If you are a Michigan resident injured in a car accident out of state, you may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver and No-Fault benefits from the responsible insurance company. Your own Michigan liability insurance helps provide protection if you cause an automobile crash in another state.
Knowing what your legal rights are in the event of an automobile crash in another state is crucial for Michigan residents who are injured in the crash, whether that means you are taking a road trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, or Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or to watch the Detroit Tigers play the Toronto Blue Jays play in Ontario, Canada.
It’s inevitable with travel that people who live in Michigan will also be involved in car accidents out of state. As a lawyer who speaks nationally on automobile crashes, I will share below the many ways you can recover if you are injured by a negligent driver, as well as a Michigan driver’s own No-Fault auto insurance will come into play with an automobile crash in another state.
To learn more, check out this video attorney Brandon Hewitt’s interview on WZZM 13 Grand Rapids:
Can I sue for my injuries and pain and suffering if I was injured in a car accident out of state?
You can bring a lawsuit and sue an at-fault driver for your injuries and pain and suffering compensation after being injured in a car accident out of state. Different states have different laws and tort thresholds, so the legal requirements for suing an at-fault driver who caused your automobile crash will be determined by the laws of the state in which your auto accident occurred.
Do Michigan No-Fault benefits apply to a car accident out of state?
No-Fault benefits under Michigan’s auto insurance law apply to automobile crashes in other non-resident states so long as the crash occurs “within the United States, its territories and possessions, or Canada.” (MCL 500.3111)
Who can recover Michigan No-Fault benefits after a car accident out of state?
After a car accident out of state, you can recover Michigan No-Fault PIP benefits if: (1) you were the named insured on a No-Fault policy; (2) you were the spouse or resident relative of a named insured; (3) you were a vehicle occupant and a Michigan resident; or (4) you were an occupant of a vehicle covered by Michigan No-Fault insurance. (MCL 500.3111)
There is a natural conflict that often arises for lawyers who often want to sue for medical bills and other economic losses that are also covered by Michigan No-Fault benefits. This is often because out-of-state lawyers don’t understand Michigan No-Fault, but it sadly can sometimes also be motivated by a lawyer’s desire to take a larger fee. This is a complicated issue that often will require a weighing of costs and benefits. It will also require an analysis of an individual’s PIP coverage, specifically whether it is an unlimited PIP policy or has a lower PIP cap amount. It is important to be aware that your No-Fault insurer will be able to recover dollar for dollar from any out-of-state tort recovery that duplicates benefits already recovered from No-Fault. Unfortunately many out-of-state personal injury lawyers who do not understand Michigan No-Fault get this wrong.
Can your No-Fault insurer put a lien on your pain and suffering settlement after an automobile crash in another state?
The Michigan auto insurance company that pays your No-Fault benefits after a car accident out of state can assert a lien on your third-party tort recovery against the at-fault driver, but only as to economic damages that cover medical bills, lost wages and other items that are covered by No-Fault.
Michigan’s No-Fault law provides the following explanation:
“A subtraction from or reimbursement for personal protection insurance benefits paid or payable under this chapter may be made only if recovery is realized on a tort claim arising from an accident that occurred outside this state . . . and may be made only to the extent that the recovery realized by the claimant is for damages for which the claimant has received or would otherwise be entitled to receive personal protection insurance benefits.” (MCL 500.3116(2))
To learn more about Michigan No-Fault liens on tort settlements for an automobile crash out of state, please check out our blog post about an auto insurer’s right of reimbursement for No-Fault benefits paid in connection with an automobile crash in another state.
How do Michigan residents pay for vehicle damage repair after a car accident out of state?
To pay for your vehicle damage after a car accident out of state, Michigan residents may need to sue the at-fault driver who caused the crash. It will depend on whether the law of the state where the auto accident occurred has a tort liability-based system that requires at-fault drivers to pay for the vehicle damage they cause.
If the applicable state law does not permit the at-fault driver to be sued or if the at-fault driver was uninsured, carries inadequate property damage coverage, or does not have the financial resources to pay for your vehicle damage repairs, then you may also have to file a claim under your own collision coverage.
However, the extent to which collision coverage will apply depends on whether you purchased a collision policy for your vehicle and the coverage terms under your policy. Collision coverage is considered optional coverage and is sold for an additional added premium by your insurance company.
What happens if you cause an automobile crash in another state that results in bodily injury?
If you are a Michigan resident who is at-fault in causing a car accident out of state “within the United States, its territories and possessions, or in Canada” that results in “bodily injury” or “death,” your Michigan residual liability insurance coverage will help pay for compensation that you may owe. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3009(1); 500.3131(1))
Your residual liability insurance – which is also referred to as bodily injury liability coverage – may help you to pay damages that the victim or victims of the accident are seeking for: (1) medical bills; (2) pain and suffering; and (3) lost wages.
It is important to remember that your residual liability insurance may only provide coverage that is “equivalent” to – but not more than – the minimum amount of bodily injury liability insurance coverage that is required by the law of the state in which the crash and injury occurred. (MCL 500.3131(1))
What happens if you cause an automobile crash in another state that results in property damage?
Your Michigan residual liability insurance will help you pay for “property damage” that you may owe if you are found to be at-fault for causing a car accident out of state and “within the United States, its territories and possessions, or in Canada.” (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3009(1); 500.3131(1))
However, your residual liability insurance may only provide coverage for “property damage” that matches – but does not exceed – the minimum amount of property damage liability insurance coverage that is required by the law of the state in which the crash and injury occurred. (MCL 500.3131(1))
Property protection insurance does not apply to an automobile crash in another state
Your No-Fault “property protection insurance,” which provides up to $1 million in coverage for “accidental damage to tangible property” such as safely parked vehicles, fences or trees, does not apply to automobile crashes “occurring outside the state.” (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3121(1) and (5); 500.3123(2))
Are you a Michigan resident who has been injured in a car accident out of state? Call a Michigan Auto Law attorney for a free consultation
If you or a loved one is a Michigan resident and was injured in a car accident out of state and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website. Our law firm has helped Michigan residents injured in automobile crashes in other states throughout the country, and our attorneys speak at legal seminars throughout the country teaching lawyers how to litigate automobile crashes from Michigan residents that occur in other states. Steven Gursten is a past-president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury and Truck Accident Litigation Group.