In Michigan, it is not guaranteed that you will receive any compensation for damage to your vehicle after a car accident. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, the at fault party does not pay for the damage to your vehicle. (except the mini-tort, and other exceptions – see below) The damage to your vehicle is going to paid for by your own insurance company. This sounds foreign to most people, because it is. In a just world, the at fault party should have to pay for all the damage that they caused. Why should your rates go up just because someone else blew a stop sign? Well, our no-fault system doesn’t answer that question satisfactorily. It puts your own insurance rates and your own claim history in the hands of other drivers. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and you must check with your own insurance company to see if they will raise your rates even though you were not at fault for the accident.
Types of Collision Coverages
In order to receive compensation for the damage to your vehicle, you must go through your own insurance. To make sure this happens you first must buy some type of collision coverage on your vehicle. You also must have this insurance in place before the accident occurs. There are three different types of collision coverage in Michigan:
- Limited Collision Coverage. This type of collision coverage is the cheapest. If you are less than 50% at fault, then your own insurance company will pay for the damage to the vehicle, after you pay your deductible If you are more than 50% at fault, then your insurance company pays nothing, and you will be left paying the bill.
- Standard Collision Coverage. This type of collision coverage is called standard because it is the normal type of coverage. Your insurance will pay for the damage to the vehicle regardless of who is at fault. However, you will be responsible to pay the deductible.
- Broad Form Collision Coverage. Hear if you are less than 50% at fault your own insurance company will pay for the entire damage and will not charge you the deductible. However, if you are more than 50% at fault in the accident, you will have to pay for your deductible.
These are the standard ways of getting reimbursed after a car accident in Michigan. However there is one additional way to get money for your damaged vehicle after an accident. You can collect up to $1000 from the at fault party or their insurance company. This is what is called the mini-tort. In reality, the mini-tort exits to help cover the costs of a deductible when the accident was caused by someone else. A $1000 dollars will never cover the cost of major damage, and consequently, it was not intended to compensate drivers for the full loss after an accident. The mini-tort is usually pursued by your own insurance company on your behalf. However, you can contact the at fault party’s insurance company as well. Failing both of these options it is possible to sue for these damages in small claims court.
Like every good rule, this one too is made to be broken. Well it doesn’t break that often, but there are at least a couple of loop-holes. The first is the parked car exception. If your car was parked, and it was parked in a manner that was reasonable and not creating danger for any other drivers, you might be able to sue the at fault driver for the full damage to your car. So if you are parked in the parking lot and a giant SUV slams into your car you can recover the full amount of damage from the at fault driver and /or his insurance company. The next exception works out better on paper than it does in real life. If the driver of the at-fault vehicle was uninsured, you can collect the entire amount of the damage. This is because if someone fails to buy auto insurance (which is illegal) in Michigan, they fall outside the protections and benefits of the no-fault system. This is more common that you would think considering auto insurance in Michigan is so expensive. The bad news is that people who don’t have insurance often don’t have money to pay the damages that they caused. It might not matter if you threaten, cajole, and even file a lawsuit and obtain a judgement. If they can’t pay, then it doesn’t really matter. On the bright side though, if you obtain a judgement and the person still does not pay, you can get the secretary of state to suspend that person’s driver’s license until they do.
We Can Help You If You’ve Been In a Car Accident
As you can see there are some exceptions and intricacies to receiving compensation for damage to your car after an auto accident in Michigan. This can be made even harder if you are an out-of-state resident just happening to be driving in Michigan. Please call us and let us see if we can help you after your accident. Call our experienced personal injury attorneys at The Clark Law Office at 517-347-6900 for a free consolation regarding your accident issues.