Long-term victims of car crashes win key Michigan decision

Aug 24, 2022, 9:48 PM | Updated: Aug 25, 2022, 2:37 pm
FILE - Health aide Angela Martin helps former Detroit Red Wings star Vladimir Konstantinov into his...

FILE - Health aide Angela Martin helps former Detroit Red Wings star Vladimir Konstantinov into his wheelchair on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in West Bloomfield, Mich. Konstantinov suffered a severe brain stem injury from an accident in a limousine with an impaired driver after a Stanley Cup celebration nearly 25 years ago. He was in danger of losing his 24/7 care he has had for two-plus decades, but major changes in Michigan car insurance law do not apply to people who were severely injured before summer 2019, the state appeals court said Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. It is a victory for long-term victims of motor vehicle crashes and their care providers. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Major changes in Michigan car insurance law do not apply to people who were catastrophically injured before the summer of 2019, the state appeals court said Thursday, a victory for long-term victims of motor vehicle crashes and their care providers.

In a 2-1 opinion, the court said lawmakers “did not clearly demonstrate” that insurance payment cuts would be applied retroactively.

And even if those changes were intended to be retroactive, that step violates contract protections in the Michigan Constitution, Judge Douglas Shapiro wrote.

“Giving a windfall to insurance companies who received premiums for unlimited benefits is not a legitimate public purpose, nor a reasonable means to reform the system,” Shapiro said in a decision joined by Judge Sima Patel.

In an effort to lower Michigan’s insurance rates, which were among the highest in the U.S., the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer agreed to sweeping changes in 2019.

For decades, people injured in crashes were entitled to payment for “all reasonable charges” related to care and rehabilitation. But the new law sets a fee schedule and a cap on reimbursements not covered by Medicare.

It’s had drastic consequences for roughly 18,000 people needing long-term care after crashes that took place before June 11, 2019, and the providers of those services.

Hockey star Vladimir Konstantinov suffered severe brain damage when a drunken limousine driver crashed the car in 1997. Konstantinov, a passenger, was celebrating a championship by the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

By last spring, Arcadia Home Care & Staffing said it had lost $200,000 for Konstantinov’s care due to the 2019 law.

“Every month, I have to ask whether we’re good for another month,” said James Bellanca Jr., Konstantinov’s friend and lawyer.

“The decision is a godsend,” he said of the court ruling.

There won’t be immediate relief. An appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is planned, according to the Insurance Alliance of Michigan, which represents insurance companies.

“Michiganders have come too far to turn back to the days of unaffordable auto insurance, fraud and rampant medical overcharging,” executive director Erin McDonough said.

The Legislature could change the law to help long-term crash victims, though there’s been no willingness by Republican leaders to act, despite protests on the Capitol steps.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two people who were permanently disabled after crashes. Ellen Andary requires 24-hour care at home, while Philip Krueger lives at Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor.

In a dissent, appeals court Judge Jane Markey said the Legislature’s decision must be respected, though she was “not unsympathetic” to the injured motorists.

“I find nothing arbitrary or irrational about the Michigan Legislature taking steps to make no-fault insurance, which is mandatory for owners or registrants of motor vehicles, as affordable as possible for as many Michiganders as possible,” Markey said.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwritez

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Indonesian soccer fans chant slogans during a candle light vigil for the victims of Saturday's socc...
Associated Press

Soccer world reacts to disaster at Indonesia stadium

MADRID (AP) — A minute of silence was observed before soccer matches around the world on Sunday in honor of victims of the disaster at a stadium in Indonesia that claimed at least 125 lives, and top players, coaches and leagues sent condolences and messages of support. Most of the victims were trampled upon or […]
1 day ago
In this undated surveillance image released by the Stockton Police Department, a person is shown fr...
Associated Press

Killings of 5 men in California are related, police say

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Rewards totaling $85,000 have been offered for information leading to an arrest in five fatal shootings since July in Stockton, California, that investigators believe are related, police said. After reviewing surveillance footage, detectives have located an unidentified “person of interest” in the killings, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden wrote on the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Tesla sales bounce back in Q3 but fall short of estimates

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Tesla’s sales rose 35% in the July-September period compared to the second quarter as the company’s huge factory in China got past supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions. The electric vehicle and solar panel company said Sunday it sold 343,830 cars and SUVs in the third quarter compared with 254,695 deliveries […]
1 day ago
Physician Karen Calkins tends to Mona Guibord, 94, as she waits to be evacuated from Pine Island, F...
Associated Press

Florida deaths rise to 47 amid struggle to recover from Ian

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Rescuers evacuated stunned survivors on a large barrier island cut off by Hurricane Ian and Florida’s death toll climbed sharply, as hundreds of thousands of people were still sweltering without power days after the monster storm rampaged from the state’s southwestern coast up to the Carolinas. Florida, with nearly four […]
1 day ago
Women chant slogans during a demonstration to show support for Iranian protesters standing up to th...
Associated Press

French march rallies support for Iranian demonstrators

PARIS (AP) — Crowds of people marched in Paris on Sunday to show their support for Iranian protesters standing up to their leadership over the death of a young woman in police custody. French feminist groups, leading politicians and people of Iranian heritage were among those who joined the gathering at Republique Plaza before marching […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

2 hurt when helicopter crashes in yard of California home

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A helicopter spun out of control and crashed in the front yard of a home in central California, hurting a pilot and passenger, authorities said. The helicopter clipped the edge of the house and sheared off the top of a palm tree before crashing and coming to rest on its side […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Long-term victims of car crashes win key Michigan decision