Personal Injury

In The News

Sunday, February 12, 2012

PIP benefits will pay for lost wages for up to 3 years, medical bills for life, attendant care and replacement services.

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Personal Injury

Being an avid snowmobiler myself, it was interesting to read about a snowmobiling accident that occurred in Michigan.  The case of Marcoux v Home Owners Insurance (unpublished) involved a snowmobiler who smashed into the rear-end of a parked van sustaining serious injuries. 

The circuit court concluded that the owner of the van did not park his van in a manner, location or fashion that created an unreasonable risk of bodily injury and, therefore, was not responsible to the snowmobiler who smashed into the rear-end of the white van. 

In the early morning, the driver of the snowmobile (Marcoux) gave a friend a ride home on a borrowed snowmobile.  As they traveled across the lake, they hit a bump and the headlight fell out and no longer worked.  After dropping off the friend, Marcoux continued on to his home.  As he traveled down a two lane residential street with a 25 mph speed limit, he did not see the white van that was partially blocking the southbound lane, and smashed into the rear-end causing serious injuries to himself. 

Marcoux filed a lawsuit against the owner of the van for PIP benefits (personal injury protection) under the No-Fault act.  PIP benefits will pay for lost wages for up to 3 years, medical bills for life, attendant care and replacement services.  Marcoux argued that the van was parked in a manner that created an unreasonable risk of bodily injury (since it was blocking half of the southbound lane).  It appears that when the police arrived on the scene, they were able to see the van from a distance of 310 feet.  The Circuit Court held that the owner of the van (or the owner’s insurance company, Home Owners) was not liable for PIP benefits.  The Court looked at factors such as the manner, location and fashion that the van was parked.  The Court reasoned that because it was a lightly traveled, residential road, the approaching drivers had ample opportunity to observe the van and, therefore, could have avoided the van by either moving into the other lane or stopping behind the van and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear before going around the van.  The Court of Appeals agreed.

If you have been injured in a snowmobile, or other accident, call Attorney Wendy Schiller-Nichols at 517-432-9000 or email her at

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.