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How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Michigan?

November 6, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Learn about the statute of limitations for car accidents in Michigan

Today I’d like to share the answer to the most common question I receive from lawyers in other states who call me when they have a client injured in a Michigan car accident:

“How long does someone injured in a car accident have to file a lawsuit in Michigan?”

Here’s a common scenario:

“I was in a minor fender bender over a month ago. Do I still have time to file a car accident claim?”

Unfortunately, the correct answer is a bit more complicated. I can’t just give a good one- word answer (I am a lawyer after all).

The reason there is no one-word answer is because Michigan is a unique state for car accident victims. They don’t have just one case, as people injured in car accidents have in most other states. In Michigan, they actually have 3 potential cases after a car accident.

One year statute of limitations for a No Fault PIP claim: In Michigan, car crash victims have a very strict one year (with almost no legal exceptions) to file a lawsuit against their own No Fault insurance company for any unpaid and overdue No Fault insurance benefits. A No Fault lawsuit is also called a first-party lawsuit. You also have a very strict one year from the date of your car accident to file an application for No Fault benefits with your own insurance company.

Under Michigan law, No Fault insurance benefits include:

  • Reimbursement for all necessary medical care and mileage related to the injuries
  • Up to 85% of your lost wages for up to three years if you are too injured to return to work
  • Attendant care, which is also known as in-home nursing services
  • Replacement services of up to $20 a day, which is help with chores, yard work and childcare

Three year statute of limitations for a pain and suffering claim: A crash victim has three years from the date of the accident to file a negligence lawsuit for pain and suffering damages against the wrongdoer whose negligence caused the accident and injuries. A pain and suffering lawsuit is also called a third-party lawsuit. Be very careful, however, because even though the statute of limitations is three years to file a third-party tort lawsuit after a car accident, if there is an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist case, which is a contract case under Michigan law, the statute of limitations could be shortened. Consult with an experienced insurance lawyer and read your insurance policy carefully to make sure you do not miss a contractually shortened statute of limitations.

Here are some helpful frequently asked questions about filing a pain and suffering lawsuit in Michigan after a car accident.

Three years for a Mini Tort vehicle damage claim: Additionally, a person has three years from the date of the auto accident to file a Mini Tort lawsuit pertaining to paying vehicle damage repair costs. Here’s more information about the Michigan Mini Tort,=.

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