Getting in a wreck is always bad news. However, getting in an car accident while driving someone else’s car always seems worse. Besides the injuries, there is the uncertainty of what is going to happen to the owner of the car. The first question always seems to be: Will they be compensated? And there is always the question: Will I be able to recovery for my injuries if I was in an accident while driving a car that wasn’t mine?
What Compensation is Available?
Before we can say how things will turn out, we first must unpack the different types of recovery that you can potentially receive in Michigan after a car accident.
Michigan is a no-fault state. So when a or person is injured while driving in the state of Michigan they can receive no-fault insurance benefits from their own insurance company regardless of fault. This includes:
- up to 85% of your lost wages for the first 3 years after the accident,
- all necessary and reasonable medical bills related to the accident (including mileage to and from doctors),
- replacement services (reimbursement for chores you can no longer do around this house) up to $20.00 a day
- Attendant care. (payment for in home nursing services if proscribed by your doctors)
Because these benefits come from your own insurance company, they are usually referred to as first party benefits. Regardless of who’s car you were driving, you will almost always be insured for these benefits. Usually priority for payment would come first through your own vehicle’s insurance company. What if you don’t have car, or are not insured? Then you would look to your spouse’s insurance, a resident relative’s insurance, or the insurance of the owner of the vehicles involved in the accident. In almost every case these first party benefits would be available to you from some source.
The next type of compensation is for your pain, suffering and wage loss beyond three years. In order to receive these benefits, you must prove the other driver was at fault for the accident and that your injuries amount to a serious impairment of a body function. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, the law says that not everyone is allowed to bring a lawsuit for pain and suffering. The logic is that because your own insurance company is supposed to pay for numerous benefits, regardless of fault, that only the most serious injuries should be compensated with pain and suffering. Consequently, this means if you want to sue for pain and suffering your injuries must reach the serious impairment of a body function threshold. The courts have held this to mean an objective injury that has a substantial impact on your daily life for a lengthy period of time. So for example, broken bones, torn ligaments, head injuries, scars, herniated disks, and other serious injuries usually constitute a serious impairment of a body function.
These types of benefits are available to you even if you were driving someone else’s car. As long as you had permission to be driving the vehicle, if someone else was at fault, and your injuries meet the above described threshold, you can be compensated for your pain and suffering.
- Damage to the vehicle – property damage
Again, Michigan is a no-fault State. This means that property damage to your vehicle or the vehicle involved the accident, will be paid from the vehicle’s own collision insurance. The at fault driver and his or her insurance company is only responsible for $1,000 which is called the mini-tort. This means if you are driving a car and the vehicle has collision coverage, great, their insurance company is going to cover it. However, if they did not have collision coverage on their vehicle, then the damage is not going to be covered and they can only be compensated by the other driver for up to $1,000 from the mini-tort. One exception to this rule, is if the other driver that caused the accident was uninsured you could make him or her responsible for the entire damage.
What Should I do After an Accident Driving Another Person’s Car?
As you can see, even if you were driving another person’s car you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. To make sure you protect your rights and have the best possible chance of compensation you need to contact a lawyer that can help you through the process. We have helped hundreds of victims receive compensation for their injuries and their loved ones after an accident. Protect your rights and make sure you get the help you need to wade through Michigan’s No-Fault Laws. Call us Today. 517-347-6900. We Can Help.