Michigan Supreme Court Agrees to Reconsider Auto No-Fault Tort Limits
McCormick vs. Carrier could overturn “Kreiner Travesty”
LANSING, MI — The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) applauded the Michigan Supreme Court today for agreeing to revisit a case that has eroded the rights of accident victims to sue at-fault drivers for non-economic loss and quality of life damages. The case, McCormick vs. Carrier, would overturn the court’s previous 2004 ruling Kreiner vs. Fischer.
“The 2004 Kreiner Decision has produced unprecedented injustice in the law of victims’ rights,” said CPAN Legal Counsel George Sinas. “Mr. McCormick sustained an injury that would have qualified for compensation under any other period of Michigan auto no-fault law, other than Kreiner.”
Until 2004, Michigan’s auto no-fault system balanced the promise of lifetime medical and rehabilitation expenses for all individuals who sustain injury in an auto accident in exchange for reasonable and fair limitations on the seriously injured accident victim’s right to recover quality of life and noneconomic loss damages from negligent or drunk drivers.
“This balance was intended to eliminate clearly minor and frivolous injuries from our court system while still protecting the rights of seriously injured accident victims,” said Sinas.
Sinas noted that Kreiner v. Fischer has made it nearly impossible for drivers with serious, legitimate injuries to meet the injury severity threshold required to collect legitimate damages.
“Virtually every constituency interested in auto no-fault feels the Kreiner decision was wrongly decided,” said Sinas. “In fact, the only group that is interested in affirming the Kreiner ruling is the insurance industry.”
Since the Kreiner ruling, there have been approximately 244 Court of Appeals decisions that implemented its severe limitations. Of those 244 cases, the innocent victims lost 194 times – a loss rate of 80 percent – giving insurers the wins.
“If the Supreme Court does not reverse Kreiner,” said Sinas, “drunk and reckless drivers, and their insurers, will remain unaccountable to accident victims simply because the victim was not hurt badly enough.”
CPAN is a broad-based coalition that includes health care organizations, the disability community, patients’ rights advocates, organized labor, lawyers, doctors and hospitals who have joined together to be a collective voice to protect and preserve Michigan’s model auto no-fault system and ensure affordability and access to quality medical and rehabilitative care and the right to recover non-economic damages from the negligent and drunk driver.