The Michigan Court of Appeals has clarified the limitations imposed upon revocations of assignments by health care providers, holding that revocations of assignments occurring more than one year after a claim is denied are bared by the one-year-back rule.
In Wallace v Suburban Mobility Auth for Regl Transp, a patient suffered injuries from an automobile accident and received medical treatment from providers in exchange for executed assignments of rights. The plaintiff subsequently filed suit within one year of the accident, but several of her medical providers did not. Under the “one-year-back rule” imposed by Michigan’s automobile no-fault law, a claimant may not recover benefits for any portion of the loss incurred more than 1 year before the date on which an action is commenced. In an effort to avoid having their claims barred by the one-year-back rule, the medical providers transferred the assigned claims back to the plaintiff through revocations of assignments so that the claims could be litigated as part of the patient’s timely-filed suit.
The defendant sought dismissal of the claims transferred by the revocations of assignments, arguing that they were barred by the one-year-back rule. The plaintiff maintained that the claims transferred by the revocations of assignments were not barred because her suit had been initiated within the one-year period. The trial court agreed with the plaintiff and refused to dismiss the claims transferred by the revocations of assignments.
The Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s refusal to dismiss the medical providers’ claims. The appellate Court explained that “when plaintiff obtained the revocations, each provider’s right to collect on these claims for benefits had already been extinguished by the one-year-back rule, ”so “there remained no actionable causes of action to give back to plaintiff.” Consequently, “the medical providers did not transfer an interest in a claim to which liability attached.”
As illustrated by Wallace, understanding the complex time constraints imposed by Michigan’s automobile no-fault law can be crucial if not determinative to recovery. The AT Law Group remains dedicated to protecting the rights of medical providers and accident victims alike. If you have any questions regarding Michigan’s automobile no-fault law, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.