Michigan’s no-fault insurance law prohibits suing a properly insured driver in an accident for medical costs or lost wages. However, in serious injury cases, an at-fault driver can be sued for pain and suffering or excess economic loss.
When clients involved in a car accident talk to the Detroit car accident lawyers at our firm, it is common for them to assume that they will be unable to sue the other driver involved because both drivers had insurance. However, this is not necessarily the case. There are circumstances in which an automobile accident victim can file a lawsuit against another driver.
According to Michigan no-fault insurance law, a properly insured driver cannot sue another driver for medical costs even if he or she was the victim of another driver’s negligent driving. A driver also cannot sue for lost wages related to injuries sustained in the accident unless the lost wages exceed the amount that the insurance company is required to pay (see below). No-fault insurance carriers covering automobile accident victims or a carrier assigned by the Assigned Claims Facility must cover those costs and cannot recover those costs in court as long as all drivers involved are properly insured.
However, personal injury lawyers in Michigan, when representing accident victims, can file a lawsuit against at-fault drivers under one of two instances.
Pain and Suffering – It is not uncommon for accident injuries to be extremely painful, debilitating and emotionally damaging.Michigan no-fault insurance does not compensate accident victims for these non-economic damages. However, the law does permit accident victims to pursue compensation for them from the at-fault driver but only if the injuries sustained by the victim resulted in death, permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of body function.
Excess economic damages – Accident injuries frequently render victims unable to work, either temporarily while they heal or permanently. No-fault insurance carriers are required to compensate accident victims for up to approximately $5,000 per month for up to three years. If total wages lost by an accident victim are more than that amount or lasts longer than three years, the victim can pursue recovery of those damages in a liability lawsuit. If the victim has to hire someone to do chores they are no longer able to do because of the injuries, the insurance company pays the first $20 per day for up to three years and any additional amount can be pursued in court.
As you can see, even both drivers have Michigan no-fault insurance, it is imperative that the victims of an automobile accident contact a personal injury lawyer in Michigan immediately. An experienced Michigan or Detroit accident lawyer may be able to help an accident victim recover non-economic loss and excessive economic losses that the insurance company doesn’t have to cover.
If you’ve been in an automobile accident, a personal injury lawyer from the Michigan firm of Sachs Waldman, P.C. can assist in determining whether you have damages that need to be pursued through a lawsuit and assist in filing, negotiating and trying a lawsuit if needed. Call our Detroit accident lawyers at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation regarding Michigan no-fault insurance and potential lawsuits.