Understanding Michigan’s No Fault Accident Law
Nearly every state in the country requires drivers to have auto insurance, but Michigan’s auto insurance laws are unique. Michigan is one of twelve states to have a no-fault auto insurance law, which means that in the event of a car accident, each party involved makes a claim through their own insurance provider regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Although Michigan isn’t the only no-fault state in the country, their no-fault law is very unique because it’s the only state in to provide unlimited medical benefits to people who have been catastrophically injured in car accidents.
Michigan’s no-fault insurance law went into effect in 1973 and was intended to make it easier for people who have been injured in car accidents to get their medical bills taken care of without going to court. Since each person involved in a car accident makes their claim through their own insurance, benefit payouts don’t get delayed because of disputes between insurance companies.
All Michigan drivers are required by law to carry no-fault auto insurance. When the insurance premium is paid for each vehicle in the state, part of that premium goes to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA.) If a person is injured in a car accident, their personal auto insurance company is responsible for covering their medical bills up to $545,000. If you have medical expenses over $545,000, the MCCA steps in to reimburse insurers for those expenses. For people who have been catastrophically injured in car accidents, it doesn’t take long to reach that $545,000 threshold. This system ensures that people who have been severely injured in car accidents and are suffering from serious, lifelong health problems get the support they need.
Michigan no-fault provides coverage for all expenses reasonably associated with injuries caused by the car accident, including things like rehabilitation, medical equipment, lost wages, transportation to and from appointments, and attendant care. You can also be eligible for a stipend to pay someone to help with tasks around the house like cleaning and taking care of pets if you are no longer able to do them yourself.
Since no-fault systems are supposed to reduce the number of car accident cases that go to court, this also means there are limitations on the circumstances in which you can sue another driver over a car accident. In Michigan, you can sue the other party involved in a car accident if the accident caused a death, severe disfigurement, or a serious impairment of body function.
Even if you’re not actually suing the other driver, contacting a car accident attorney can still be helpful since they’ll be able to help make sure you get all the Michigan no-fault benefits you’re entitled to. An attorney can also help you get Michigan no-fault benefits if you were injured in an accident where you weren’t a driver, such as if you were a passenger or pedestrian. If the car accident involved an out-of-state driver, a lawyer will help you understand how that applies to your situation because the rules can get more complicated when an out-of-state driver is involved.