Home > Did you know? > Michigan Supreme Court reverses a key case related to Michigan No-Fault Insurance!!

Michigan Supreme Court reverses a key case related to Michigan No-Fault Insurance!!

Michigan Supreme Court reverses a key case related to Michigan No-Fault Insurance

A sometimes misunderstood part of the Michigan auto insurance policy are the bodily injury (BI) liability coverages and the personal injury protection (PIP) coverages. BI is your coverage for injuries caused to someone else while you drive your vehicle. However, under Michigan no-fault law, YOUR insurance policy pays for auto-related injuries to YOU, even when someone else is responsible.

For example, suppose that Joe is driving down the road, stops at a stop sign, looks both ways, and proceeds through an intersection believing it is safe to do so and having properly followed all traffic laws. Suddenly, while in the intersection, Joe spots a car careening towards him. This other car fails to stop at the stop sign, and crashes into Joe damaging his car and causing him injury.  Even though the other driver is probably at fault here, Joe can’t sue the other driver for his injuries unless they are very severe. Instead, the PIP coverage on Joe’s auto policy will pay for the expenses related to Joe’s injuries.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion on Sunday 8/1/2010 regarding a piece of legislation that may change all this. (http://www.freep.com/article/20100802/NEWS06/100802062/1320/New-standard-set-in-Michigan-injury-lawsuits)  The case that was overturned was Kreiner v Fischer. This is likely to cause an increase in auto insurance rates in the state of Michigan according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan (IIM). In a 2007 press release from the IIM regarding the Kreiner decision (http://www.iiminfo.org/Portals/44/Position/Tort%20Threshold%20Change.pdf). Opponents of the Kreiner decision charge that the Kreiner decision drastically alters the definition of serious impairment of body function and will prohibit persons who suffer serious injuries from pursuing legitimate claims in the court.  However, supporters of the Kreiner decision argue that the case upholds the original intent of the no-fault system to allow lawsuits for non-economic damages only for the most serious of injuries.

It is not hard to imagine that this decision from the Michigan Supreme Court, overturning Kreiner, will probably open the door to more lawsuits related to auto accidents.

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