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Can I Sue an At-Fault Driver in Michigan’s No-Fault Auto Accident State?

April 26, 2021

Michigan is a “no-fault” state for auto accidents. This means that your auto insurance policy will cover your injury-related costs no matter if you were at fault in causing or contributed to your accident.

Also, if you’re involved in an accident and suffer severe injuries, you may be able to bring a third-party claim against an at-fault driver. In Michigan, you can only bring a third-party claim if the other driver is at least 50% at-fault for causing the accident.

An individual who was injured by an at-fault driver may be able to seek benefits through a third-party claim for pain and suffering, or other non-economic losses and wage low beyond the three year period.  If a lawsuit is filed to for damages, the negligent driver must be individually named in the suit, but the damages are paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company up to the limits of the negligent driver’s insurance policy. But if a plaintiff suffered damages that total more than the amount of at-fault driver’s policy, that person may be personally responsible for the excess amount.

Michigan’s No Fault Law

Every auto accident in Michigan doesn’t automatically give rise to a third-party claim. To receive compensation for your injuries and losses, Michigan law says that you must have suffered a “serious impairment” of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.

The no-fault laws place certain limits on liability. Your accident must have caused an “objectively manifested impairment” to an important body function affecting your general ability to lead a normal life. That means that your normal day-to-day living is significantly impacted by your injuries.

Every motorist in Michigan is required to carry a minimum coverage no-fault policy that will pay up to certain amounts if you’re found legally responsible. A driver can purchase additional coverage with higher limits, but the minimum coverage is:

  • Up to $20,000 for a person who is hurt or killed in an accident;
  • Up to $40,000 for each accident if several people are hurt or killed; or
  • Up to $10,000 for property damage in another state.

A no-fault policy covers all family members living in the same house. The basic no-fault policy you must buy has three parts:

  1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  2. Property Protection (PPI)
  3. Residual Liability Insurance – Bodily Injury and Property Damage

What if Who’s at Fault Isn’t Clear?

In most auto accidents, the at-fault party is easy to determine. However, in some cases, there’s a question of whether the injured motorist is partially responsible for the collision.

The first step in bringing a third-party car accident lawsuit in Michigan is that you and your Michigan auto accident attorney must be able to demonstrate that the other driver was at fault for the crash. This can usually be shown by the at-fault driver’s violation of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, such as speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, running a red light, failure to yield, texting and driving, driving under the influence, and other infractions.

Under Michigan’s comparative negligence (or “comparative fault”) law, the amount of compensation to which an individual is entitled to recover as damages is reduced by how much that person is to blame for the accident. Note that if the accident victim is more than 50% negligent in causing the accident, Michigan’s comparative fault law says that he or she can’t recover any compensation for non-economic loss, such as pain and suffering and other quality of life losses.

Contact us

A traffic crash was reported every 1 minute and 41 seconds in Michigan in 2018. There’s a decent chance that you or a family member will be involved in an auto accident. If so, know that injured victims may be entitled to compensation for serious injuries. You need a reliable Grand Rapids car accident attorney that understands the Michigan no-fault insurance laws and can get you what you deserve.

For a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.

Contact us today!