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Accident Victims Protest No-Fault Insurance Changes

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(WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

(WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – While the state House is considering proposed changes to the state’s no-fault insurance law, auto accident victims and others gathered in Southfield to protest.

Michigan is the only state that offers unlimited injury coverage. This bill would instead give consumers the option of buying different levels of that coverage with the highest amount being $5 million.

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College student Grant Henderson.

“We find these changes to be detrimental to the state of Michigan,” said Peter Smith, president of the group Caregivers at Home, speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting at a rally in Southfield.

“They’re going to to remove the  that are reasonable and necessary should you be in a catastrophic accident. They will then only offer insurance policies that provide caps,” said Smith.

“There’s no guarantee on a reduction in insurance premiums that you and I might pay,” he added, calling it an “attack” on benefits that have been in place for 38 years.

The dozens of people at Monday morning’s informational demonstration at 12 Mile Road and Evergreen are asking Michigan lawmakers to leave the No-Fault law alone, or at least leave it up to the voters to decide.

Struck by a motorist while crossing the street six years ago, New Baltimore Michigan resident Sara Truman now relies on her wheelchair for mobility.

Truman said she attends physical therapy sessions twice a week that are paid for by insurance.

“I would make things more difficult. I would have to cut back on therapy … other things,” she said.

Proponents of the changes say they’ve recognized some real long-term problems in the no-fault system and hope to address the escalating costs that come with that unlimited lifetime medical benefit.

Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, said Michigan’s no-fault insurance could become unfordable if lawmakers don’t make the change.

“We’ve seen some really disturbing trends with respect to the cost of the average claim building over the last decade,” said Kuhnmuench. “And we believe that it’s important to make some important reforms today in order to keep that system viable well into the future.”

Kuhnmuench said the proposed new law would give consumers the option of buying different levels of medical benefit coverage with the highest amount being $5 million.

He said Michigan is at risk of losing its no-fault insurance system if lawmakers don’t make the change.

Michigan is one of just 12 states that still operates under a no-fault insurance system.

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