What Happens In A No-Fault Accident: What You Need To Know
In Michigan, if you happen to be injured in a car accident, your No-Fault auto insurance company will pay your medical bills and lost wages, property damage and replacement services regardless of who caused the crash. You can still sue the at-fault driver for your injuries, pain and suffering, and any excess economic losses.
However, if your No-Fault benefits like medical bills and lost wages exceed the PIP coverage levels of your own auto insurance policy, then you can also sue the at-fault driver who happened to cause the car accident for No-Fault benefits that exceed the applicable PIP coverage.
You can also bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your injuries and pain and suffering. Under Michigan’s auto No-Fault law, you will be required to show that the other driver was at-fault and that your injuries have affected your general ability to lead your normal life.
What is a No-Fault state?
A No-Fault state is one where a person who happens to be injured in a car accident gets his or her medical bills paid, and lost wages reimbursed regardless of who was at-fault in causing the crash. In a No-Fault state, the insurance company for the injured person pays certain benefits, not the at-fault driver’s insurer.
In what are called “pure” tort liability states, a car accident victim can essentially sue for all of his or her losses from a car accident. This includes medical bills and lost wages. The important difference is that to recover this in a pure tort liability state, you must first prove that the other driver was at-fault for causing the car accident.
List of No-Fault states
There are 12 U.S. states and Puerto Rico where No-Fault auto insurance is required for drivers:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- Is Michigan a No-Fault state?
Michigan has been a No-Fault state since 1973. Lawmakers intended for the law to eliminate “the long payment delays, inequitable payment structure, and high legal costs inherent in the tort (or ‘fault’) liability system” that existed in Michigan prior to 1973. That is what its supporters say at least.
What is No-Fault Insurance in Michigan?
When you happen to get injured in a car accident in Michigan, No-Fault insurance will help you pay for your medical bills and reimburse you for wages you lost if you could not return to work. These are called PIP benefits or No-Fault benefits, and they are paid by your own auto insurance company.
In a No-Fault state like Michigan, it also does not matter who happens to be at-fault for causing the car accident. These insurance benefits are paid regardless of fault and regardless of who causes the crash, which is why these states are called “No-Fault.”
What does No-Fault insurance cover in Michigan?
Your No-Fault insurance will help cover your: (1) medical bills; (2) lost wages; (3) medical transportation expenses for traveling to and from doctor and medical appointments; (4) household replacement services; and (5) attendant care services.
The amount of coverage that you will receive from No-Fault insurance depends on the level of PIP coverage that was selected in the policy that you are claiming insurance benefits under.
The No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level that applies in Michigan can be unlimited with no cap on medical coverage, $500,000, $250,000 or $50,000 if the named insured on the policy receives Medicaid.
Is No-Fault insurance mandatory in Michigan?
No-Fault insurance is mandatory in Michigan. Drivers who fail to maintain a valid auto insurance policy on their vehicle are guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined $200-$500. They will also be disqualified from suing for pain and suffering compensation and No-Fault benefits.
What is personal injury protection (PIP) insurance in Michigan?
When a person has been injured in a car accident in Michigan, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will help them pay for their medical bills. It will also help them financially by paying for some of the wages the person lost if his or her injuries kept him or her from returning to work.
What does personal injury protection (PIP) insurance cover in Michigan?
When a person happens to be injured in a Michigan car accident, No-Fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover medical bills, lost wages, and household replacement services. In the event of a fatal crash, it also covers survivor’s loss benefits.
What is a No-Fault accident?
In Michigan, if a person happens to be injured in a car accident, their No-Fault insurance pays the medical bills, lost wages, replacement services and property damage regardless of who caused the crash. The injured person doesn’t have to sue the other driver or prove who was at-fault to get these benefits.
What happens after a no-fault accident in Michigan?
The at-fault driver must stop at the scene, help secure medical aid for anyone injured, and provide their driver’s license and insurance information. If you were injured, report all of your injuries to the first responders and doctors at the hospital ER.
How to file a No-Fault insurance claim in Michigan
If you happen to be in a car accident in Michigan, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year of your crash. If you do not file the application on time, you will be barred forever from claiming or suing for No-Fault benefits.
The responsible auto insurer will likely be your own or the insurance company for your spouse or a relative who lives with you. If no coverage is available through those sources, then you will have to file your application with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
Can I file a car accident lawsuit in a No-Fault state?
There are two main types of car accident lawsuits that can happen after a No-Fault accident in Michigan.
First, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation. Second, you may be able to sue your insurer if it refuses to or delays paying your No-Fault benefits.
To sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation, you will need to prove that his or her negligence caused the crash and that your resulting injuries have caused you to suffer a “serious impairment of body function,” meaning that your general ability to lead your normal life has been affected.
To sue your insurance company for unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits, you will need to file your lawsuit within one year of your claim being denied by your insurer.
Does your car insurance go up after an accident?
Your insurance company will likely charge you more after a car accident that was your fault. Insurance premiums are based on actuarial risk assessments, and causing a crash mathematically puts you at a higher risk to the insurance company to provide you insurance coverage.
What happens when you are in a No-Fault state and your are not at fault in causing a car Unfortunately, in most No-Fault states, there is no law stopping insurers from increasing premiums even after a not-at-fault crash where you did nothing wrong. As an auto No-Fault lawyer, this is probably the biggest complaint I hear from people, but without a specific prohibition against it, your insurance company can charge you more money for any reason at all, or for no reason at all. The best protection is to shop around and compare your quoted premiums to what other insurance companies will offer for similar coverage.
In Michigan, if you happen to be “substantially at-fault” in a car accident (i.e., “more than 50% of the cause of a crash”), then your No-fault insurance rates will almost certainly increase. (MCL 500.2111(3)(a); 500.2104(4))
However, as stated above, there is nothing in Michigan’s Insurance Code that prevents your auto insurance company from increasing your rates for a car accident where you were NOT at-fault.
How long do car accidents stay on your record in Michigan?
In general, car accidents in Michigan will stay on your driving record as follows: points on your driver’s license, which will remain there for two years; and/or convictions on your driving record which will remain there for a minimum of seven years.
As stated above those are the general rules but there are several factors that determine if the crash goes on your record and how long it will be there. If you are not at-fault in causing the crash, it will not appear on your driving record.
However, if you were you ticketed and convicted of violating the Michigan Vehicle Code (and/or determined to have committed a “civil infraction”), the crash will appear on your driving record. The key is what your conviction or civil infraction is for because the length of time it stays on your driving record will vary based on how serious the underlying conviction or civil infraction was for.
Want to know more about what happens in a No-Fault accident in Michigan? Call for a
free consultation with a Michigan Auto Law attorney now
If you or a loved one happens to be injured in a car accident in Michigan and you have questions about your legal rights to No-Fault insurance benefits, pain and suffering compensation and economic damages, you can speak to an experienced No-Fault accident lawyer at 574-347-4337.
Contact The no-fault Michigan car accident attorneys at Lockwood Legal Group, LLC by email, or call us today for a free consultation.
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