Michigan’s no-fault laws are designed to take the blame out of auto insurance claims. Insurance providers are required to cover your medical expenses, 3 years of lost wages, and certain attendant care costs regardless of why the accident happened, or who was at fault. But sometimes, fault will still matter, and it could put your recovery at risk.
Third Party Claims
Michigan no-fault law breaks your legal claim into two parts: a First Party claim against your insurance company, and a Third Party claim against the other driver. You can only file a Third Party lawsuit if another person caused the accident. Liability – or fault – will be a key part of your case. If you contributed to the accident – by speeding or jaywalking, for example – your overall damages will be reduced by the amount you are at fault.
Uninsured Motorist Claims
When you are involved in a hit-and-run or are hit by someone without insurance, you may be able to sue your insurance company in that person’s place. All the same rules of a Third Party claim apply. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist policies are optional, but if you choose to purchase one, it can help you recover damages you need after a serious accident.
However, insurance companies are in business to make money. The more they pay on uninsured motorist claims, the less profit they make. Insurance company adjusters and defense attorneys will push hard to show you are actually at fault for your injuries.
Fault Limiting Damages in No-Fault Claims
Fault can even come into play your First Party insurance claim. The law prevents insurance companies from denying coverage based on who caused the accident. But insurance providers are still able to show that you are at fault for delays in returning to work or aggravating your auto-related injuries. If they succeed, showing that your time off or medical expenses are related to something you did after the accident, it can reduce your no-fault benefits.
Since 1973, Michigan law has labelled its auto insurance “no-fault.” But that doesn’t mean the insurance company or an at-fault driver won’t try to limit their liability by showing you were to blame. That’s why you need an auto accident attorney with experience fighting the insurance companies and their tactics. Otherwise, your “fault” could cut you off from no-fault benefits you deserve.