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3 steps to collecting your Mini Tort money in Michigan after a car accident

September 13, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

How to get up to $1,000 of your car’s vehicle damage covered under the state Mini Tort Law

Under the Michigan Mini Tort Law, you can recover up to $1,000 for vehicle damage from the driver who has caused vehicle damage to your car.

This is called a Mini Tort claim. And this is one of the most popular questions that I get as an insurance lawyer.

You do not need to hire a lawyer to get your Mini Tort money. It is actually quite easy.

Here is exactly how to recover your Mini Tort, in 3 easy steps:

Step 1. Gather the proper documents.

I recommend you start by gathering the following documents:

  • The police report or “UD-10” documenting your car accident, to show it actually happened.
  • Your own auto insurance policy declarations page, also known as a “dec sheet.” This is usually a one- or two-page synopsis of all of your auto insurance coverage (to show you have insurance). If you do not have insurance, you are barred by law from collecting your Mini Tort from an at-fault driver, even if you were completely innocent and now have to pay out of pocket.
  • At least one car damage repair estimate.
  • Photographs of vehicle damage. Include a shot of the car with your license plate, if possible.
  • A photocopy of your vehicle title.

Step 2: Find the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company

You will be sending these documents to the No Fault auto insurance company of the person who caused the car or truck wreck. You can usually find the at-fault driver’s insurance company listed on the police report or UD-10.

If the insurance company information is left blank, you can make copies, and send this information to the person who caused the vehicle damage when he hit your car, and request he or she turn it over to his or her own insurance company.

If there’s no auto insurance company or if the at-fault driver doesn’t turn this information over, you can proceed to file an action in small claims court against the at-fault driver. For more information, take a look at our blog post on how to litigate a Mini Tort claim in small claims court.

If the other driver has insurance, you usually will hear from them and get your money right away after you file.

Also, keep in mind if the other driver has no insurance, he or she is really out of luck. Without any Mini Tort protection, that other driver is now responsible for all of your vehicle damage, not just the first $1,000.

Step 3: Mail your documents with a letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company

Include your documents with a letter to the insurance company of the person who caused the accident, requesting the Mini Tort money for your car damage. In the letter, you should request the full mini-tort amount you’re owed.

How much you can recover from a Michigan Mini Tort claim depends on your percentage of fault in the wreck. For instance, if the car damage amounts to only $100 and the other driver is deemed 75% responsible for causing the wreck, that driver would pay $75. You would be responsible for the remaining $25 because you were 25% at-fault. In most wrecks, one person is usually 100% at fault.

Here’s a sample mini tort letter for your reference, and here is a book I wrote on how to collect your Mini Tort.

Related information:

Michigan Mini Tort FAQs

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