeBoer v. Snyder upheld Michigan’s gay marriage ban. Under this ban, same-sex couples were unable to utilize their spouse’s no-fault benefits in the event they were involved in an auto accident. Now that SCOTUS has ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage, effectively overturning Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, same-sex couples, who are married, now have the ability to use their spouse’s coverage. This entitles the spouse to all of the medical, wage loss, and other expenses previously only available to spouses in “traditional” marriages.

Other Legal Rights

Same-sex spouses are now able to receive compensation for loss of consortium arising out of an automobile accident. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of the benefits of a family relationship due to injury. An example of this is a diminished spousal relationship following an automobile accident wherein the injured spouse is unable to provide the support/care that they once provided. Branching even farther, couples in a same-sex marriage are now entitled to survivor benefits as well. If a family member is killed in a car or truck accident in Michigan, their survivors/dependents are able to receive survivors’ loss benefits. In Michigan, these benefits include money damages comparable to what the family would have received from the deceased party, had they not been killed.

Now that our laws are catching up to the 21st century and every couple, regardless of sexual orientation, is able to wed, we are seeing many effects on other laws and policies. To get more information on Michigan no-fault auto insurance visit http://www.michigan.gov and search “no-fault” or contact your auto insurance company.