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Michigan Car Accident Compensation Laws

In Michigan, there were over 245,000 car accidents in 2020. Of those accidents, 18.1% involved personal injury, while 81.5% were property damage only. Car accident compensation laws provide a means for victims of car crashes to get reimbursed for their damages, whether it be personal injury or property damages. If you are involved in a car accident in Michigan, you will want to be familiar with the state's car compensation laws.

This article provides a brief overview of car accident compensation laws in the state of Michigan.

Michigan Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance

Below, you'll find a table outlining key sections of Michigan's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations Three years for most personal injury and property damage lawsuits (§ 600.5805)
Limits on Damages For causes of action arising after September 30, 1993, the standard limitation on noneconomic damages for 2022 is $497,000, for certain permanent disabilities, the 2022 limitation is $887,500; for causes of action alleging medical malpractice arising before October 1, 1993, the 2022 limitation is $522,000
Other Limits No fault system requires filing an insurance claim before pursuing legal damages; the modified comparative negligence fault system applied for all damages (§ 500.3135)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Types of Damages

There are typically two types of damages to consider: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the more direct, specific costs you've incurred as a result of your injury or damage to property. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the more abstract costs of an accident, like emotional distress and the loss of spousal companionship.

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Car repairs or replacement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of affection or companionship

"No-Fault" and "Comparative Negligence" Rules Apply

Michigan uses a "no-fault" system for car accidents. This means someone seeking compensation after an accident does not have to prove who was at fault before collecting insurance benefits necessary for the care of the injured person (economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages). Under Michigan law, the insurance covers these expenses regardless of who was at fault.

For damages beyond those covered by the no-fault system, Michigan follows the "modified comparative negligence" rule. This rule states that if you were partially to blame for causing the accident, you may only recover damages if your negligence is not greater than that of the other party or parties. In other words, to recover these damages, you must not be more than 50% at fault for the accident.

Additionally, if you are partly to blame, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault and the other driver was 90% at fault, you may file a lawsuit, but an award of $1,000 will be reduced by $100. In Michigan, the comparative negligence rules apply to all damages.

Limits on Damages in Michigan

Michigan does not limit most damages that may be awarded. However, there is a cap on the non-economic damages of some medical malpractice and product liability cases. Also, if insurance does not cover all of your vehicle repair costs, you may pursue a claim against the other party, but only up to $3,000 in most cases.

Lastly, claims are time-sensitive, as you have three years from the date of the accident to file most lawsuits in court. If you don't file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you may not be able to claim any damages at all.

A Michigan Attorney Can Help With Your Car Accident Claim

Navigating a no-fault insurance system and the comparative negligence rules surrounding a Michigan car accident can seem like a daunting task. If you've been injured, however, you'll want compensation.

Talk to an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who's familiar with Michigan's car accident compensation laws to evaluate the strength of your claim today.

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