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How Is Fault Determined In A Car Accident?

January 10, 2023 by Steven M. Gursten

how is fault determined in a car accident?

In Michigan, there are many factors that determine fault in a car accident. It can be determined from the scene of the crash, such as the vehicle damage, video, or “black box” ECM data. Admissions, such as from the drivers’ statements, and independent eyewitness statements are also frequently relied upon. Most police officers investigating a crash will decide fault based on the traffic violations that occurred.

Evidence for determining fault in a car accident in Michigan

In Michigan, determining fault in a car accident will involve consideration of evidence gathered by the police at the crash scene: statements by drivers, passengers and witnesses; opinions by accident reconstruction experts; driving behavior; video recordings; and data from black boxes or event data recorders.

What are the legal reasons that someone may be considered to be at fault in a crash?

In Michigan, a driver may be determined to be at-fault for causing a car accident if he or she: (1) violates a state and/or local traffic law; (2) fails to use the ordinary care that a reasonably careful driver would use; and/or (3) rear-ends the victim’s vehicle. (Sources: M Civ JI 10.02; M Civ JI 12.01, 12.03 and 12.05; MCL 257.402(a))

How is fault determined in a rear-end car accident in Michigan?

In Michigan, the law determines who is at-fault in a rear-end car accident. It presumes that a driver who rear-ends another vehicle is “prima facie guilty of negligence” and therefore is responsible for causing the crash. (MCL 257.402(a))

What driving behaviors are considered when discovering fault in a crash?

The driving behaviors that most commonly play a role in deciding which driver was the negligent driver who cause the automobile crash include: (1) speeding; (2) driving too fast for conditions; (3) texting while driving; (4) distracted driving; (5) drunk driving; (6) drugged driving; (7) drowsy driving; and (8) disregarding traffic signals and signs. 

Does pain and suffering compensation depend on who is at-fault for causing the crash in Michigan?

In Michigan, it must be determined that the other driver was at-fault for causing the car accident in order for you to be able to sue the other driver in your crash for pain and suffering compensation, In Michigan, you must also show that your injuries caused you to suffer a “serious impairment of body function.”

Can you still get No-Fault benefits if you are at-fault in a crash in Michigan?

In Michigan, benefits under Michigan’s auto No-Fault law are provided to injured victims regardless of whether they are at-fault in causing a crash. (MCL 500.3105(2)) No-Fault benefits help crash victims pay for their medical bills and reimburse them for lost wages if they cannot work. 

To protect your right to recover No-Fault benefits after a car accident in Michigan, you 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))

It is important to file your application for No-Fault benefits on time because if you don’t, the auto insurance company will use this to deny your No-Fault PIP claim and refuse to pay any and all of the No-Fault benefits you would have otherwise been entitled to.

What will my compensation be if the other driver is at-fault for the crash?

There are many factors that will affect your pain and suffering compensation if the other driver is determined to be at-fault for causing the car accident in which you were hurt. One of the most important factors is the amount of liability insurance coverage the at-fault driver was carrying.

Drivers in Michigan are required by law to carry $250,000/$500,000, but they have the option “to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a) and (b), (5))  

However, if the vehicle being driven by the person who was discovered to be the negligent driver who caused the crash is an Uber, Lyft, a semi truck or commercial vehicle, then the liability insurance coverage limits that apply to your case may be considerably higher. 

Do you have questions about how fault is determined in your car accident? Michigan Auto Law can help

If you have questions about how fault is determined in your car accident in Michigan, you can call us toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. We will answer your questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages, auto No-Fault insurance PIP benefits, and settlements in cases like yours. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. You can also get help from an experienced injury attorney by visiting our contact page or chat feature on our website.

How Is Fault Determined In A Car Accident?

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