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What’s in store for 2012 for auto accident victims?

January 2, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan insurance lawyer discusses changes to the No-Fault Law and how they will affect people injured in car accidents

I wanted to write a special blog in honor of the end of 2011, to thank our clients and friends for coming to Michigan Auto Law for help. Our insurance lawyers truly appreciate your trust and confidence. Since we do not advertise to the public directly, referrals from valued clients remain our highest compliment.

Here’s an update about firm happenings in the past year:

o Lenny, Dave, Bob and Steve all received trial jury verdicts of a million-dollars or more for injured clients in the 2010-11 year.
o Steve was elected President of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association.
o Dave finished his term as Chair of the Negligence Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
o Two of our lawyers were named in the “Top 100 Lawyers in Michigan,” four were named “Best Lawyers in America” and nine of our lawyers were named “Michigan Super Lawyers.”

This is all great news, as these honors position our Michigan insurance lawyers to best protect our clients; especially since we are expecting there will be dramatic changes to the Michigan No-Fault law in 2012 that will adversely affect auto accident victims.

These changes include an almost certain repeal of our state’s motorcycle helmet law and changes to the Michigan No-Fault Act, including a possible imposition of fee schedules, caps on hours and rate on attendant care, and worse by far, caps on No-Fault (PIP) benefits.

What we do not expect to see is any inquiry whatsoever by the Republicans who are making these changes in the Michigan Legislature as to why auto insurance companies in this state lead the nation in profitability, or why it is necessary to take away critical PIP insurance protections from Michigan citizens to further boost insurance company profits in this state.

In the courts, we have recently seen the Michigan Supreme Court grant leave on two cases involving important Michigan PIP benefits – one case involving No-Fault replacement services and the second on attendant care. Sadly, maybe cynically, we can count the votes (and with the continuing abandonment of any respect for precedent and stare decisis), I am expecting the Michigan Supreme Court will likely make new “interpretations” of these established No-Fault PIP benefits in favor of insurance companies; and again, strongly adverse to injured Michigan auto accident victims.

On the replacement services case in particular, I expect the Court may issue a new interpretation of replacement services as no longer being considered an economic loss that can be claimed in third-party auto negligence (auto accident lawsuits for pain and suffering and economic loss against the insurance company of the negligent driver who causes an auto accident), even though this has been the law in Michigan since 1973 and frankly, this new interpretation is impossible for me to even begin to understand. Here’s a blog I wrote for personal injury attorneys about replacement services and economic loss.

We wish all of our readers a safe, healthy and happy 2012.

Steve Gursten is one of the nation’s top insurance lawyers handling auto accident lawsuits. He is head of Michigan Auto Law and president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve has received the highest verdict in the state for a car accident or truck accident victim in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Related information to protect yourselves:

Charade over savings from No-Fault “reform” has finally stopped

Woman paralyzed in Michigan car accident: What would you want for your daughter, sister, wife?

Cartoon: Ignore the spiel on the Motorcycle helmet law repeal

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for help from a Michigan personal injury attorney.

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