Everyone should be familiar with the auto accident laws in Michigan. With Michigan’s no-fault insurance system and the comparative negligence rules surrounding a car accident, Michigan auto accident laws may be difficult to understand. Michigan car accident lawyer Marc J. Shefman provides the basics of Michigan auto accident law in this article.
Basic Auto Accident Statutes
The following are the basic statutes governing auto accidents in the State of Michigan. A Michigan car accident lawyer like Marc J. Shefman can provide a more detailed explanation.
- Statute of Limitations – 3 years for most personal injury and property damage lawsuits ( 600.5805)
- Limits on Damages – A $280,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice and product liability cases, except for more serious injuries where the cap is $500,000 ( 600.1483); there is a $1000 cap on vehicle damage claims (Sec. 500.3135)
- Other Limits – Michigan’s no-fault system requires filing an insurance claim before pursuing legal damages; the modified comparative negligence fault system may prevent or diminish non-economic damages and vehicle damages ( 500.3135)
Michigan No-Fault and Comparative Negligence Statutes
The State of Michigan follows a “no-fault” system for car accidents. The basic explanation of the no-fault system is that anyone seeking compensation after an auto accident is not required to prove who was at fault before collecting insurance benefits. These insurance benefits are meant to cover medical expenses and lost wages due to the accident. Under Michigan law, automotive insurance covers these expenses regardless of who is found to be at fault.
Michigan follows the “modified comparative negligence” rule to determine damages beyond those covered by the no-fault system. Modified comparative negligence means that if a driver was partially to blame for causing an accident, they may only recover damages if their negligence is not greater than that of the other party or parties. In addition, for any party found to be partly at fault, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that they were at fault. In Michigan, these rules apply to non-economic damages like pain and suffering as well as vehicle damages.
Types of Damages
In Michigan, your car accident lawyer can help you with a claim for two types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages would be specific costs incurred by the injured party as a result of their injury or damage to property. Economic damages can include:
- Car repairs or replacement
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
Non-economic damages are more abstract and can include:
- Loss of affection or companionship
- Physical pain
Limits on Damages
Most damages stemming from car accidents are not limited in Michigan. But, a cap does apply to non-economic damages stemming from selected medical malpractice and product liability cases. Also, if insurance does not pay for all your vehicle repair costs, you may file a claim against the other party, but only up to $1000. Accident victims have three years from the date of the accident to obtain a car accident lawyer and file a suit.
Marc J. Shefman – Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
Understanding Michigan’s no-fault insurance system and the comparative negligence rules that govern car accident claims can be a daunting task. Marc Shefman is an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer who can explain the laws to you and assist with winning your claim in Metro Detroit, including Oakland, Lapeer, Livingston, St. Clair, Macomb, and Wayne, Genesee, and Washtenaw Counties. Call (248) 298-3003 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.