Insurance attorney Steve Gursten explains why No-Fault caps on medical benefits are a bad idea for Michigan drivers
I was interviewed on WDET national public radio last week. The host, Noah Ovshinsky, covered a story on proposed Senate Bills that would destroy Michigan’s current No-Fault system. This would leave car accident victims lacking critical medical care, because their No-Fault benefits would be capped. I was asked my opinions on the proposed legislation as a car accident and insurance attorney who deals with No-Fault issues for seriously injured drivers every single day.
The story illustrates the critical need for lifetime, medical benefits – as we currently have – by telling the story of Corey Krontz, who was just five years old when he was hit by a car and suffered a very serious traumatic brain injury. Corey Krontz is now 23, confined to a wheelchair and can only speak in one-word sentences.
And under legislation being considered by the state senate, Corey would have long ago been pushed out of the care of specialized TBI doctors and into the world of public assistance. These bills will change Michigan No-Fault benefits, limiting and capping the amount of coverage that seriously injured accident victims can receive. Michigan’s auto insurance companies are pushing these changes under the guise that drivers will save money on their auto insurance premiums.
I explained on WDET why I believe this is another empty promise by Michigan’s insurance industry. Here are some snippets from the story.
Gursten also doesn’t take at face value – the insurance lobby’s claim that their proposal will lower premiums. He points to previous legislation passed in Lansing that made it harder to sue negligent drivers. At the time Gursten says, it was passed with the understanding that premiums would fall. Gurtsen says those savings never materialized. If residents want lower premiums, Gursten says the state should force insurers to lower them.
“The easiest way is to look at the record breaking profits that insurance companies make in Michigan. No one’s doing that. The Republicans in the legislature aren’t doing that.”
I also told Noah that auto insurance caps are problematic because people with catastrophic injuries involving the spine or traumatic brain injury will certainly easily exceed the proposed limits of as little as $50,000 in care.
“This is the crown jewel that nobody knows about. We have unlimited medical for life. Which means if you suffer a catastrophic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, you can get it treated anywhere and it’s unlimited. So you can receive the car and medical care you need.
“What happens is the care…the quality of the medical care these people receive is terrible and what happens is the cost of that care gets shifted to you and I as taxpayers and to Medicaid. So instead of paying the insurance companies premiums to insure against this risk, we’re now transferring all that risk to taxpayers.”
– Steven Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top insurance attorneys handling serious auto accident lawsuits. He writes about insurance company abuse and the Michigan No-Fault laws, and is available for comment.
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