What is a no-fault law?
Some states have no-fault laws set up. No-fault insurance dictates that your insurer will pay for certain expenses if you get into a car accident, even if the accident was your fault. Put another way: in most accidents in these states, it does not matter who was at fault in the accident because each party’s insurance will provide coverage for their respective costs. Examples of what the insurance will pay for include lost earnings and medical bills.
What is the purpose of no-fault insurance?
In most states, if you are injured in a car accident, you can file a claim against the other driver for their negligence. This usually runs through their insurance company. In those instances, the burden of proof is on you to show that the other driver was at fault. Until you can do that, you won’t be able to collect any damages.
Proving your case can be a tedious and lengthy endeavor. There are photographs to submit, witness statements to gather, police reports review, and any other documents and information the insurance company demands. At this point, the negligent driver’s insurance company could still deny the claim, leaving you to file a lawsuit as your only legal recourse. This headache-inducing process can be expensive, time-consuming, confusing, and above all, stressful. This is why some states have instituted no-fault coverage.
The purpose of no-fault insurance is to reduce time and cost by making any disagreements about who was at fault in an accident irrelevant. As a result, insurance companies tend to pay claims in a more timely manner. The no-fault system also significantly lowers the likelihood of parties filing lawsuits against each other. While there can be extenuating circumstances for severe accidents resulting in higher medical bills, typical accidents tend to move through the insurance and legal system faster in states with the no-fault laws in place.
In addition to Michigan, a dozen states have some type of no-fault law. Some states have a cap on the benefits you can receive in a no-fault accident, but Michigan does not have any limits. Here is a list of the other states with no-fault laws.
Michigan’s No-Fault Laws
Under the Michigan No-Fault Law, if you are involved in a car accident, truck accident or even a motorcycle accident you are entitled to certain benefits from a car insurance carrier. These benefits are no-fault benefits, though they are often referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits or first-party benefits.
Every auto insurance policy in Michigan is a no-fault policy and contains the right to receive no-fault benefits. The central tenant of the Michigan No-Fault Law is the actual “no-fault” provision found in the law. A person is entitled to no-fault benefits, even if they caused the accident, so long as the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers are all examples of people entitled to Michigan No-Fault benefits. It is important to understand that just because you do not personally have car insurance, or don’t own a car, does not mean you can’t receive first-party benefits. Even without car insurance, in almost all situations you are still entitled to no-fault benefits.
With the exception of severe cases, Michigan’s no-fault law prohibits you from going to court following an accident. To warrant a court visit, one party must have suffered death, disfigurement, or serious impairment. There must be concrete medical evidence to support the court claim.
Michigan law does include a “minitort” provision. This states that you can file a small claims suit for up to $1,000. However, this applies only to property damages and not personal injuries.
What Are the Michigan No-Fault Benefits?
The major benefit under the Michigan No-Fault Law is the payment of all medical bills related to the accident. This includes the payment for all hospital bills, doctor bills and rehabilitation bills. If a medical treatment is related to the car accident, it must be paid by the auto insurance carrier responsible for paying the claim. There is no dollar limit and this is a lifetime benefit.
Another major benefit is the payment of lost wages. Under the law, as long as you are disabled from work because of car accident injuries, the auto insurance company must pay 85% of your gross wages for up to three years from the date of the accident.
Other benefits include the payment of prescriptions and out-of-pocket costs, as well as reimbursement for the personal care that nurses, family members or even friends are providing to you because of your Michigan car accident injuries.
How Do I Get A Michigan No-Fault Claim Started?
To receive first-party benefits, you must contact the car insurance company responsible for paying the claim and let them know you were injured in an accident. Usually, your own car insurance company must pay. If you do not have insurance, we suggest you contact our office at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we can get you started in the right direction. No-fault claims are different from other claims so it’s important to have representation that can guide you through these waters.
To receive Michigan No-Fault benefits, you must first complete an Application for No-Fault Benefits. This application must be completed, signed and returned to the car insurance company handling the first-party claim within 12 months of the car accident. This deadline is compulsory and a Michigan car accident, Michigan truck accident or Michigan motorcycle accident victim cannot receive Michigan No-Fault benefits if the deadline is not met.
Is There a Deadline or Statute of Limitations for Michigan No-Fault Benefits?
Another important detail in the Michigan No-Fault Law is the one-year-back rule. Under this rule, a Michigan car accident, Michigan truck accident or Michigan motorcycle accident victim may not recover benefits owed to them, such as lost wages, if more than one year has elapsed from the time the expense was incurred. In addition, the victim may not recover benefits for any loss incurred more than one year before the date a lawsuit was filed.
Talk to a Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg and Call Lee Free are the experts in the Michigan No-Fault Law and have a team of Michigan car accident lawyers dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our Michigan car accident attorneys have been representing individuals injured in Michigan car accidents, Michigan truck accidents and Michigan motorcycle accidents for over 40 years.
Call our office today. You pay nothing unless we win your Michigan car accident case. Let us help you by calling 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).
Ask Lee Free
Q:Do I need to file a claim if the accident was not my fault?
A: This is a common mistake. Yes, you still have to file a claim against your insurance company if you are not at fault in an accident in Michigan.