Learn which state’s laws apply and how you can protect yourself after an out- of-state crash
Last week, I wrote about what happens when an out of state resident is injured in the state of Michigan, specifically, about a Florida resident who was injured in a car accident Michigan. As an accident attorney, I often get questions from people injured in car crashes in different states.
Today, I’d like to address the inverse scenario: What happens when a Michigan resident is injured in a car accident in another state?
Q. I live in Michigan, but while vacationing in Florida, I was in a wreck. I hurt my back and am unable to work because of my injury. Wondering which state’s laws apply to my accident, Michigan or Florida?
A. Many Michigan residents vacationing in Florida and other states are involved in car accidents. We’re called “snowbirds” for a reason, after all. But the good news is, you’re still covered by the Michigan No Fault Law if you live in Michigan but are hurt in a car accident in another state. MCL 500.3111 is a Michigan No Fault statute defining coverage for car accidents occurring outside of Michigan. For any motor vehicle accident occurring outside of Michigan, an auto accident victim is still entitled to the same No-Fault benefits payable, as long as the auto accident occurs within the U.S., its territories or even in Canada.
I’ve litigated cases in other states involving Michigan residents, and even in pure tort states, I often advise my clients to elect to file for Michigan No Fault benefits. Every Michigan driver has these benefits, also called PIP benefits or Personal Injury Protection benefits. They include reimbursement of necessary medical expenses for life, lost wages for up to three years, attendant care nursing services and replacement services, such as help around the house and child care. It also includes medical mileage.
Michigan No Fault insurance benefits are available not only to the insured policy holder involved in an accident, but also to a spouse, any relative who lives in the same household or any occupant of an automobile that is involved in the automobile accident. Therefore, an injured person need not be the driver of a car or truck or be listed under an insurance policy to receive No Fault benefits (This also applies to automobile accidents that occur in Michigan).
However, if you want to sue for pain and suffering, the law of the location of the car accident will almost always apply. So you would need to file a lawsuit according to Florida law. The good news here is that no state has a threshold law as tough as Michigan’s is if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation.
Feel free to call us at Michigan Auto Law for free advice.