How To File a Mini Tort Claim in Michigan
Our car accident lawyers give you a step-by-step guide on how to file a mini tort claim in Michigan
Every driver needs to know how to file a mini tort claim in Michigan. This is very important because if your car is ever damaged in a Michigan car accident, the mini tort law allows you to seek money damages from the at-fault driver to help pay your repair costs.
The good news is you do not need to hire a lawyer to file a mini tort claim in Michigan.
Currently, the mini tort maximum recovery limit is $1,000. This will increase to $3,000 for car accidents that occur after July 1, 2020. (MCL 500.3135(3)(e))
For drivers who do have collision coverage, the mini tort will likely cover the deductible. For drivers without collision coverage, the mini tort will be the only source of recovery to pay for vehicle damage car repairs.
Below we will review everything that drivers need to know about how to file a mini tort claim in Michigan.
It is important to note that the mini tort law only covers vehicle damage. If you are injured from your car accident, you can visit our No-Fault law resource center to read about the PIP insurance benefits that you are now entitled to from your own insurance company. You can also read about how to collect compensation for your injuries and your pain and suffering from the person who caused the car accident you were involved in.
How To File A Mini Tort Claim in Michigan in 5 Easy Steps
- Obtain necessary information from the at-fault driver who caused the accident
- Get a copy of the police report which is also called a “UD-10” and/or “Traffic Crash Report”
- Get an estimate of what it will cost to repair the damage to your car
- Obtain a copy of the Declarations Page from your auto insurance policy
- Notify the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company of your claim
Below I will go into detail about each of these 5 steps on how to file a mini tort claim in Michigan.
What necessary information from the at-fault driver must you get for your claim?
Making sure you obtain the necessary information from the at-fault driver is crucial to being able to file a mini tort claim successfully and recover money to pay for your car’s accident-related vehicle damage.
To file a mini tort claim in Michigan the law requires the at-fault driver to provide you with:
- His or her name and address
- Name and address of the owner of the vehicle
- The registration number of the vehicle
- He or she must “exhibit” his or her driver’s license to you (MCL 257.618(1); 257.619(a) and (b)
To file a mini tort claim in Michigan you should obtain the following insurance information from the at-fault driver:
- Name of his or her auto insurance company
- Name of the auto insurance company covering the vehicle
- Policy number for the policy covering the vehicle that was involved in the accident
- Name of the at-fault driver’s insurance agent (including phone number)
With your cell phone camera, I also strongly recommend that you take pictures of:
- The accident scene
- Damage to your car (include your license plate where possible in the photo so it can be confirmed that you are the registered/titled owner of the vehicle)
- The at-fault driver’s proof of auto insurance card
- The at-fault driver’s driver’s license
- The license plate of the vehicle that the at-fault driver was driving
Why is it so important to get a copy of the police report from your car accident?
The police report (or UD-10 or Traffic Crash Report) will hopefully verify and confirm the personal and insurance information that the at-fault driver provided to you at the scene.
Additionally, the police report will indicate whether the at-fault driver received a ticket. In instances where no ticket was issued, the police report’s “narrative” section and diagrams may be helpful in proving that the other driver was at-fault in causing the crash.
“Fault” is an important issue with the mini tort for three reasons:
- The other driver in the car accident that resulted in damage to your vehicle must have been at-fault in causing the crash in order for you to be able to file a mini tort claim against him or her.
- Damages under the mini tort are “assessed on the basis of comparative fault,” which means that if you were 25% at-fault in contributing to the crash, then the amount you recover under the mini tort will be reduced by 25%. (MCL 500.3135(3)(e) and (4)(a))
- To file a mini tort claim in Michigan you have to be “less than 50% at fault” in causing the accident, or you will be disqualified from filing and pursuing a claim.
Getting an estimate for vehicle damage repairs
You can go to any collision car repair body shop of your choice to get an estimate of what it will cost to repair your car accident-related vehicle damage.
You do not have to use the body shop recommended to you by the claims adjuster from your own insurance company (and there are some good reasons why you shouldn’t). You also obviously do not need to use the body shop recommended to you by the at-fault driver’s insurance company if they recommend a collision shop to you.
Remember that the mini tort will only cover vehicle damages up to $1,000 for accidents that occurred before July 2, 2020. For car accidents occurring on or after July 2, 2020, the mini tort maximum coverage amount will increase to $3,000.
Vehicle damage repair costs that exceed the mini tort maximum recovery amount will have to be covered by a driver or owner’s collision coverage or paid for out-of-pocket by the driver or owner.
Why do you need a copy of your auto insurance policy’s Declarations Page?
The Declarations Page – or “dec page” or “dec sheet” – of your auto insurance policy lists the coverage you have on your vehicle as well as the coverage dates and, thus, proves that you were covered by a valid No-Fault auto insurance policy at the time of the car accident that resulted in damage to your vehicle.
This is crucial because if you were “uninsured” at the time of the car accident, then you will be unable to file a mini tort claim in Michigan. (MCL 500.3135(4)(e))
Your declarations page will also show whether or not you had collision coverage. This is significant because when paying out on the claim, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company will want to make the payment to the named-insured (the person to whom the insurance policy is written) when there is a collision deductible. But when there is no collision coverage, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company will make the mini tort payment out to the vehicle’s owner.
Notifying the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company of your claim
Once you have completed all the previous steps you are ready to notify the at fault driver’s auto insurance company of your claim to request payment. In order to file a mini tort claim in Michigan successfully it’s important you provide your supporting documents and evidence to collect your payment.
It’s important to remember that your claim is limited to the lesser of the applicable mini tort maximum recovery amount of $1,000 for accidents before July 2, 2020 ($3,000 for accidents on or after July 2, 2020) or the estimate of the cost for repairing your vehicle damage or your collision coverage deductible.
To help you with this process, we have drafted a Michigan mini tort sample letter that you can use as a guide for composing the letter that you will send to the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.
Michigan Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Collect Your Benefits
Michigan Auto Law is the state’s largest law firm practicing exclusively in car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases. We have helped injury victims throughout Michigan for more than 50 years and three generations. Our lawyers understand that dealing with Michigan No-Fault insurance laws can be challenging, and we can help you file a mini tort claim to ensure you collect what is owed to you along with other important insurance benefits. To speak with a mini tort attorney directly, please call (800) 777-0028 or fill out our consultation form.