Michigan Auto Accident Law & No-fault law – AVA Care
Michigan is a “no fault” state and understanding Michigan No Fault Law is very important. In other words, there are limits placed on the tort liability of a negligent driver responsible for causing a car accident. In other states, a negligent driver who causes injuries in an automobile accident is responsible in tort for all of the injuries and damages that they case. In Michigan automobile accident victims must rely on their own no-fault insurance (first party) first. The list of priority claims is listed in the “Question and Answer” handout listed at the bottom of the “Vehicle Accident” main page.
Understanding the Basics
Every car accident victim has a difficult time in dealing with insurance companies and the legal system regarding their automobile accident claims. This is due in part to the current insurance laws that Michigan has adopted. The following information is provided to give you some assistance in helping to understand the basics.
Although Michigan Legislature has enacted laws dealing with “serious body impairment” it was not until 2002 in the case of Kreiner v Fischer, 251 Mich App 513, 651 NW2d 433 (2002) that the Michigan Supreme Court defined “serious body impairment” and began using the “Threshold Test.”nnThe “Threshold Test” is defined by the injury being: - “Objectively manifested” (or being able to be medically identifiable by testing) - An important body function of the person injured - Affect that person’s ability to lead his or her normal life. Every automobile accident case is different and should be treated as such. There is no “set in stone” procedure to determine if a case is “winnable.” The key is to document your injuries at the earliest stages and ensure that you properly file the required insurance paperwork. www.Michigan.gov
Understanding the Basics
In Michigan, an automobile accident victim’s injuries must be considered serious before a negligent driver can be held responsible for any of the injuries or damages they cause. However, under the Michigan mini tort law, the negligent driver may be held liable for the first $500.00 of vehicle damage. In Michigan, the no-fault insurance company of the person who causes a car accident is only responsible for:nnNon-economic loss (i.e. pain and suffering), Excess economic loss over the monthly statutory maximum, and Economic loss after the first three years of no-fault lost wages. Any recovery from these can only be made if the injury passes the following:nn - Death - Serious impairment of body function - Permanent serious disfigurement
Benefits are provided to injured persons, who are not operating without No-Fault Insurance. These Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits or “First Party Benefits” include payments for medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services, mileage, survivor’s loss, funeral expenses, and attendant care, if the injuries are serious enough. These payments are usually made by the car accident victim’s own no fault insurer. Furthermore, you should understand what your insurance policy specifics are, as you may be eligible for more than one benefit. In coordinated benefits, the first party no fault insurance pays all expenses not covered by the injured victim’s health insurance. Unlike coordinated benefits, full benefits provides that the victim’s auto no-fault insurance pays all medical expenses incurred, even if those were paid by a health insurance provider.nn