on application for leave to appeal December 7, 2016.
Justice: Stephen J. Markman, Justices: Robert P. Young, Jr.
Brian K. Zahra Bridget M. McCormack David F. Viviano Richard
H. Bernstein Joan L. Larsen.
Perkovic filed an amended complaint in the Wayne Circuit
Court naming Zurich American Insurance Company as a defendant
in an action seeking to recover no-fault personal protection
insurance (PIP) benefits for injuries he sustained in a motor
vehicle accident on February 28, 2009. At the time of the
accident, Perkovic was operating a semitruck. Perkovic was
treated for his injuries at The Nebraska Medical Center. On
April 30, 2009, The Nebraska Medical Center sent
Perkovic's medical records and associated bills to Zurich
American, Perkovic's employer's insurance company.
Zurich asserted that it had no injury report for Perkovic and
on May 19, 2009, denied payment for Perkovic's medical
treatment at The Nebraska Medical Center. Perkovic filed his
initial complaint on August 11, 2009, seeking unpaid PIP
benefits and naming his own automobile insurance company,
Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest, as a defendant. He
later amended the complaint to add his bobtail insurer,
Hudson Insurance Company, as a defendant. Perkovic did not
add Zurich American as a defendant until March 25, 2010,
about 13 months after the accident. Perkovic's claims
against Citizens and Hudson were dismissed after the Court of
Appeals, Stephens, P.J., and Owens and Murray, JJ., ruled
that Zurich American was the highest-priority insurer.
Perkovic v Hudson Ins Co, unpublished per curiam
opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued December 20, 2012
(Docket No. 302868). When the case returned to the trial
court, Zurich American moved for summary disposition under
MCR 2.116(C)(7), contending that Perkovic's claim was
barred by the one-year limitations period in MCL 500.3145(1)
because Zurich American had not received written notice of
Perkovic's claim and had not paid any benefits on his
behalf before the limitations period expired. Perkovic argued
that The Nebraska Medical Center's correspondence with
Zurich American constituted sufficient notice under MCL
500.3145(1). The trial court, Maria Oxholm, J., agreed with
Zurich American and entered summary disposition in its favor.
The Court of Appeals, Talbot, P.J., and Wilder and Fort Hood,
JJ., affirmed. Perkovic v Zurich American Ins Co,
312 Mich.App. 244 (2015). Perkovic sought leave to appeal,
and the Supreme Court ordered and heard oral argument on
whether to grant his application for leave to appeal or take
other action. 499 Mich. 935 (2016).
opinion by Justice Bernstein, joined by Chief Justice Markman
and Justices Zahra, McCormack, Viviano, and Larsen, the
Supreme Court held:
statutory notice period for seeking no-fault benefits is
satisfied when documentation containing all the information
required by MCL 500.3145(1) is provided to a no-fault
insurance company by the medical provider that treated the
insured's injuries. In this case, The Nebraska Medical
Center sent Perkovic's medical records and associated
billing information to Zurich American. The documentation
contained everything required by MCL 500.3145(1) to give
notice to an insurer of an insured's claim for no-fault
benefits. That is, the documentation sent to Zurich American
included the claimant's name and address, the name of the
person injured, and the time, place, and nature of the
injuries. MCL 500.3145(1) does not include a requirement that
the notice expressly state that the information is being
provided to support a potential claim for no-fault benefits.
The statute requires that notice be given in writing within
one year after the accident causing injury, and it states
that notice may be given by the person entitled to benefits-
the insured-or by a person in the insured's behalf.
Contrary to the Court of Appeals' conclusion that notice
of injury must inform an insurer of the possible pendency of
a claim for no-fault benefits, giving an insurer notice that
a claimant may pursue a no-fault action for unpaid benefits
is not required by MCL 500.3145(1). Nor does proper notice
under MCL 500.3145(1) require that an insured presently be
making a claim for no-fault benefits. It only mattered that
Zurich American received the information required by MCL
500.3145(1) within one year of the accident. Because Zurich
American received the records from The Nebraska Medical
Center within one year of the accident, Perkovic's
amended complaint against Zurich American filed 13 months
after the accident was not barred by the statute of
and remanded. Trial court's summary disposition order
Young, dissenting, largely agreed with the reasoning of the
majority opinion but disagreed with its outcome. Although
Zurich American received notice that Perkovic had received
medical treatment from The Nebraska Medical Center, the
notice was not sent in behalf of an insured who was, at that
time, claiming that he was entitled to no-fault benefits. The
notice Zurich American received did not clearly communicate
that Perkovic was making a claim for PIP benefits; instead,
the notice could have been interpreted as seeking other
benefits under the insurance policy. The notice in this case
was not given by either someone claiming to be entitled to
no-fault benefits or someone acting in his behalf. Justice
Young would have affirmed the result reached by the Court of
Appeals because summary disposition was properly granted in
Zurich American's favor.
THE ENTIRE BENCH
case concerns the notice requirements of the no-fault act,
MCL 500.3101 et seq., specifically those set forth
in MCL 500.3145(1). The question before us is whether a
nonparty medical provider's provision of medical records
and associated bills to an injured person's no-fault
insurer within one year of the accident causing injury
constitutes proper written notice under MCL 500.3145(1), so
as to prevent the one-year statute of limitations in MCL
500.3145(1) from barring the injured person's subsequent
no-fault claim. We hold that when, as in this case, the
documentation provided by the medical provider contains all
of the information required by MCL 500.3145(1) and is
provided to the insurer within one year of the accident, the
statutory notice requirement is satisfied and the injured
person's claim is not barred by the statute of
limitations. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court
of Appeals, vacate the trial court's order granting
summary disposition in favor of defendant Zurich American
Insurance Company, and remand to the trial court for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
February 28, 2009, plaintiff Dragen Perkovic was operating a
semitruck in Nebraska when he swerved to avoid hitting a car
that had spun out in front of him. Plaintiff's truck then
crashed into a wall. Plaintiff's resulting injuries were
treated at The Nebraska Medical Center. At the time of the
accident, plaintiff maintained personal automobile insurance
with Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest (Citizens) and
a bobtail insurance policy with Hudson Insurance Company (Hudson).
Plaintiff's employer was insured by defendant Zurich
American Insurance Company.
April 30, 2009, staff at The Nebraska Medical Center mailed a
bill for the services it had provided, as well as
plaintiff's medical records, to defendant. A custodian of
records and billing for The Nebraska Medical Center explained
by affidavit that the bills and records were sent to
defendant on plaintiff's behalf in order to obtain
payment for the services provided in relation to
plaintiff's accident-related injuries. The medical bills
and records both contained plaintiff's name and address.
The medical records also provided the following summary:
46 yo male semi truck driver c/o R upper back pain after MVC.
States that he was driving down interstate when car in front
of him began to spin[;] he swerved to avoid the car since in
semi and ran into a wall hitting frontdriver side.
records further stated that plaintiff may have suffered a
"back sprain, cervical sprain or fracture, chest wall
contusion, contusion, head injury, liver injury, myocardial
contusion, pneumothorax, splenic injury, sprained or
19, 2009, defendant denied payment for the services,
returning the bill and records to the sender stamped with the
following statement: "No injury report on file for this
August 11, 2009, plaintiff filed suit under the no-fault act,
seeking unpaid personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits
arising out of the February 28 accident. The initial
complaint filed in the trial court only named Citizens,
plaintiff's personal insurer, as a defendant. Plaintiff
later amended the complaint to add Hudson, the bobtail
insurer, as a defendant. Plaintiff did not amend his
complaint to add defendant as a party until March 25, 2010,
approximately thirteen months after the accident. Some
confusion arose as to which of the insurers was highest in
priority, but ultimately the Court of Appeals concluded that
defendant was the highest-priority insurer. See Perkovic
v Hudson Ins Co, unpublished per curiam opinion of the
Court of Appeals, issued December 20, 2012 (Docket No.
302868). The claims against the other insurers were then
the case returned to the trial court, defendant filed a
motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7), arguing
that plaintiff's claims were barred by the one-year
statute of limitations in MCL 500.3145(1) because defendant
had not received written notice of the claim or paid any
benefits before the limitations period expired. Plaintiff
contended that the medical bills and records from The
Nebraska Medical Center satisfied the notice requirements of
MCL 500.3145(1), but the trial court disagreed and granted
defendant's motion for summary disposition in an opinion
and order dated February 20, 2014. The Court of Appeals
affirmed the trial court's ruling in a published opinion.
Perkovic v Zurich American Ins Co, 312 Mich.App.
244; 876 N.W.2d 839');">876 N.W.2d 839 (2015).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review de novo questions of statutory interpretation.
Jesperson v Auto Club Ins Ass'n, 499 Mich. 29,
34; 878 N.W.2d 799 (2016). When interpreting a statute, the
primary rule of construction is to discern and give effect to
the Legislature's intent, the most reliable indicator of
which is the clear and unambiguous language of the statute.
Id. We enforce such language as written, giving
effect to every word, phrase, and clause. Id. We
also review de novo the grant or denial of a motion for
summary disposition. Id.
no-fault act allows a person injured in an automobile
accident to recover PIP benefits for certain reasonably
necessary expenses incurred for the care, recovery, and
rehabilitation of the injured person. MCL 500.3107(1)(a).