It’s Not Your Fault: the Michigan No-Fault Act
In Michigan, the No-Fault Act governs automobile liability insurance and provides No-Fault benefits such as wage loss, replacement services, and medical bills to people injured in motor vehicle accidents without having to prove who was at fault.
The Act reduces minor lawsuits by disallowing tort (civil lawsuit) actions between a “covered” plaintiff and “covered” defendant, except for those claims that exceed the no-fault threshold. The no-fault threshold requires death, permanent and serious disfigurement, or the serious impairment of a bodily function. Obviously, the injury had to result from using an automobile.
Failing to meet the threshold means that you have to collect from your own insurer.
So what’s the minimum amount of No-Fault insurance coverage that you need in Michigan?
• $20k per person
• $40k per accident
• $10k for property damage
Property damage coverage generally bars most tort claims – the idea is that you recover from your insurer and not the person who injured your property.
When can I sue?
• Minitorts, which are small claims up to $1,000 that weren’t covered by insurance (if you’re more than 50% at fault, you’re barred from recovery)
• Liability for intentional harm to property
• Liability for failure to maintain the mandated No-Fault coverage
• Liability damage to lawfully parked cars
What is covered under the No-Fault act? The act covers “ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is any vehicle with two or more wheels that’s designed for use on a public highway (including trailers). Motorcycles, which require liability insurance, are excluded from this definition.
If your vehicle is park, generally your claim is not recoverable, unless:
• Your vehicle was parked in a way that did not cause an unreasonable risk of injury. This means that you were parked safely and reasonably, but your car was hit nonetheless.
• You were loading or unloading from your car (possibly using equipment like a handicap ramp), unless the injury stemmed from employment.
• The injury occurred during ingress or egress from the vehicle, except when you’re within the scope of your employment.
Our Southfield, Michigan personal injury law firm has been handling Detroit and Metro Detroit car accident claims for over 30 years. If you’ve been injured, there are alternative avenues to recovery outside benefits from your insurer. Call Goodwin & Scieszka today; our attorneys are standing by and ready to fight for the recovery you deserve.