LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In a 2-to-1 decision, the Michigan court of appeals ruled that Michigan’s 2019 no-fault overhaul does not apply to previous crash survivors. It’s a big win for more than 18,000 Michiganders.
“My phone started ringing like mad, people were sobbing with gratitude,” said Maureen Howell.
Howell is celebrating today. She’s been helping lead the fight for Michigan auto accident survivors affected by the 2019 law. Her group is called We Can’t Wait.
“There’s been so much angst and pressure and suffering and to have the judges make a good legal decision, but also a fair and just decision for these people that have had it so hard was just so incredibly rewarding,” said Howell.
Experts who are working on the case say because this is a published decision from the court of appeal it has precedent.
“This is the law of the land now. Insurance companies cannot impose these arbitrary limitations on people who were injured in auto accidents before the law changed on June 11, 2019. So they will not be able to do that,” said Lawyer at Sinas Dramis Law, Tom Sinas.
For Howell, it’s also a very personal victory. Her son was in an auto accident in 2005 that nearly killed him. The accident left a need for constant care. She’s been fighting the law and insurance companies for her son and the families that were impacted.
“It hurt so many other people and once you’ve gone through it the pain of having this happen, it’s an experience and knowledge base that you can’t have other than it happening to your family.”
Howell says she knows the fight’s not over yet, but she believes this sets a positive precedent for the future.
“We’ve got a Facebook group and our little private messaging and someone said now what? And I said what do you mean? We continue on and we know what’s right and what we need to do.”
Experts on the case say that insurance companies will probably appeal this to the Michigan supreme court.