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24-Hour Attendant Care Benefits Sought (continued)
One suit against carrier concerns keeping rate after a 1/3 reduction
Plaintiff a 16 year old young woman, guardian of plaintiff Krista Ganun, sought restoration of full attendant care benefits from defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., based on no-fault insurance benefits from an automobile-pedestrian accident.
The accident occurred May 5, 1999, when plaintiff was 16 years old. She sustained massive injuries in the collision including a severe traumatic brain injury. She was hospitalized/institutionalized until 2001, when she was released to the care of her mother, who, along with two others, provided the attendant care prescribed by her doctors.
The first case in state court resulted in a verdict and award for the plaintiff. The second case, also filed in state court, related to a protective order sought by plaintiff because of attempts by State Farm to request a medical examination in her home that plaintiff argued (and the court agreed) was improper.
The third lawsuit, filed in federal court, concerned State Farm’s arbitrary reduction of plaintiff’s attendant care benefits by one-third. The carrier claimed that plaintiff might be paying an attorney, and that State Farm was not responsible for the entire attendant care payments because of it.
State Farm also attempted to intervene in plaintiff’s probate proceedings, claiming that it had authority to object to plaintiff’s mother acting as her guardian (the probate court did not agree with State Farm).
When State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of reducing attendant care by the amount of the attorney fees, the magistrate recommended that the district judge consider additional briefing on possible summary judgment in favor of plaintiff. Although summary judgment was not granted for plaintiff, the court rejected State Farm’s stated basis for reducing the attendant care rate.
The settlement included State Farm’s deficient attendant care payments, as well as an agreement by State Farm to pay a guaranteed hourly rate for attendant care benefits for a period of at least five years into the future.
Type of action: No-fault attendant care benefits
Type of injuries: Traumatic brain injury
Court/Case no.: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Name of judge: Victoria Roberts
Settlement amount: $1,631,635
Insurance carrier: State Farm