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Court hears challenge to key aspect of Michigan auto no-fault law

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Emma Winoweiki
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Catastrophically injured auto accident survivors at the state Capitol, asking legislators to fix the no-fault law that's depriving them of care.

The Michigan Court of Appeals heard arguments today in a class action lawsuit over the state's auto no-fault law. The suit says the law should not apply to people who were injured before 2019.

This case has big implications. It applies to more than 18,000 people who were catastrophically injured in car crashes prior to the 2019 auto no-fault law. Now, they're losing care they've had sometimes for decades, landing in hospitals, nursing homes, even dying. That's because the law set payments for care so low, it often doesn't cover providers costs.

Plaintiffs told the Court those low payments violate survivors' contract rights — because their insurance policies at the time promised them reasonable payments for care. But attorneys for insurance companies say whatever benefits the state legislature gave drivers under the old no-fault law, it can take away under the new law.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.