Detroit mayor, residents sue over no-fault insurance law

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and residents have filed a federal lawsuit over Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday against Patrick McPharlin, the director of Michigan's Department of Insurance and Financial Services, which oversees the state's no-fault insurance system, The Detroit News reported .

The lawsuit alleges the system has caused excessively high rates and is unconstitutional because it requires unlimited personal injury protection benefits, lacks a fee schedule for auto accident-related medical services, and allows medical providers to charge exorbitant fees for procedures.

Department of Insurance and Financial Services officials are reviewing the complaint, said Andrea Miller, a department spokeswoman.

Michigan's average auto insurance premium is more than $3,000, while the national average is about $1,500, the lawsuit states. Detroit has the highest auto insurance rate of any U.S. city, with drivers paying an average of about $6,200 for insurance, it contends.

Gladys Noble is one of the eight residents involved in the lawsuit. The 76-year-old retired social worker receives less than $2,000 a month from Social Security and a pension. She pays $210 a month for basic car insurance coverage.

"I may eventually have to drop this insurance so I can keep food on my table," Noble said.

Duggan joined the lawsuit "to protect the rights of all Detroit residents," the lawsuit said.

"This law is causing thousands of people across Michigan to break the law by driving without insurance because they simply can no longer afford it," Duggan said. "We are asking the court to provide residents the relief they need from these unjustifiably high insurance rates."

The lawsuit is asking the court to give the state six months to change the system.

"If that deadline is not met, the No-Fault Act should be deemed null and void and the tort system, used by a significant majority of states, should be reinstated," the lawsuit said.

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