Car accidents occur with great frequency in Michigan. Injuries are common and some require medical treatment. The victims of car accidents may walk away unscathed. Others may suffer serious permanent disfigurement or an impairment of an important body function.
Let’s not forget traumatic brain injury and death.
- What are the rights of the injured?
- Who pays for medical costs?
- What about pain and suffering?
The answer was traditionally found in a lawsuit against the at fault driver. Therein, an injured person could lay out facts and circumstances that could identify the cause of the damages and the remedies available flowed from tort law that traces its roots to old English common law. By and large, most US states have similar systems for recovery, but in Michigan, we have a different scheme.
The Michigan No Fault Act (Act) was passed at the behest of activist judges, defense lawyers and insurance company lobbyists and bigwigs. They said that “there is a crisis!” in Michigan of too many automobile negligence lawsuits! “Too many lawsuits and too many trial lawyers! Too many! Too many! Clogging our courts and sending insurance premiums thru the roof!” They said.
So the legislature passed the Act in 1973 which set out ‘a better and more fair’ (for insurance companies and defense lawyers) system of dispute resolution. Of course, the lawsuits did not stop ‘clogging up the courts’ even though such actions never did. The courts have no problem turning over their dockets as that is their business. But it has gotten more difficult for those injured in a car accident to recover for their injuries.
Hurry up and wait for diminished expectations of justice is the hallmark of today’s regime. It takes experienced trial lawyers to stand up against the rising tide of well financed insurance companies and slick defense lawyers and “independent” physicians who are convinced you were really injured in a boating accident during spring break of your senior year in high school.