According to the Michigan Department of State Police, in the calendar year 2020, there were 245,232 vehicular crashes in the state, resulting in 60,986 injuries and 1,083 fatalities. In Wayne County, which includes Detroit and the metropolitan suburbs, 44,017 crashes resulted in 15,051 injuries and 252 deaths. Most of these crashes, both statewide and in the county, occurred on local streets.
You can be out and about to do some shopping or visit friends and someone could cut in front of you, causing your vehicle to crash into theirs. You’ve suffered an injury and your car is damaged. How do you cover your medical and other expenses, including lost wages if you are unable to work?
The first answer is that you have to start with your own insurance company and report the incident. This is what Michigan law requires, but in cases where your insurance doesn’t cover all your injury-related expenses and damages, you have the option of suing the at-fault driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Detroit, contact the Ratton Law Group PC. We have been fighting for the rights of the injured for over three decades, and we will fight for you.
Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. Under significant changes legislated and taking effect in 2019, 2020, and 2021, vehicle operators now have more choices in the coverage they wish to purchase under their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This covers their injuries and related medical and other expenses.
Michigan was always known as having some of the highest PIP premium rates in the nation since it required drivers to purchase unlimited protection. The recent changes are aimed at reducing PIP premiums, but not without a cost to the consumer. Now, though unlimited coverage is still available, drivers can choose among optional PIP coverage levels of:
$50,000 - If you’re enrolled in Medicaid
$250,000 or $500,000 - If not enrolled in Medicaid
$0 - Drivers already on Medicare can opt-out of PIP entirely
The new laws also cap the charges that hospitals and medical care providers can charge for medical services. This can result in inadequate protection and some providers refusing to treat victims of automobile accidents
Since Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, if you’re injured in an auto accident, you must report it to your insurance company where your PIP coverage may be responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages due to your injuries and even pay for home health care (with some limitations).
If your expenses exceed your PIP coverage level, you have the option of suing the at-fault driver to recover the excess charges, which may be for completed medical care or even for continuing treatment and/or rehabilitative services long into the future.
Suing the other driver also opens up the possibility of recovering damages for non-economic factors such as pain and suffering, which no fault insurance policies may not cover.
Michigan imposes two important time limitations in a PIP case. First, notice of the of the accident must be provided within one year of the accident. Second, any no fault benefit sought must be submitted within one year from the date it is incurred. There is a three year time limit in which to file a claim for pain and suffering against the person responsible for your injury. If the time limits are missed, you cannot receive compensation for no fault or pain and suffering benefits.
The revised Michigan auto insurance laws also raised the amount you can recover for damages to your vehicle from $1,000 to $3,000. This can be done by filing what is known as a mini-tort lawsuit, but several limitations and conditions apply, including:
Your vehicle must have sustained damage (mini-torts don’t cover personal injuries)
You have insurance for your vehicle and your insurer doesn’t cover all the repair costs and/or waive your deductible
The other driver is known and has insurance
You will be subject to Michigan's comparative fault standard (see below)
Mini-tort lawsuits do not apply if the at-fault driver is uninsured. In that case, you can sue for the full amount of repair costs.
If you do file a mini-tort or car accident lawsuit, Michigan uses a modified comparative negligence rule that, in a car accident, will assign a percent of fault to each driver.
Say you’re involved in an auto accident. If it is determined that you are partially at fault (< 50%), your recovery could be reduced by that percentage. If your share of fault rises above 50 percent, you will be barred from recovering anything from the other driver.
What if a loved one dies in an auto accident? Michigan law defines wrongful death as a death caused by a “wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another” that would have allowed the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit had she or he survived.
While many states allow family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit directly, Michigan requires a personal representative appointed by the probate court to file the lawsuit on behalf of the family members.
Damages recoverable include:
Reasonable hospital, medical, funeral, and burial expenses
Pain and suffering endured by the deceased
Loss of financial support the person would have provided the surviving family
Loss of the deceased’s care, companionship, and other intangible benefits
The principal attorneys at the Ratton Law Group PC have a strong medical background, including degrees in nursing. This medical knowledge enables them to maximize the value of your claim and fight for the best possible settlement available.
If it comes to a matter of filing a lawsuit to obtain the full compensation you deserve, we are trial-experienced and will represent you vigorously in court.
If you’re injured in an automobile accident in or around Detroit, Michigan, don’t wait but contact us immediately at the Ratton Law Group PC. We can provide you with the skilled legal representation you need to pursue fair financial compensation following your car accident. Call our office today to schedule a free case consultation to discuss your case and get the process started.