The most important things you need to do after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan are: (1) stop at the crash scene; (2) exchange information with the other drivers; (3) assist the injured with securing medical aid; (4) report your injuries to medical care providers; and (5) take pictures of the scene and vehicle damage.
What to do after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan
After a not at-fault car accident in Michigan- meaning the other driver is at-fault for causing the crash -you must: (1) stop so you are not charged with leaving the scene of a crash; (2) exchange license and insurance information with the other drivers and help secure medical aid for them; (3) report all of your injuries to first responders and emergency room doctors and nurses.
You will also want to do the following after being injured in an automobile crash in Michigan: (1) gather driver’s license, insurance and registration information from the other driver; (2) consider taking pictures of the crash scene, vehicle damage, the license plate of the vehicle that caused the car crash and of any people present; and (3) do not agree to statements or sign a liability release from the insurance company until you have talked to a lawyer.
Rights to pain and suffering compensation after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan
When you have been injured in a not at-fault car accident in Michigan you may be able to recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault or negligent driver who caused the crash, if you can show your injuries caused you to suffer a “serious impairment of body function.”
Michigan law defines a “serious impairment of body function” as an impairment of an important body function that affects a person’s “general ability” to “general ability to lead his or her normal life.” (MCL 500.3135(5))
This is Michigan’s legal tort threshold which all people injured in car accidents in this state must first meet in order to bring a lawsuit and sue an at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation.
Rights to Michigan No-Fault PIP Benefits
In Michigan, whether a person is at-fault for causing an auto accident or whether a person is injured in a not at-fault car accident does not affect whether the person is entitled to recover No-Fault PIP benefits. Michigan law provides that No-Fault benefits must be paid out “without regard to fault.” (MCL 500.3105(2))
To trigger your right to recover No-Fault benefits to pay for medical bills and lost wages (if your injuries disable you from working), then you must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance within one (1) year of your car accident.
The application is also called the “written notice of injury” and the responsible auto insurance company will be your insurer or the insurer of your spouse or a relative who lives with you. If coverage isn’t available through those sources, then your application will need to be filed with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
Filing your application on time is essential because if your application is late – or not filed at all – then you will lose all of your rights to No-Fault benefits. You will be barred from filing a claim and from filing a lawsuit.
Rights to compensation for vehicle damage after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan
You can use the Michigan mini tort to sue for vehicle repair costs after your car or truck was damaged in a not at-fault accident. The mini tort law allows the not at-fault driver or vehicle owner to sue the at-fault driver for up to $3,000 in damages that are not otherwise covered by insurance.
If the at-fault driver or his or her auto insurance company (in the event that the at-fault driver purchased mini tort coverage which is also known as “limited property damage” coverage) refuses to pay your mini tort claim, then you will still have the ability to sue in Small Claims Court for vehicle damage.
How does Michigan’s No-Fault Law affect my claim?
Michigan’s No-Fault law requires that No-Fault insurance benefits are paid “without regard to fault.” That means that whether you are at-fault in causing the motor vehicle crash or if you were not at-fault and injured due to the negligence of another driver, you can recover auto No-Fault insurance benefits.
However, Michigan’s auto accident threshold law will still require you to first prove a “serious impairment of body function” in order to be able to sue for pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver (although in most instances, a monetary recovery comes from the insurance company of the at-fault driver).
Do I need a lawyer if I’m involved in a car accident and not-at fault in Michigan
You are not required to hire a lawyer after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan. Hopefully, most people will not be seriously hurt or miss time from work. But there are instances where hiring a lawyer after a car accident is recommended. If you have suffered very serious injuries, the insurance industry’s own data shows that people who are hurt in car accidents who are represented by experienced car accident attorneys recover significantly more money in their settlements and their cases settle faster.
Also, if the auto insurance company and/or the negilgent driver who caused the crash are disputing liability or fighting you about paying the compensation and benefits you are legally entitled to, then you should consider hiring an experienced lawyer who can protect your legal rights and recover compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered.
A lawyer who specializes in helping automobile injury victims can also help to ensure you recover the No-Fault PIP benefits your own No-Fault auto insurance company is legally obligated to pay if you’ve been injured, have missed work, and have medical bills incurred as a result of the crash.
How to choose the best car accident lawyer?
The best lawyer for you after being injured in a car accident is one who: (1) specializes in car accident cases; (2) has a track record of million-dollar verdicts and settlements; (3) treats clients with compassion, care and respect; (4) returns phone calls; and (5) receives favorable reviews from past clients.
Injured in a car accident in Michigan and you weren’t at fault? Contact a Michigan Auto Law attorney now
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries after a not at-fault car accident in Michigan and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced auto accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.