Grant v. AAA and Consumer Protection Act
MICHIGAN AUTO ACCIDENT INJURY LAW: IMPORTANT CHANGES
Here is the official Michigan Court of Appeals opinion for Grant v. AAA Michigan Wisconsin.
Case Impact on Auto Accident Law in Michigan
Michigan Consumer Protection act Can Not Be Used To Recover Against Deception by Auto Insurance Company
Grant v. AAA Michigan Wisconsin, 2006 WL 2457953
A person injured in an auto accident in Michigan cannot use the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) to toll the statute of limitations in 500.3145 of the Michigan No-Fault Act.
This car accident injury victim’s family provided Michigan attendant care benefits and other care after she was rendered quadriplegic in a March, 1995 auto accident, receiving $10.00 an hour from the insurance company. An insurance company claims representative told the spinal cord injury victim that her family could not receive a higher rate of attendant care benefits ($11) because they were not an “agency” providing attendant care. This was a gross misstatement of Michigan attendant care No-Fault law. In 1998 the insurance company approved a change in the hourly rate of attendant care to $11, and paid this new attendant care rate until 1999 when the car accident victim’s husband formed the corporation “R & R Home Care” for purpose of providing attendant care services to her. A lawsuit for first party attendant care benefits was filed in the trial court by a Michigan attorney, seeking back pay for attendant care services provided for her spinal cord injury during the period that the insurance adjuster had lied about the rate of attendant care.
Essentially, the Michigan Consumer Protection Act cannot be used, even as a result of a lie or deceit, as a way around 3145. Initially, the trial court held the injury victim was not barred by a period of limitations, because she proved her claim under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, showing the insurance company’s conduct was confusing and misleading. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed, barring her claim. The Court reasoned that because the relief requested under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act was essentially the same relief that she sought under Michigan No-Fault, the claim was barred.
This case has been criticized by personal injury attorneys who handle car accident injury cases throughout Michigan, and by legal scholars and professors for its adverse effect on protecting the public against fraud and misconduct by insurance companies. By not allowing a claim to be made under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the courts have once again shielded intentionally deceitful behavior and improper conduct by insurance adjusters who have a legal responsibility under the Michigan No-Fault Act to pay due and owing benefits promptly. Michigan attorneys also cannot sue insurance companies for bad faith in refusing to pay proper no fault claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or for punitive damages under Michigan law. The Michigan Consumer Protection Act is now one additional protection for auto accident injury victims that has been taken away by the Michigan Courts in recent years.