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No error litigation flooding Oakland County courts



To understand why Oakland County has seen an increase in lawsuits, look north.

Less than two weeks after Harper's accident, Michigan's Supreme Court made a major ruling in an erroneous trial involving the Covenant Medical Center in Saginaw and State Farm Mutual Insurance Co.

The Supreme Court's ruling prevented medical providers' right to skip their patients and sue an insurance company for non-payment or underpayment of services by an injured motorist.

Personal injury lawyers say the verdict ordered them to file more legal errors in Oakland and Macomb counties rather than predominantly in Wayne County, which experienced a 30 percent fall in non-debugging cases between 201

6 and 2018. Overall in Oakland County (1,901) between 2016 and 2018 is almost identical to the decline in lawsuits filed in Wayne County (1,926).

Most judges in Wayne County interpreted the Charter's decision strictly and began to be discriminated against singing lawsuits from medical providers a lot, Anthony said.

But several judges in Oakland and Macomb counties took a second view of the procedures providers have to go through to allow them to sue, causing personal injury lawyers to take several cases north of Eight Mile Road.

The number of erroneous lawsuits filed in Oakland County shot from 644 to 1,085 in 2017 and 2,545 in 2018, while Macomb County's docket grew by 64 percent during that time, court records show.

"There was a big shift at that time," Anthony said after the covenant decision.

A Crain's analysis of the 2545 premium car insurance cases filed in Oakland County last year shows 56 percent of them were brought to 25 medical providers that included neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, spine and spine specialists, pain management, and rehabilitation clinics.

In the Dearborn-based Advanced Surgery Center in Oakland County was the most frequent litigant las t year, filing at least 155 lawsuits against 32 different auto insurance companies (more lawsuits were filed in 61 rural Michigan counties combined last year), a Crains show analysis of courts. Advanced Surgery Center representatives did not return phone messages.

Another frequent plaintiff in Oakland County courts last year was Flint neurosurgeon Jawad Shah, who filed 30 lawsuits against 14 different car insurance companies, shows records.

One of Shah's several lawsuits against State Farm challenged how the insurer bears clauses in its plans that allowed injured drivers to assign their non-erroneous benefits to their doctors or medical providers, giving them the right to sue for payment . The clauses were quietly added to non-erroneous policies, while State Farm beat Covenant all the way to the Supreme Court, according to several plaintiffs' lawyers.

"They were trying to get rid of the provider work altogether," said Anthony, whose law firm works for orthopedic surgeons, MRI clinics, physiotherapists, and anesthetists.

Last year, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ruled that State Farm's "anti-assignment clause" could not be enforced, overthrowing a Genesee County judge.

However, even with the appeal court's appeal, which has been appealed to the Supreme Court, some defendants choose to stay out of Wayne County given the legal uncertainty created by the fate of judgments, Anthony said.

Andrews, who speaks primarily for accompanying care benefits for quadriplegics and brain injured drivers, said the Oakland County bench is a preferred court place for the sort of complicated cases he undertakes.

"What I've found at least in Oakland County, the judges seem to understand the issues – they give you a fair shake, a fair read," Andrews said.

But representatives of the insurance industry claim that there has been a change in business models for plaintiffs lawyers.

"The reality may be that these personal injury attorneys begin to devise what they can pursue in Wayne County," said Tricia Kinley, CEO of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan, the industry's lobby arm. "At some point you are starting to move into different markets."

Kinley called the tip of non-erroneous lawsuits in Oakland and Macomb counties "shocking in a way, but also not surprising."

"It's a really unfortunate accusation on the system that is just real, really weakens every single day," she said.

& # 39; Unjust & # 39; cessation of servicesThe law's legal violations claim that lawsuits from providers are triggered by the company's tactics at auto insurance companies operating with little state monitoring and regulation.

Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedic & Spine Specialists, an orthopedic surgical center with offices in Livonia and Warren, takes car insurance companies to court after carriers' doctors – known as independent physicians or IMEs – are managing their patient, Medical is getting better, according to clinic's lawyer.

"They make many lawsuits because there are so many IMEs that are just unjustified," said Bruce Pazner, a Grosse Pointe Park ttorney representing the Mendelson clinic who filed at least 56 lawsuits in Oakland County last year.

Pazner said the legislator needed to create stronger statutory oversight of doctors performing independent medical exams "having the same opinion over and over" in favor of the insurer paying them.

The insurers' executives have argued that personal injury lawyer providers order unnecessary tests and rehabilitation services that increase the cost of care because there are no life protection limits for Michigan's no-fault law benefits.

"The reality is, the more lawsuits we have that just drive up premiums because it's just an extra cost added to the system," Kinley said.

But not all unpaid drug bills end up in court cases. Outside the metro Detroit, many smaller providers like chiropractors will abolish patient care when auto insurance companies begin to deny continuing treatment claims, Anthony says.

"The insurance companies typically get a storm because many of the providers won I fight them," Anthony said.

Ian Vedder, co-owner of Soteria Home Health LLC, a companion Grand Blanc care agency, said it is not uncommon for insurance companies to send payment checks that are 50 percent to 70 percent of what he billed for nurse helpers to provide. home care for damaged drivers who cannot walk, bathe or feed themselves.

"To sit there and say that the providers can figure out what they want is a completely false story," Vedder said, "I can count what I want. But that doesn't mean they have to pay what I will."

"What are my options? Either A, speak it or B, accept it," he added. 19659002] In most cases, Vedder said he eats his losses and prepares for the next insurance adjustment to get through his door.

"It is absolutely miserable to try to handle an adjustment," he said.


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