As a resident of Michigan, you might be unaware of one unique law that can make a big difference if you’re ever in a car accident.
After surviving an auto accident, you’re likely coping with physical injuries, but what about the emotional trauma? Mental scars like anxiety, depression, or PTSD can last long after physical wounds heal. Fortunately, Michigan’s “No-Fault Insurance” law lets you get free counseling to help with emotional struggles like anxiety or depression after an accident.
Yes, you heard that right — free counseling, paid for by your car insurance. Wondering how to Take advantage of this benefit?
Let us guide you on how to use this law to get emotional support after a car accident and reclaim your mental well-being.
What is No-Fault Insurance in Michigan?
If you’re a car owner in Michigan, you’re required by law to have “No-Fault” auto insurance. But what does “no-fault” actually mean?
No-fault insurance is a system of automobile insurance in which each driver’s own insurance company pays for their medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident. In fact, Michigan is one of 12 states that have a no-fault insurance system.
This law is enforced by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) and mandates that all drivers must purchase no-fault automobile insurance.
The interesting part of this law is that regardless of who is at fault in an auto accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, up to the coverage limit you’ve chosen. This means you don’t have to go through a long legal battle to prove the other driver was responsible just to get the emotional help you need.
While most people are aware that this policy covers medical bills and property damage, many don’t know that it also extends to counseling and therapy services. In simple terms, if you’re struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties after an accident, such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression, the “No-Fault Insurance” law ensures that you can seek professional help at no additional cost to you.
Who is Eligible?
In Michigan, eligibility for free counseling services through your no-fault auto insurance isn’t just for the driver involved in the accident. If you were a passenger, pedestrian, or even a cyclist caught in the incident, you too could be eligible for these services.
The key criterion is that you must have been involved in an auto accident in Michigan and suffered emotional or psychological challenges as a result. Keep in mind that to apply for these No-Fault benefits, you need to document all personal injuries, even emotional or psychological ones. This includes even symptoms like headaches or emotional changes.
How to Access Free Counseling
To take advantage of free counseling services under Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance, you should request approval for mental health treatment as part of your post-accident recovery. Given that mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD are considered “reasonably necessary medical expenses,” your request should typically be approved.
Here is a step-by-step guide to access free counseling after a car accident in Michigan:
- File an application — Submit an application for No-Fault benefits within 1 year of your car accident.
- Get examined — Seek immediate medical attention to diagnose your mental trauma.
- Document symptoms — Try to maintain as detailed medical records as possible. This is essential for proving the records of the temporal relationship between the accident and your mental trauma.
- Consult case manager — Simply ask your auto insurance case manager to approve mental health treatment for your post-accident emotional struggles.
- Talk to an attorney — Consult an attorney experienced in car accidents to ensure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
- Notify your insurance — Make sure to tell your auto insurance company about your mental trauma and include this in your “written notice of injury”.
Once you’ve obtained approval, you can choose a qualified mental health professional who is within your insurance network for your treatment. At Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids, our licensed therapists are skilled in managing post-accident mental health issues. They can work with qualifying No-Fault Auto Insurance claims. If your insurance company approves your need for counseling, all your therapy sessions with us will be entirely free of charge.
Why Mental Health Support is Crucial After a Car Accident
Many people don’t realize that car accidents don’t only lead to physical difficulties but also affect mental health. Sometimes, we think trauma only comes from life-changing events like the death of a loved one or natural disasters. But trauma can result from any deeply distressing experience, including car accidents.
Numerous studies support the importance of addressing mental health after an accident. For instance, a 2020 study showed that survivors of road traffic accidents reported substantial rates of PTSD (32.3%) and depression (17.4%) (Kovacevic et al., 2020); while another study demonstrated a strong connection between mental health symptoms and persistent pain (Pozzato et al., 2020).
These studies highlight that untreated psychological trauma can have long-lasting negative effects on both mental and physical well-being. On the other hand, ignoring the psychological aspects can hinder the overall recovery process and even lead to chronic mental health conditions. Therefore, receiving mental health support is not just an option but a necessity for full recovery after a car accident.
Psychological Impact of Car Accidents
Here are some common mental health conditions that survivors may experience:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Symptoms include flashbacks, severe anxiety, and nightmares.
- Depression – Marked by sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities.
- Anxiety disorders and phobias – General anxiety or specific fears like vehophobia, the fear of driving.
- Personality changes – Such as irritability, anger, and difficulty in decision-making.
- Social isolation – Withdrawal from friends and family due to the feeling of not being understood.
- Survivor’s guilt – Especially in cases involving fatalities or severe injuries.
Therapy Options for Auto Accident Victims at Health for Life Counseling
At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, we specialize in Trauma-Informed Counseling, including for individuals affected by car accidents. Our therapists have advanced training and use empirically backed methods like EMDR therapy to help you overcome your trauma and regain your sense of self.
Using No-Fault Auto Insurance is a simple process with us — just contact your insurance case manager for your “Claim Number” and confirm psychotherapy is covered. Then, call our office at 616-200-4433, and we’ll handle the insurance claims, so you don’t have to worry about any costs.
We will then match you with a counselor skilled in trauma counseling, proven effective for events like car accidents, and help you set up your appointments.
Remember, our professional therapists are here to offer a compassionate, safe space for healing. We’ll work with you to identify triggers and develop personalized coping strategies. Reach out to our team in Grand Rapids, MI, and Ada, MI, or connect with us online for the specialized support you deserve.