Perhaps one of the state’s most enduring legislative controversies concerns the state’s no-fault law. The law requires each person operating a motor vehicle to purchase automobile insurance in specified coverage amounts and for specified losses. Among other requirements, the no-fault law requires motorists to purchase insurance covering their own health care needs caused by an automobile accident. The legislature recently amended the law to allow insurance companies to reduce payments to health care providers by almost 50%.
Survivors of catastrophic accidents visit Capitol
The change has become a second catastrophe for people who have suffered injuries such as spinal cord damage, brain injury and nerve injuries. Persons with these symptoms generally are unable to take care of themselves, and many need 24-hour in-home care. Many individuals suffering from one or more of these injuries packed the halls of the state Capitol to present their cases directly to the legislators.
Care managers and patients pointed to numerous incidents in which the reduction of benefits had a severe adverse impact on the injured party. Care managers for car crash survivors estimate that the changes in the no-fault law accounted for 10 deaths since the change. A nurse with experience in caring for such patients said that the changes to the no-fault law has forced injured persons to leave their homes because they cannot pay for the 24-hour in-home care that they require. Another person who was rendered quadriplegic by an auto accident said that his injurer stopped paying for his home health care last summer.
Perhaps the most tragic accounts given to legislators concerned person who lost their care and subsequently died. Anyone who is suffering from the reduction in no-fault benefits may be able to take heart from the statements of a few legislators who have said that the law “needs to be fixed.” At this point, anyone who suffers serious injuries in an automobile accident may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on how best to obtain no-fault benefits from their auto insurer.