Because Michigan is a no-fault state, many people assume they have no legal remedy if hit and injured by a reckless driver. That isn’t true. Lawsuits against the driver who was at fault are called third-party lawsuits in Michigan. In a third-party case, the injured person brings a claim against the driver who caused the accident seeking reimbursement for pain and suffering, and economic harms and losses if wage loss or household service loss are permanent or will continue more than 3 years after the accident (your own auto insurance pays a wage replacement benefit for up to 3 years). Money is paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, so long as he or she has enough coverage.
There is no simple yes or no because the answer depends on the unique facts of your claim. Our experienced Muskegon, Michigan vehicle crash team is always available to answer your questions and give you a free consultation. Call 800-272-4080.
Most people don’t qualify for a third-party claim unless the accident injuries are severe. Third-party claims reimburse pain and suffering, and excess economic harms and losses that continue beyond the 3 years and are not covered by your own insurance company. To get reimbursement for pain and suffering, the injured person must have a “serious impairment of a body function” or “severe disfigurement” caused by the accident. In simple terms, an injury so severe that it impairs your ability to lead a normal life or disfigures you.
*Important* Michigan law requires the injured person to show a “serious impairment of body function,” caused by the crash. This means someone can be in pain every day, but if he or she cannot show daily life is much worse after an accident, a third-party claim is often too difficult to pursue.
People injured in a Muskegon, Michigan vehicle accident have up to 3 years after the crash to file a third-party lawsuit for pain and suffering from accident injuries or excess economic harms. However, there are instances where other coverage applies shortening the deadline by which you must file a lawsuit to one year.
“What does it cost?” is a common question we hear. We work for our clients on a contingent fee basis, meaning we are paid an attorney fee only if we recover money for you. If money is obtained by a settlement or after a trial, we are paid a percentage of the recovery, like a commission. If we recover no money, you pay no attorney fee. Money spent to prepare the claim (i.e., filing fees, experts, copies, etc.) are the client’s responsibility under Michigan law, but our firm borrows the money from a bank (so you don’t have to).
To win a third-party auto claim, you must show you have suffered a severe “threshold injury” from the auto crash. Michigan law defines “threshold injury” as “serious impairment of an important body function, serious disfigurement or scarring, or death.”
If you are in a Muskegon, Michigan accident, you qualify to receive 85% of your lost wages if you are physically unable to work because of the crash injuries. The law sets a monthly cap on the amount of lost wages your insurer must reimburse. The wage-replacement benefits are tax-free and may continue for up to three years.
As you see, whether and to what extent you get reimbursements for crash-related harms and losses depends on correct application of Michigan’s no-fault law. Often insurance companies, perhaps even your own, avoid paying what Michigan law requires. They delay and employ tactics depriving you of reimbursements you are entitled to recover. It is important, especially for those with serious injuries, to immediately seek help from an attorney experienced with the no-fault law, like the attorneys of our law firm. Even a short delay by an insurance company can cause you to lose your rights to reimbursements.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact Buchanan Firm today for help and the reimbursements you are entitled.
What our former car (and motorcycle) accident clients say about us:
No one ever anticipates being in a life changing car or motorcycle accident. I never thought that our family would have been the ones having our world turned upside down in the spring of 2019. My husband was badly injured in a motorcycle accident and I can honestly say I don’t know how we would have gotten through that time in our lives if it wasn’t for knowing that Rob and his team were on our side. I remember sighing a huge sigh of relief after the first meeting we had with them because we know that we were in great hands. They care about our family, our business, and our best interest. They are 100% dependable, fair, understanding, and supportive. I highly recommend them and hope to never need to use their services again, but it is a comfort to know such an amazing team if I ever have a friend or family member who is in need of their services.
— Justin and Haylee Hill
I enjoyed working with Rob and Leslie very much, they were very responsive anytime I had questions or concerns, any time I felt confused or wasn’t quite sure what the next step was to the process they took the time to put it in a way that was understandable which led to a happy resolution to a tragic circumstance. Wish we could have met on better terms but it was nice working with you guys thank you again.
— Michael Dingman