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Michigan Auto Accident Injury Law: Important Changes

Case Impact on Auto Accident Law in Michigan:
No Tolling for Minors or TBI Caused by Auto Accident

Cameron was overruled by University of Michigan Regents v. Titan Insurance Company in 2010. University of Michigan Regents v. Titan Insurance Company was then overruled by Joseph v. Auto Club Insurance Association. This reinstated Cameron v. Auto Club Insurance Association.

Cameron v. Auto Club Ins. Ass’n., 718 N.W.2d 784 (2006). 

Holding: Overturning Michigan auto accident injury law since 1982, the 4-1-3 opinion held that MCL 600.5841(1), which permits tolling for minors or insanity (such as a traumatic brain injury caused by a car accident) does not toll the “one-year-back” rule under MCL 500.3145(1).

Facts: A minor suffered a closed head traumatic brain injury and a cognitive disorder after he was injured on his bike by an automobile in 1996. In 2002, the young bicyclist’s guardians had a Michigan attorney file a lawsuit for Michigan attendant care benefits rendered from 1996-1999. The trial court held for the brain injured minor child, indicating that because the child is a minor under Michigan law, the statute of limitations for a Michigan lawyer to file a lawsuit for the overdue attendant care benefits was tolled. The Court of Appeals reversed.

Reasoning: In what many Michigan attorneys feel was rather strained judicial reasoning, the court held that MCL 600.5841(1) dealing with tolling for a minor child who suffers personal injury does not also cover damages recoverable once an action has been brought. The majority overturned Geiger v. Detroit Automobile Inter-Insurance Exch, 318 N.W.2d 833, 836-37 (1982), which relied on legislative history to apply the minority tolling provision to MCL 500.3145, and held that the public policy of the Michigan legislature was to preserve and protect the most vulnerable of our society, such as children and those with traumatic brain injuries in Michigan. Nevertheless, the legislative intent to preserve not only a cause of action for these injury victims, but also damages claims as a result of their personal injuries, with a tolling provision, is now no longer good law. Michigan personal injury lawyers will have to file a lawsuit to protect incurred no fault benefits to injury victims within one year for minors or for insanity under Michigan law.

Here is the official Michigan Court of Appeals opinion on Cameron v. Auto Club Insurance Association.