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Car Accident Lawsuit Process In Michigan: What You Need To Know

May 9, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

The car accident lawsuit process in Michigan will potentially involve 3 types of cases, depending on which type of relief you are pursuing: (1) a case for your injuries and pain and suffering compensation; (2) a case for No-Fault PIP auto insurance benefits to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other PIP benefits; and (3) a mini tort case for vehicle damage repair costs.

What is the car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for pain and suffering cases?

The car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for recovering for your injuries and for pain and suffering compensation includes: (1) proving the other driver was at-fault (i.e., negligent) for causing the car crash; and (2) showing that your injuries have caused you to suffer a serious impairment of body function, which is a threshold test required under Michigan law for bringing a lawsuit to recover against an at-fault driver.

“Serious impairment of body function” is the tort-threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault insurance law, which means it is the legal standard that a crash victim must prove in order to sue for and collect pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver. (MCL 500.3135(1), (2), (3)(b))

Compensation from the at-fault driver for your pain and suffering covers the following: (1) physical pain and suffering; (2) mental anguish; (3) fright and shock; (4) denial of social pleasure and enjoyments; (5) embarrassment, humiliation or mortification; and (6) shame, mental pain and anxiety.

In your case against an at-fault driver, you can also recover for “excess” No-Fault benefits over and above the PIP cap or to cover the cost of future medical bills and economic loss. Recovery for these economic damages does not require proof of a “serious impairment of body function” – unless the crash victim who is claiming them is a non-Michigan resident. (MCL 500.3135(3)(d))

The car accident lawsuit process in Michigan gives you three (3) years from the date of your crash to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation, excess medical benefits and excess economic loss. (MCL 600.5805(2))

You only have one year to sue for unpaid, overdue and incurred No-Fault insurance PIP benefits that are otherwise payable under the limits of the auto No-Fault policy through which you are claiming benefits.

What is the car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for No-Fault benefits cases?

The car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for cases to recover No-Fault benefits includes: (1) filing an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible insurance company within one (1) year of your crash; (2) submitting necessary documentation; and (3) suing if your insurer cuts off your benefits.

Michigan No-Fault auto insurance PIP benefits are a critical lifeline for victims after an automobile crash because they help pay for victims’ medical expenses, lost wages, medical mileage (transportation expenses for traveling to and from doctor and medical appointments), household replacement services and attendant care services.

However, for the car accident lawsuit process to begin in order to be entitled to recover No-Fault benefits, a crash victim must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)) Failure to file the application on time – within ONE YEAR from the date of the automobile crash – will forever disqualify the victim from claiming and recovering the benefits that he or she might have otherwise been legally entitled to.

The documentation that you may need to submit to your insurance company in support of your No-Fault benefits claim may pertain to any or all of the above benefits, especially statements showing your medical mileage, attendant care that has been provided to you, and household replacement services that have been performed for you.

When and if your insurance company denies your claim or cuts off your benefits, your lawsuit for unpaid, overdue No-Fault insurance benefits must be filed within one (1) year from the date that the unpaid medical bill, wage loss, medical mileage, replacement service or attendant service was incurred. (MCL 500.3145(2))

The one-year deadline for suing for unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits “is tolled from the date of a specific claim for payment of the benefits until the date the insurer formally denies the claim.” (MCL 500.3145(3))

If your lawsuit is not filed within the one-year time period, then the bill for the medical care or services you were provided will be time-barred and you will lose all rights to payment and/or reimbursement for the overdue benefits.

What is the car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for vehicle damage cases?

The car accident lawsuit process in Michigan for vehicle damage cases involves filing a mini tort claim with the auto insurance company for the at-fault driver whose negligence resulted in damage to your car or truck. It may also involve filing a mini tort lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Small Claims Court.

The car accident lawsuit process for a Michigan mini tort claim will allow you to recover up to $3,000 to cover vehicle damage repair costs from the at-fault driver who damaged your car or truck.

Normally, these claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.

However, if he or does not carry mini tort coverage (which is also known as “limited property damage coverage”), then you will have to pursue the claim directly with the at-fault driver to collect your mini tort benefits.

If the at-fault driver and/or his or her auto insurance company refuse to pay your mini tort claim, then you will have to file a mini tort lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Small Claims Court.

You have three (3) years after the date of the crash to file your mini tort lawsuit. (MCL 600.5805(2))

Call the automobile crash attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you were injured in an automobile crash and you have questions about the car accident lawsuit process in Michigan, your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can speak to an experienced lawyer at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation.

An attorney can help from Michigan Auto Law can help you avoid costly mistakes that could destroy your case and prevent you from recovering the compensation and benefits you are legally entitled to.

You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

Car Accident Lawsuit Process In Michigan: What You Need To Know

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