Michigan Senate Bills Would Cap Auto Insurance Benefits, Leaving Injured Car Accident Victims without Critical Medical Care

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No-Fault insurance lawyer explains the importance of Michigan’s No-Fault system, and the true implications of SB 0293 and SB 0294

This is an attack on Michigan's first-party No-Fault system. If these bills become law, auto accident victims throughout Michigan will be left in dire need of medical care, and they will lack the resources needed to recover.

Last week, a series of bills aimed at stripping away the most important insurance protections under the Michigan No-Fault law were introduced in the Michigan Senate, says Steven M. Gursten, insurance lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law, a personal injury law firm that helps people injured in car accidents and truck accidents.

"This is an attack on Michigan's first-party No-Fault system," Gursten said. "If these bills become law, auto accident victims throughout Michigan will be left in dire need of medical care, and they will lack the resources needed to recover."

According to Gursten:

  •      SB 0293 would effectively destroy Michigan’s first-party No-Fault system (the part that provides auto accident victims with No-Fault benefits) by limiting the cost of medical care and treatment to the catastrophically injured to a series of inadequate dollar limits, the lowest dollar limit being only $50,000.
  •      SB 0294 would arbitrarily cap Michigan attendant care benefits, both by hours and dollar value of services rendered to quadriplegics, those with traumatic brain injury, and others in need of attendant care protection — regardless of what a seriously injured Michigan auto accident victim’s doctor or surgeon prescribes.
  •      There are a number of other bills introduced in the package that jeopardize the welfare of injured auto accident victims in Michigan.

Under the current No-Fault law, injured auto accident victims are allowed lifetime medical care and mileage to doctors appointments, attendant care (nursing services), replacement services (help around the house) and reimbursement for wage loss. If these laws are passed, the cost the auto insurance companies bear would be transferred to Michigan taxpayers and Medicare.

"I’ve been a staunch defender of the Michigan No-Fault insurance system for my entire legal career. It is quite simply one of the very best things that we have in our state," Gursten said, adding that auto insurance industry experts in Michigan and elsewhere in the country agree with him.

Just look at their comments about Michigan No-Fault insurance:

  •      “The benefits policyholders receive under the No-Fault policy in Michigan far outpace benefits available in any other state. Michigan is the only state that mandates insurance companies provide unlimited, lifetime medical benefits to motorists injured in auto accidents." - Insurance Institute of Michigan press release, 12/21/2010, quoting Executive Director Pete Kuhnmuench
  •      “… Michigan policyholders have the Cadillac of auto insurance policies.” - Insurance Institute of Michigan press release, 12/21/2010, quoting Executive Director Pete Kuhnmuench
  •      Michigan’s No-Fault personal protection insurance (No-Fault PIP) is “the most efficient and effective auto insurance law in the United States.” - Insurance Institute of Michigan, which is an insurance trade organization whose members provide auto insurance to 75 percent of Michigan’s market
  •      Michigan’s No-Fault system “is cost effectively providing the nation’s most extensive auto insurance benefits at affordable rates …” - American Insurance Association
  •      “Given that Michigan’s No-Fault injury benefits package is unlimited, the average price paid by drivers in the state is extremely reasonable.” - Insurance Journal

Said Gursten, "Despite the incredible value of our No-Fault system, which allows accident victims to receive the most generous protection in the nation, most Michiganders know nothing about it. That is, until after they’ve been seriously injured in a car accident. This makes our incredibly valuable No-Fault insurance benefits very vulnerable to attack — especially when the attack is couched in terms like 'lowering costs for auto insurance.'"

About Steven M. Gursten: Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top insurance attorneys handling serious car and truck accident lawsuits. He is co-chair of the Michigan Association for Justice Auto Accident No-Fault Committee, and holds leadership in several other local and national legal organizations helping auto accident lawyers with traumatic brain injury cases. Gursten received the top-reported auto accident or truck settlement in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to published reports from Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

About Michigan Auto Law: Michigan Auto Law is a third-generation law firm with 17 lawyers practicing exclusively in automobile accident and No-Fault insurance litigation throughout the state. The law firm has offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. For more information, please call (800) 777-0028.

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