Filing A Lawsuit After A Car Accident: What You Need To Know
January 13, 2021 by Steven M. Gursten
If you are filing a lawsuit after a car accident in Michigan, there are 3 types of cases you may have. You may be able to file a claim for your injuries and pain and suffering, which is known as a tort or a third-party case. Other cases include a first-party case for No-Fault benefits and a mini tort claim under Michigan’s mini tort law.
Filing a lawsuit after a car accident for No-Fault benefits
In Michigan, filing a No-Fault lawsuit after a car accident is to recover unpaid and overdue PIP , or Personal Injury Protection, insurance benefits. There are many things you will need to know when filing a first-party claim, such as what expenses are covered by No-Fault, what expenses have been incurred and are overdue, the deadlines for the filing of an application for benefits and for the filing of a first-party No-Fault claim, and the insurance company against whom the claim will be filed.
Here are the key details you need to know:
No-Fault insurance benefits pay for a crash victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, medical mileage (transportation expenses for traveling to and from doctor and medical appointments), household replacement services and attendant care services.
To be entitled to recover No-Fault benefits after you have been injured in an automobile crash in Michigan, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called your “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the bus accident. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4)) If you fail to file your application on time – within ONE YEAR from the date of your automobile crash – then you will forever lose any benefits to which you might be entitled.
A claim for unpaid, overdue No-Fault insurance benefits must be filed within one year from the date that the medical bill, wage loss, medical mileage, replacement service or attendant service was incurred. (MCL 500.3145(2)) If such a claim is not filed within the one-year time period, then the bill will be time-barred and you will lose all rights to payment and/or reimbursement for the overdue benefits.
A claim for unpaid, overdue No-Fault benefits is filed against the auto insurance company responsible for paying your PIP No-Fault benefits. The No-Fault law’s “priority rules” determine what insurance company is responsible.
Filing a pain and suffering lawsuit after a car accident
If you are filing a lawsuit after a car accident to recover pain and suffering compensation , there are many things you need to know such as what can be recovered, who pays for your compensation and damages, and what the deadline is for filing a claim.
Here are details:
Filing a pain and suffering lawsuit allows a car accident victim to recover compensation for his or her pain and suffering from the at-fault driver who caused the crash. This includes: (1) physical pain and suffering; (2) mental anguish; (3) fright and shock; (4) denial of social pleasure and enjoyments; (5) embarrassment, humiliation or mortification; and (6) shame, mental pain and anxiety.
A pain and suffering claim, which is also called a third-party claim or a tort claim, allows a crash victim to recover excess medical expenses and excess wage loss as well as other economic damages from the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
Your recovery in a pain and suffering compensation case will largely be paid from the at-fault driver’s “ third party car insurance ,” which is frequently to as liability insurance coverage.
You have three (3) years after the date of the automobile crash in Michigan to sue for pain and suffering compensation, excess medical benefits and excess economic loss and one year to sue for incurred No-Fault insurance benefits. (MCL 600.5805(2))
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident
If you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident where a loved one lost his or her life, there are many things you need to know. The most important is who is entitled to recover damages under Michigan’s wrongful death law, what damages can be recovered, and what the filing deadline is.
Here are key details:
Damages that can be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit include: (1) “reasonable medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses for which the estate is liable”; (2) “reasonable compensation” for the victim’s “pain and suffering”; and (3) “damages for the loss of financial support,” “society and companionship of the deceased.” (MCL 600.2922(6))
The following people may be entitled to damages under a wrongful death lawsuit: (1) the deceased’s spouse, children, descendants, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters; (2) children of the deceased’s spouse; (3) “devisees” under the deceased’s will.
Michigan’s wrongful death act provides that a lawsuit may only be filed by the personal representative of the estate of the person whose life was lost in the car accident.
Because there is no specific wrongful death statute of limitations , the general three-year statute of limitations for all personal injury claims applies. That said, there are important requirements that must be complied with for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mini Tort Claim
If you are filing a mini tort lawsuit after a car accident to recover damages to cover your vehicle damage repair costs, there are many things you need to know such as what damages can be recovered, who pays for your damages, what the deadline is for filing a lawsuit and what court a mini tort lawsuit must be filed in.
Here are details:
For an automobile crash that occur after July 1, 2020, the maximum mini tort recovery amount is $3,000 for damages that are not covered by insurance. (MCL 500.3135(3)(e))
Assuming the other driver is 50% or more at fault, then the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying your mini tort claim. If he or she has mini tort coverage on his or her auto insurance policy (it is usually listed as “ limited property damage coverage ” of the person’s declarations page), then his or her auto insurance company will pay for your mini tort claim.
If the at-fault driver and/or his or her auto insurance company refuse to pay your mini tort claim, then you will have to file a lawsuit to collect your mini tort benefits .
You have three (3) years after the date of the car accident to file your mini tort lawsuit.
A mini tort claim must be filed in small claims court .
Need help finding the right lawyer? Call Michigan Auto Law first
If you or a loved one was injured in an automobile crash and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about filing a lawsuit after a car accident, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.