Getting into a car accident is a frustrating and sometimes life changing event. First, there is the trauma of the collision. Then there is the anger about the car damage and what to do about getting the car fixed and finding transportation. Then there is the pain and injuries that can result, which leads to medical bills, lost time from work and financial stress.
With all this going on, it is important to get answers. In Michigan, we have a very complicated Michigan car accident law. Because of this, it is important to contact a lawyer who is an expert in Michigan car accidents so you can get quick and correct answers to your questions.
A knowledgeable Michigan auto accident lawyer should be able to explain the nuances of the Michigan no-fault law and how it will impact your specific situation. For example, under the law, your auto own insurance company pays the medical bills from the car accident, not the guy who caused the crash. But a claim must be set up first and a Michigan car or truck lawyer who has been in the trenches can help you set up the claim.
Further, the amount of medical bills the auto insurance company will pay depends on the amount of personal injury protection, or PIP coverage you have. Under the old rules, everyone had unlimited PIP. But that recently changed. Now people can purchase PIP coverage in different amounts, with the most common being $250,000. A lawyer can help you figure out the amount of PIP coverage that applies to your case. This is important because this will impact how the bills will get paid following the accident.
Which Car Insurance Company Pays the No-Fault PIP Claim?
There are certain rules for determining which car insurance company pays no-fault PIP benefits. You always start with your own insurance carrier first. If a driver has State Farm Insurance, then State Farm is responsible for paying the claim.
But what if you do not have auto insurance. What happens then?
If you are a passenger in a car wreck and do not have auto insurance, you can still make a PIP claim. Under the rules, you can turn to the auto insurance of a resident relative. For example, if your parents or a sibling has car insurance, and you live with that family member, you can use their auto insurance to get PIP benefits. This is the case even if you don’t have auto insurance.
There is one exception, however. A person involved in a motor vehicle accident while occupying their own uninsured car cannot recover PIP benefits. For example, if you are driving or even a passenger in your own uninsured vehicle and a crash occurs, you cannot make a claim for no-fault benefits.
If there is no auto insurance in the household, the state of Michigan through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) will assign an insurance carrier to pay your claim.
But how does a person set up a claim with the MACP?
It is not easy, and again a Michigan attorney who has handled no-fault cases and car accident crashes in general can assist. MACP cases require a detailed Application for Benefit be completed. The application is long and asks a lot of important questions that can be confusing. It is imperative to ensure the questions are answered truthfully before submitting or turning the application in. Incorrect information will be used against you later by the insurance company and their adjusters or lawyers, even if it was unintentional.
Vehicle Property and Car Damage Claims:
Who pays for the car damage following a car accident in Michigan?
It depends again on what type of coverage the car owner has. A person has a duty to insurance their own vehicle for collision damage. Under Michigan law, the other driver is only required to pay up to $3,000 in vehicle damage. This is true even if the other driver was 100% at-fault for causing the accident and the property damage to the car.
A vehicle owner who has purchased collision coverage can turn to their own car insurance carrier to get the vehicle fixed and paid for. If the insurance carriers total out the car, they will pay the net present value of the car to the owner. The owner can then make what is known as a “mini-tort” claim against the at-fault driver for the deductible amount, up to $3,000.
Most car damage claims are straight forward and don’t require the advice of a lawyer. However, mini-tort cases do require some knowledge as to what is required to get money from the driver who caused the crash. Again, an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer will walk you through this process and answer your questions.
Pain and Suffering Cases in Michigan
Suing for pain and suffering in Michigan following a car crash is not straight forward. Unlike other states, just because you are injured in a car wreck and another person caused the accident does not mean you are entitled to money compensation. The law in Michigan is complicated and different.
Under the Michigan no-fault law, the person must prove he or she sustained a “threshold” injury to qualify for pain and suffering compensation. To show an injured person suffered a threshold injury, he or she must show the car accident has generally affected his or her ability to lead a normal life.
This is a case specific situation, and a Michigan car accident injury lawyer can explain the “ins and outs” of pain and suffering cases in more detail. The lawyer can help explain what it means to have a “threshold” injury, how medical treatment helps prove you are entitled to compensation and how imaging studies like MRIs and CT scans are important.
A good Michigan car accident lawyer can go a long way in easing the burden and the fear that results from a car crash. The dedicated and aggressive car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. can help answer your questions, walk you through the claims process and get money in your pocket. We never charge a penny until we win your case. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).