Michigan crash victim fighting car insurance company for catastrophic claims funding

Clarence Burgie gives his daughter, Carmen, a drink of water, while her mother Cassandra, helps with Chapstick.

Things many of us do without a thought Carmen can't do for herself after she was hit by a car and paralyzed while she was a student at Michigan State University in 2001. Now, her parents are her full-time caregivers.

"I didn't want her in a nursing home. I didn't want someone else caring for her. As I said, this is my daughter," Cassandra Mixon-Burgie said.

They had to quit their jobs to care for Carmen, and they were compensated through catastrophic claims funding until the no-fault auto insurance reform went into effect. They say Auto-Owners insurance hasn't paid them anything since July.

"It's like, OK, how am I supposed to pay bills now? What am I supposed to do?" Carmen said. "We depended on that money. My family had to quit their jobs."

In August the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that insurance companies had to restore payments to people who were catastrophically injured prior to the auto insurance reform, but attorneys say Auto-Owners and some others refuse to do it.

"They ask really the most vulnerable in our society to bear the brunt so that the insurance industry can really reap the record profits. It's really horrible what's been taking place," Attorney Nick Andrews said.

Andrews represents Carmen and a host of other families impacted by insurance companies refusing to pay. Now the case will go before the Michigan Supreme Court next month.

"I'm hopeful that the Supreme Court is simply going to look at what the court of appeals had done in a very well-written opinion and simply say, 'The Court of Appeals got it right," he said.

Andrews says they expect a ruling from the supreme court to come by summer. For the Burgie family, it can't come soon enough.

"Something needs to be done and hopefully, something will get done," said "Do the right thing - just do the right thing."