Auto Accident Laws in Michigan
No-Fault Insurance Act
The Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act was created for the purpose of making sure that those injured in motor vehicle accidents receive personal protection injury benefits in a timely manner. In other words, the legislature took a “pay now, ask questions later” approach to these situations. In fact, insurers are now sanctioned (payment of attorney fees) by the Act if they fail to pay no-fault insurance benefits in a timely manner. Collecting initial benefits is usually not an issue; issues arise over the passage of time as to whether an injured claimant is still hurt and whether paying benefits continues to be reasonable. The Act requires all owners of motor vehicles (as defined by the Act, motorcycles are not included) to obtain no-fault insurance. No benefits can be collected for those who fail to obtain insurance if their vehicle was involved in the accident.
What Does This Mean For Me?
A. The Trade-Off
The No-Fault Act provides great benefits to provide for the care and welfare of those involved in motor vehicle accidents. However, there is a trade-off. Suing a responsible party for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, consortium, etc.) is now far more difficult; a threshold injury must have been sustained (death, permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of a body function). Proving a threshold injury occurred can be a very difficult task. One’s life must be so impacted that the trajectory of one’s life must have been knocked off course as a result of the injuries sustained.
B. Damage to Personal Property
The No-Fault Act has also impacted damage to personal property; suing another for damage caused to personal property in a motor vehicle accident is limited to only four situations:
1. Mini-tort allows a claimant to sue the responsible party for damages up to the amount of $1,000 for which his/her insurance does not cover.
2. Claims may be made against those who intentionally cause harm to personal property.
3. Those who own and operate a motor vehicle that is not insured may also be sued.
4. Owners of reasonably parked vehicles may also sue those who damage their vehicle.
Contact a Michigan No-Fault Insurance Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, or if your insurer has cut off your benefits, you should contact an experienced no-fault attorney today. Akiva Goldman & Associates are experienced no-fault attorneys in the Metro Detroit area. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 586-268-2400.