Auto accidents can happen to anyone, and they can be overwhelming, traumatic, and even devastating. Unfortunately, the process of trying to wrangle insurance coverage and compensation for damages can be almost as bad as the accident itself (and in some cases, worse).
Each state has its own unique laws that govern car accident personal injury cases. In Michigan, these laws have a few particularities that are essential to know for anyone trying to pursue an auto accident personal injury claim.
The Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Suits in Michigan is Three Years. A “statute of limitations” is essentially a time limit for pursuing a specific sort of lawsuit. In Michigan’s Civil Court System, the statute of limitations for all personal injury lawsuits (including auto accident personal injury lawsuits) is three years. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident/injury-event to file a personal injury lawsuit.
In the case of a wrongful death lawsuit (i.e., if someone died as a result of the accident, and their family is suing for damages), the statute of limitations is still three years, but the “clock” starts from the date of the person’s death rather than the date of their injury.
Notably, you will probably have less than three years to file a claim with your insurance company (or the other driver’s insurance company). The statute of limitations only applies to court lawsuits. It does not apply to car insurance claims and proceedings. Each insurance company has their own policy on how long you have after an accident to file a claim. Almost all of them require you to file claims or give the company notice within a certain time frame, which is usually somewhere between 1-2 days and a few weeks.
Michigan has “Modified Comparative Negligence”: Michigan personal injury claims are affected by the percentage of fault for the accident assigned to each party. The jury in these cases decides both the percentage of fault in the accident held by each party, and the ultimate outcome of the case.
This translates to two major things in a Michigan auto accident personal injury case. The first is that the damages a person can collect are affected by the percentage of fault they are found to have in the accident. For instance, if you were seriously injured in a car accident but found to be 25% at-fault, your potential damages would be reduced by 25%.
The second is that if you are found to be 50% or more at-fault, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault, and you will be barred from suing for non-economic damages (which are subjective losses such as pain and suffering).
Michigan is a “No-Fault State”: Michigan is a “no-fault” car insurance state. This means that if you are in a car accident in Michigan, your car insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required to cover your medical costs, wages lost due to the injury, and $20/day for someone to help you with things you can no longer do due to the accident. The insurance company has to cover these costs regardless of who was at-fault for the accident. Benefits are capped at a certain amount (which changes each year).
No-fault insurance coverage also means that your car insurance will cover certain amounts of damages that you are found liable for in auto-based personal injury cases. That is, if you are found to be at-fault for someone else’s’ injuries, your insurance will cover a certain percentage of the damages awarded to them.
Importantly, within the no-fault/PIP system, there is no compensation for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering). In order for a person to directly sue an at-fault party for those damages, the case must meet certain qualifications. Specifically, it has to meet at least one of the following:
If you or a loved one is pursuing an auto accident personal injury claim in Macomb County, Michigan, your best bet is to consult with an experienced, knowledgeable auto accident personal injury attorney, and Matthew Bedikian is the personal injury attorney to call. Attorney Bedikian specializes in auto accident personal injury, and will go above and beyond to fight for the best possible outcomes for his clients. Don’t wait: call Attorney Matthew Bedikian and the Michigan Advocacy Center at (248) 266-7600 for a free consultation on your case today.