Attendant Care vs Replacement Services: Know the Difference

There are a lot of expenses after a serious auto accident. Being severely injured in a car crash can affect more than just your work schedule. Depending on your injuries, you may face medical restrictions that make home life more difficult or even require 24/7 supervision and care. But the differences between how attendant care and replacement services are treated under the Michigan No-Fault Act mean you need to know the difference if you want to recover all your benefits.

Attendant Care is a Medical Expense

Attendant care is a broad category of add-on medical treatments that are reasonably necessary after you are released from the hospital. It can be as formal as private nursing services provided by a hospice worker or home health care company. It can also be as informal as help and supervision provided by family members. Attendant care can involve help with:

  • Safety and supervision
  • Medical transportation
  • Mobility assistance
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Toilet needs
  • Showering
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cooking and feeding
  • Administering medicine
  • Assisting with at-home exercises or physical therapy
  • Other care or assistance prescribed by a doctor

The key is whether the attendant care was reasonably medically necessary and a result of the motor vehicle accident. Usually you or your personal injury attorney will have to provide a doctor’s prescription, referral or recommendation to your no-fault insurance company, before attendant care benefits will be paid. If attendant care is provided by a family member, you will also have to create a log of dates, times, and services provided, and by whom, so your loved ones can be compensated for their time.

Replacement Services are Covered Separately

The Michigan No-Fault Act also includes coverage for replacement services. This applies to services provided by a professional or a family member for tasks you would have performed had you not been injured. While replacement services are connected to your injury, they are not considered medical expenses. They may be necessary because of your medical restrictions, but your doctor is not likely to directly prescribe or refer you to a particular service. Common forms of replacement services include:

  • Child care
  • Lawn care
  • Leaf and snow removal
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping
  • Non-medical transportation
  • Shopping for and delivery of groceries

You and your attorney will need to prove the replacement services were necessary based on your injuries. This is often done using expert testimony by your doctor. You will also need to provide proof of when and by whom replacement services were performed. This will sometimes mean gathering together lots of receipts. Other times, you can create a log similar to the one used for relative attendant care costs.

Attendant Care vs Replacement Services for No-Fault Benefits

While the Michigan No-Fault Act covers both attendant care and replacement services, it treats them differently. After a serious auto accident, you are entitled to receive benefits for all reasonably necessary medical expenses, no matter how long they are provided. Even if those attendant care services are provided by a family member, that relative can be compensated based on the going commercial rate for that kind of care.

In some cases, such as brain damage or other catastrophic injuries, attendant care benefits can continue over the patient’s entire life. As long as the care is still a result of the injuries suffered in the motor vehicle accident, and still medically necessary, your no-fault provider is required to continue to pay for those attendant care services.

However, when it comes to replacement services, the Michigan No-Fault Act is not so generous. Even in the most serious injury cases, benefits for replacement services are limited to up to $20 per day for up to 3 years.

That is why it is important for you, and your loved ones, to know the difference between attendant care and replacement services. By properly categorizing and scheduling the care given and the services performed, you can maximize your no-fault benefits to cover as many of your bills as possible after a car crash.

At Sachs Waldman, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you get all your no-fault benefits paid after a serious auto accident. If you can't work or help around the home because of your injuries, we will help you document your attendant care and replacement services costs, and we will fight to make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact our Detroit personal injury law office at 1-800-638-6722.

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