Key Points of This Article:
- Michigan is a no-fault state, and no-fault auto insurance can help cover costs after an accident, no matter who was at fault.
- If you were at fault, you or the person who owns the car could be sued for more money if your insurance policy does not entirely cover the damages of the other party involved.
- If you have an accident with someone else’s car, your own collision coverage could help you pay for damages to their car.
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means that all drivers are required to carry no-fault insurance that covers things like medical bills and lost wages for those injured in an accident. This includes the policyholder or the other driver(s) involved if they were injured and the accident was your fault.
But what happens if you get in an auto accident in Detroit in someone else’s car?
Understandably, it can be confusing trying to understand how insurance and fault work when a person is driving a car that they do not own. So we’ve put together some commonly asked questions that tend to arise in these situations and the answers to go along with them.
If you have further questions about a car accident and how compensation is awarded for injuries or other damages, our team of Detroit car accident attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm can assist you.
If you have an accident with someone else’s car and you were at fault, your liability coverage— if you have your own policy—and their liability coverage, will pay for the personal injuries of anyone else involved in the accident.
Essentially, your insurance will represent and defend you, and the insurance of the person who owns the car will represent and defend them. So if anyone else injured in the accident files a personal injury claim, they will be compensated through your insurance policy up to your limits, and they can also be compensated through the insurance policy of the person who owns the car.
The only exception to this is if the at-fault driver stole or did not have permission to use the vehicle from the vehicle owner. This is considered an “unlawful taking” and insurance does not protect the at-fault driver in these situations.
Michigan’s no-fault law requires the following minimum coverage:
- $250,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident
- $500,000 for death or bodily injury of two or more people in an accident
*However, the law does allow drivers to choose to purchase lower limits of $50,000 and $100,000.
The no-fault bodily injury coverage also can cover you if you were injured or if the car owner was in the car with you and was also injured. Essentially, no-fault insurance covers costs for bodily injury no matter who was at fault. So if you are injured in an accident with someone else’s car, you would go through your insurance to get coverage, and the car’s owner would go through their policy if they were injured.
If the driver did not have auto insurance of their own, they can still obtain no-fault benefits however. The driver would first go through the auto insurance carrier of a resident relative. This means a family member they live with.
If there is no auto insurance in the household, then the injured driver must make a claim through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP). The MACP will then assign an insurance company, like Allstate or Farmers Insurance, to pay the benefits. The application process is not easy. An experienced Michigan no-fault lawyer can help walk you through the process.
Legally, the vehicle owner can be held responsible for any accident that occurs. This is called the Owner’s Liability statute, MCL 257.401. So if you were driving someone else’s car and you were at fault, you and the car’s owner could be sued by the other victims involved or their families. This is true even if the owner was not involved in the accident at all.
However, again the driver must have had permission to use the vehicle. If the driver did not have permission, then the owner of the vehicle may not be held responsible.
If you are in an accident with someone else’s car and were at fault for causing an accident, the owner of the borrowed car can recover compensation for vehicle damage through their collision insurance coverage. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, car owners must always turn to their own auto insurance first. This means if you have collision coverage, your own carrier must pay for the collision damage, even if the person driving the car caused the crash.
However, keep in mind that their insurance will likely only cover damages to their vehicle if you had permission to be driving their car.
If you did not have permission, then their insurance will likely not cover the car damages. In this case, you would have to pay for their car repairs out of your pocket.
If the other driver(s) involved in the accident come after you for money for the damages caused to their cars, those damages would likely be covered by the car owner’s mini-tort or limited property damage coverage. If the at-fault vehicle has mini-tort coverage, the most a person can recover for vehicle damage due to someone else’s negligence is $3,000.
If they do not have mini-tort or limited property damage coverage on their auto policy, then you and the owner of the car could be held liable up the full amount of the damage.
If you have further questions about when someone else causes an accident with your car, or if you get in an accident with someone else’s car, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm can assist you.
Though your own insurance company is there to protect you and help you cover injuries and other damages, no matter who was at fault, you could still be sued by the other driver involved or their loved ones.
And even if you aren’t sued, navigating a personal injury claim after an accident can be complicated, especially if you weren’t the one driving your car. An attorney can help guide you through the process and stand up for your rights to ensure everything is properly taken care of.
Call our Michigan personal injury lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) to speak with an experienced attorney. You’ll pay nothing until we settle your personal injury case.