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Michigan No-Fault Act

Our No-Fault insurance lawyers explain the two types of cases for accident victims under the No-Fault law

Many people ask our no-fault lawyers why their own insurance company should pay anything when another driver caused the accident. To put it simply, the term “no-fault” means that both parties involved in a car accident or truck accident are entitled to benefits from their insurance companies, no matter who caused the accident.

Michigan’s no-fault law can be divided into two types of cases, first-party and third-party.

First-party — A first-party case is between the auto accident victim and his insurance company for no-fault benefits, also called personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. These valuable benefits include medical expenses related to the auto accident, wage loss for the first three years following the accident, household replacement services (chores/help with children), payment for mileage to and from medical appointments and attendant care (nursing services). Again, in a first-party case, no-fault benefits are usually paid out by your own insurance company.

There are two important steps you must take to secure your benefits in a first-party case. First, you must immediately file a no-fault application for benefits with the applicable insurance carrier. This application MUST be filed within one (1) year from the date of the accident, or you will forever lose any benefits to which you might be entitled. Reimbursement for your no-fault insurance benefits will not begin until you’ve filed this application.

Here is a sample application for no-fault insurance benefits from the state of Michigan : (http://www.mi.gov/documents/NF-21_Ap_for_Bodily_Injury_57076_7.pdf)

Your auto insurance company may require its own version. Please read about the importance of injury documentation and beware of masked injuries, as you will be asked to describe your injuries on this form. If you have problems filling out this form, please do not hesitate to call Michigan Auto Law at .

Secondly, if there are any items of reimbursable expense that are not paid by your insurance carrier, you must file a lawsuit for those particular items within one (1) year from the date the expenses were incurred. If this lawsuit is not filed within that one-year period, you will lose all rights to reimbursement for that those expense items.

Third-party — A third-party case is between the auto accident victim and the driver who caused the auto accident. In a third-party case, the auto accident victim sues the at-fault driver for pain and suffering damages, and excess economic benefits. In a third-party case, damages are usually paid out from the wrong-doer’s insurance company.

If the automobile accident in a third-party case took place more than three years ago, the victim cannot sue the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company for injuries, no matter how serious. The only exception is for minors.

It’s possible to have a no-fault case even when there is no other car involved. For example, if you hit a telephone pole or hit a deer, you still have the right to a Michigan no-fault case for insurance benefits, as long as the injury relates to a transportation function of the automobile involved in the accident.

Michigan No-Fault Insurance Lawyers Can Help Obtain Your Benefits and Damages

Michigan Auto Law is the state’s largest law firm practicing exclusively in car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases. We have helped injury victims throughout Michigan for more than 50 years and three generations, and we can help obtain the insurance benefits and pain and suffering compensation you need. To speak with a no-fault lawyer directly, please call or fill out our consultation form.

Below is a copy of the Michigan no-fault law.

THE INSURANCE CODE OF 1956 (EXCERPT)

Act 218 of 1956

CHAPTER 31

MOTOR VEHICLE PERSONAL AND PROPERTY PROTECTION

500.3101 Security for payment of benefits required; period security required to be in effect; deletion of coverages; definitions; policy of insurance or other method of providing security; filing proof of security; "insurer" defined. [M.S.A. 24.13101]

Sec. 3101. (1) The owner or registrant of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall maintain security for payment of benefits under personal protection insurance, property protection insurance, and residual liability insurance. Security shall only be required to be in effect during the period the motor vehicle is driven or moved upon a highway. Notwithstanding any other provision in this act, an insurer that has issued an automobile insurance policy on a motor vehicle that is not driven or moved upon a highway may allow the insured owner or registrant of the motor vehicle to delete a portion of the coverages under the policy and maintain the comprehensive coverage portion of the policy in effect.

(2) As used in this chapter: (a) "Automobile insurance" means that term as defined in section 2102.

(b) "Highway" means that term as defined in section 20 of the Michigan vehicle code, Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being section 257.20 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

(c) "Motorcycle" means a vehicle having a saddle or seat for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, which is equipped with a motor that exceeds 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement. The wheels on any attachment to the vehicle shall not be considered as wheels in contact with the ground. Motorcycle does not include a moped, as defined in section 32b of the Michigan vehicle code, Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being section 257.32b of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

(d) "Motorcycle accident" means a loss involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motorcycle as a motorcycle, but not involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.

(e) "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle, including a trailer, operated or designed for operation upon a public highway by power other than muscular power which has more than 2 wheels. Motor vehicle does not include a motorcycle or a moped, as defined in section 32b of Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being section 257.32b of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Motor vehicle does not include a farm tractor or other implement of husbandry which is not subject to the registration requirements of the Michigan vehicle code pursuant to section 216 of the Michigan vehicle code, Act No. 300 of the Public Acts of 1949, being section 257.216 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

(f) "Motor vehicle accident" means a loss involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle regardless of whether the accident also involves the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motorcycle as a motorcycle.

(g) "Owner" means any of the following: (i) A person renting a motor vehicle or having the use thereof, under a lease or otherwise, for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(ii) A person who holds the legal title to a vehicle, other than a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles who is the lessor of a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease providing for the use of the motor vehicle by the lessee for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(iii) A person who has the immediate right of possession of a motor vehicle under an installment sale contract.

(h) "Registrant" does not include a person engaged in the business of leasing motor vehicles who is the lessor of a motor vehicle pursuant to a lease providing for the use of the motor vehicle by the lessee for a period that is greater than 30 days.

(3) Security may be provided under a policy issued by an insurer duly authorized to transact business in this state which affords insurance for the payment of benefits described in subsection (1). A policy of insurance represented or sold as providing security shall be deemed to provide insurance for the payment of the benefits.

(4) Security required by subsection (1) may be provided by any other method approved by the secretary of state as affording security equivalent to that afforded by a policy of insurance, if proof of the security is filed and continuously maintained with the secretary of state throughout the period the motor vehicle is driven or moved upon a highway. The person filing the security has all the obligations and rights of an insurer under this chapter. When the context permits, "insurer" as used in this chapter, includes any person filing the security as provided in this section.

History: Add. 1972, Act 294, Eff. Mar. 30, 1973 ;--Am. 1975, Act 329, Eff. Mar. 31, 1976 ;--Am. 1977, Act 54, Imd. Eff. July 6, 1977 ;--Am. 1980, Act 445, Imd. Eff. Jan. 15, 1981 ;--Am. 1984, Act 84, Imd. Eff. Apr. 19, 1984 ;--Am. 1987, Act 168, Imd. Eff. Nov. 9, 1987 ;--Am. 1988, Act 126, Imd. Eff. May 23, 1988 .

Constitutionality: Subsection (1) of this section is unconstitutional but subsection (2) does not violate the due process and equal protection clauses. Shavers v. Attorney General, 402 Mich. 554, 267 N.W.2d 72 (1978).

Compiler's Note: Act 143 of 1993, which amended this section, was submitted to the people by referendum petition (as Proposal C) and rejected by a majority of the votes cast at the November 8, 1994, general election.

Popular Name: Act 218

Popular Name: Essential Insurance

Popular Name: No-Fault Insurance

500.3101a Providing certificates of insurance to policyholder; filing copy with secretary of state; vehicle identification number as proof of vehicle insurance; prohibited acts; misdemeanor; penalty.

Sec. 3101a. (1) An insurer, in conjunction with the issuance of an automobile insurance policy, as defined in section 3303, shall provide 2 certificates of insurance for each insured vehicle. The insurer shall mark 1 of the certificates as the secretary of state's copy, which copy, except as otherwise provided in subsection (2), shall be filed with the secretary of state by the policyholder upon application for a vehicle registration. The secretary of state shall not maintain the certificate of insurance received under this subsection on file.

(2) The secretary of state shall accept as proof of vehicle insurance a transmission, in the format required by the secretary of state, of the insured vehicle's vehicle identification number. Vehicle identification numbers received by the secretary of state under this subsection are confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person except pursuant to an order by a court of competent jurisdiction in connection with a claim or fraud investigation or prosecution. The transmission to the secretary of state of a vehicle identification number is proof of insurance to the secretary of state for motor vehicle registration purposes only and is not evidence that a policy of insurance actually exists between an insurer and an individual.

(3) A person who supplies false information to the secretary of state under this section or who issues or uses an altered, fraudulent, or counterfeit certificate of insurance is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

History: Add. 1980, Act 461, Eff. Apr. 1, 1981 ;--Am. 1995, Act 288, Imd. Eff. Jan. 9, 1996 ;--Am. 1996, Act 456, Imd. Eff. Dec. 23, 1996 ..

Compiler's Note: Act 143 of 1993, which amended this section, was submitted to the people by referendum petition (as Proposal C) and rejected by a majority of the votes cast at the November 8, 1994, general election.

Popular Name: Act 218

Popular Name: Essential Insurance

Popular Name: No-Fault Insurance