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How the Michigan Catastrophic Claims fund is helping a quadriplegic car accident victim

July 21, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Our No-Fault insurance rights are currently under attack in Michigan. There are several proposed No-Fault “reform” bills that would devastate the rights of the most seriously injured auto accident victims — especially those with spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries — by capping their rights to necessary medical benefits.

The insurance industry is claiming that the current No-Fault insurance system in Michigan is unsustainable, and without these reforms (read: profit-building measures to avoid paying on legitimate claims),  the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) will go bankrupt.

The MCCA  provides medical benefits for people who sustain catastrophic injuries in auto accidents after their medical treatment exceeds $500,000. It recently announced a 21 percent increase in its annual per vehicle assessment. The MCCA is invaluable, but our attorneys and many other organizations are questioning this recent increase, as the insurance industry in Michigan is raking in record-breaking profits while trying to cut back on vital protections for auto accident victims.

We received an insightful comment from one of our readers, Denise Copeland, in response to a blog about a No-Fault reform effort in Detroit: Sen. Virgil Smith plan for Michigan auto No-Fault is a terrible idea:

First, let me say my husband has been quadriplegic since 1996. I consider his case the worst case scenario regarding automobile accidents, and the reason the No Fault Law is a good and fair law for all citizen’s as it protects even the most vulnerable against catastrophic events. Everyone shares into the pool of the Catastrophic Fund, and might I say, managed by the top five writers of insurance in the State of Michigan, with State Farm Insurance the leader. We only pay $2-$3 per vehicle towards this fund, a small fee indeed, a couple candy bars a year! Something we could do without, that is the candy! There is less than 1% of the total Michigan population who falls into the Catastrophic Fund, which should offer a sizable pool of money for these cases, and yet, the Michigan Insurance Companies make the most money of all the states, and they want this money too! I tend to believe that the lobbyists for State Farm and other insurance companies are paying Virgil Smith a fine profit for standing out against the No Fault Law and selling the Detroit Citizen’s out by suggesting they suffer the consequences of medical disaster from an catastrophic automobile accident, where they themselves or their loving family member will have to “die” for lack of ability to pay for medical services, care and medical equipment. Shame on him and shame on our Insurance Companies, CEO’s and Board of Directors!

Without the MCCA, Denise and her family would have no way of paying for her quadriplegic husband’s extensive medical care, and attendant care (in-home nursing services). I want people to think of Denise and her husband when they are considering the insurance industry spin on these unproved, proposed No-Fault changes, especially since there is absolutely no proof that reform will save Michigan drivers one cent on their car insurance. In fact, the insurance industry specifically has backed away from promising any savings to drivers.

I’d like to note that although Denise has the right idea that the per vehicle assessment for the MCCA is inexpensive considering the value it provides, she is incorrect on the cost. After the 21 percent increase, Michigan drivers pay about $150 a year for their MCCA contribution.

– Steve Gursten frequently writes and speaks about Michigan No-Fault law, and is available for comment.

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. Call (248) 353-7575 to speak with one of our lawyers.

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