The Michigan Court of Appeals finds the 2019 no-fault act is not retroactive

In 2019, the Michigan legislature enacted a new no-fault law in Michigan that changed the landscape of automobile insurance in the State of Michigan. Whereas before the new law every insured driver had access to unlimited personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits if they were injured in a car accident, now there are limitations. One of the principal issues since this law was enacted is whether the law applies retroactively to cases and/or car accidents that arose before the new law was enacted.

On August 25, 2022, the Court of Appeals issued a ruling finding that the new no-fault law does NOT apply retroactively. Specifically, the Court found that the 2019 amendments could not be applied to individuals who purchased policies and whose right to no-fault benefits vested before the amendments’ enactment. In its ruling, the Court reached three conclusions: (1) the 2019 amendments did not contain language evincing an intent to apply the amendments retroactively to persons injured before their enactment; (2) if there was evidence of retroactivity it would violate the Contracts Clause under the Constitution; and (3) the trial court improperly dismissed the plaintiffs’ constitutional arguments.

If you are injured in a car accident after the new law’s enactment, the new law will apply to you. However, for those catastrophically injured before the enactment of the new law, their rights are safeguarded thanks to the Court of Appeals’ decision in Andary v. USAA. While USAA has appealed the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, for now, the law is on the side of those with significant injuries suffered pre-enactment.

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