Michigan is a no-fault state for car accidents. This means that under Michigan law, after a car accident, drivers must file a claim with their own insurer under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP pays medical bills and partial lost wages following an accident, up to the policy limits.
Michigan’s PIP coverage is more extensive than most states. PIP reimburses lost wages up to three years after the date of the accident. Drivers can choose different levels of PIP coverage when purchasing a policy. Most motorists choose to purchase either $250,000 per person in protection, $500,000 per person in coverage, or unlimited PIP coverage. Some drivers with Medicaid or Medicare may opt for lower coverage amounts.
PIP pays for covered losses regardless of who defaulted. However, drivers are not compensated for things like pain and suffering.
If the injuries are severe or if someone dies, accident victims can go off the grid and file a personal injury claim against the driver at fault to get compensation for non-economic damages. They would have to show that their injuries meet the severity threshold to bring a civil lawsuit and that the other driver was negligent in causing the crash.
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Michigan Car Accident Comparative Negligence Rules
If multiple drivers share the blame for a car accident, Michigan law dictates when victims can file a claim against the other drivers who were partially at fault.
Specifically, a victim of an accident can only make a claim against the other driver if the victim was not more than 50% at fault for the collision. A collision victim who was 50% responsible for the crash can therefore still file a lawsuit to receive compensation. But an accident victim who is 51% at fault should not. However, a victim’s compensation is reduced if they have a shared debt. A driver who is 50% at fault and has $100,000 in damages can only recover $50,000 from the other driver.
The Michigan rule is called a modified comparative negligence rule. Some states have a pure comparative negligence rule and any victim can file a claim against the other motorist, even if the victim is 99% at fault. Other states apply complicit negligence rules and accident victims who are responsible for even 1% of their own injuries cannot claim compensation.