Have you been injured? you may have a case. GET A FREE CONSULTATION

Civil Lawsuit For Car Accident In Michigan: Here’s What To Know

May 24, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan

A civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan allows someone injured by an at-fault, negligent driver to hold that driver accountable for the pain and suffering and economic losses he or she has caused from the crash.

A separate civil lawsuit allows a crash victim to recover unpaid or overdue No-Fault PIP benefits from the auto insurance company responsible for providing No-Fault benefits.

Can someone file a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan?

A crash victim can file a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan to recover pain and suffering compensation and economic losses from the at-fault driver. A mini tort lawsuit for vehicle damage can also be filed against the at-fault driver. Finally, a No-Fault lawsuit against an insurer allows recovery for unpaid PIP benefits.

Suing for pain and suffering compensation

You can sue the at-fault driver who injured you for pain and suffering compensation in a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan. You must be able to prove that: (1) the at-fault driver was 50% or more at fault for the crash; and (2) your injuries resulted in a “serious impairment of body function.”

“Serious impairment of body function” is the tort-threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault insurance law that a person must first meet in order to collect non-economic loss damages from an auto accident. (MCL 500.3135(1), (2), (3)(b) and (5))

This means that in order for an auto accident victim like yourself to have the legal right to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation, a crash victim must pass this threshold level test showing that his or her accident-related injuries have caused him or her to suffer a “serious impairment of body function.”

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help to document and prove that a person has suffered a serious impairment of body function so they can bring a lawsuit for injuries from an automobile crash.

To be able to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation, your civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan must be filed within three (3) years from the date of your auto accident. (MCL 600.5805(2))

Suing for wrongful death

If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you and your family may be able to sue the at-fault driver for wrongful death in a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan. This allows recovery for your family’s loss of your loved one’s financial support and companionship.

The family members who may be eligible to recover damages for wrongful death lawsuit after an automobile crash include: (1) the spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of your deceased loved one; (2) children of your loved one’s spouse; (3) “devisees” under your loved one’s will.

Michigan’s wrongful death act requires that the lawsuit for an automobile crash on behalf of your loved one must be brought by the personal representative of your loved one’s estate.

There is no specific wrongful death statute of limitations. Generally, the 3-year statute of limitations for all personal injury claims applies, meaning that the lawsuit for an automobile crash in a wrongful death case must be filed within three (3) years of your loved one’s death.

Suing for No-Fault PIP benefits

You can sue for No-Fault PIP benefits in a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan if the auto insurance company has not paid your benefits or if your No-Fault benefits are overdue. The No-Fault law requires auto insurers to pay benefits to auto accident victims within 30 days of receiving proof that benefits are owed.

Michigan No-Fault auto insurance PIP benefits help auto accident victims pay for medical expenses, lost wages, medical mileage (transportation expenses for traveling to and from doctor and medical appointments), household replacement services and attendant care services.

To protect your rights to sue for unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits in a lawsuit after an automobile crash, it is critical that you 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 injured victim from claiming, recovering and/or suing for the benefits that he or she might have otherwise been legally entitled to.

When and if your insurance company refuses to pay your benefits or cuts off your benefits, you have one (1) year from the date that your unpaid medical bill, wage loss, medical mileage, replacement service or attendant service was incurred to file your civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan. (MCL 500.3145(2))

The one (1)-year deadline for suing “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))

Suing for vehicle damage repair costs

Suing the at-fault driver to recover vehicle damage repair costs in a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan is called a mini tort lawsuit. Under Michigan’s mini tort law, an auto accident victim can sue the at-fault driver who damaged his or her vehicle for up to $3,000.

Most of the time, a Michigan mini tort case can be resolved without a lawsuit being filed. Frequently, the victim will file his or her mini tort claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurer – or the driver personally – and a settlement will be reached.

However, if the at-fault driver does not carry mini tort coverage (which is also known as “limited property damage coverage”) or he or she or the insurance refuse to be held accountable and, thus, they refuse to pay on your mini tort claim, then you will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Small Claims Court to to collect your mini tort benefits.

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

Who do I sue in a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan?

You will sue the at-fault driver in your civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan if you are seeking to recover pain and suffering compensation, wrongful death damages, and/or vehicle damage repair costs. However, you will sue the responsible auto insurer if you are seeking payment of overdue No-Fault benefits.

How long does it take for a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan?

There are many factors that affect how long it can take to resolve a lawsuit for an automobile crash. The victim’s injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and whether liability is being contested play significant roles. But one of the most important factors from a victim’s perspective is his or her lawyer.

Not only can an experienced automobile crash attorney settle cases faster and for more money, but the insurance industry’s own research shows that an experienced attorney with a track record of success and a reputation for trying automobile crash cases can increase a settlement amount by up to 4x more than an unrepresented individual or even an attorney who does not specialize in auto accident litigation.

Injured in a crash and need help filing a civil lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan? Call the auto accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you were injured in an auto accident in Michigan and you need help filing a civil lawsuit, call now (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident lawyers. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.

Michigan Auto Law is Michigan’s largest and most successful law firm that specializes exclusively in helping people who have been injured in auto accidents.

Our secret? Our attorneys deliberately handle fewer cases than other personal injury law firms.  This allows us to focus more time and attention on our cases.

Unlike other law firms, our attorneys are never too busy to promptly return phone calls and answer questions. 

We have more than 2,000 5-Star reviews that reflect this care and attention to detail.

More importantly, this client-focused approach leads to better and faster settlements for our clients. Michigan Auto Law has recovered more million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts for motor vehicle accidents than any other lawyer or law firm in Michigan. We’ve also recovered the highest ever reported truck accident and car accident settlement in the state.

Call now so we can start making a real difference for you.

Civil Lawsuit For Car Accident In Michigan: Here\'s What To Know

[Community Guidelines]

Related Posts
Michigan intersections accident law: what you need to know
Michigan Intersection Accident Law: What You Need To Know
June 25, 2024
Detroit bus accident statistics
Detroit Bus Accident Statistics Show Bus Crashes On The Rise
June 11, 2024
Michigan Car Accident Red Light Law: Your Legal Rights Explained
Michigan Car Accident Red Light Law: Your Legal Rights Explained
May 30, 2024
2 Shares
Share
Tweet1
Share
Pin1
Email