Michigan Car Accident Compensation Laws

Once home to the car capital of the world, Michigan still boasts its scenic shores, college football, and the birthplace of Motown. Thanks to beautiful summers, snowy winters, and everything in between, Michiganders can and do drive through any condition. Whether you're familiar with the perils of Detroit's potholes or just visiting for a Red Wings game, you'll want to learn about Michigan's car accident compensation laws if you've been involved in a car accident in the state.

Below, you'll find a table outlining key sections of Michigan's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.

Statute of Limitations 3 years for most personal injury and property damage lawsuits (Sec. 600.5805)
Limits on Damages For 2016, a $438,800 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice and product liability cases, except for more serious injuries where the cap is $783,500 (amounts adjusted annually based on the consumer price index) (Sec. 600.1483); $1000 cap on vehicle damage claims (Sec. 500.3135)
Other Limits No fault system requires filing insurance claim before pursuing legal damages; modified comparative negligence fault system may prevent or diminish non-economic damages and vehicle damages (Sec. 500.3135)

Types of Damages

There are typically two types of damages to consider: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the more direct, specific costs you've incurred as a result of your injury or damage to property. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are the more abstract costs of an accident, like emotional distress and the loss of spousal companionship.

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Car repairs or replacement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of affection or companionship

"No Fault" and "Comparative Negligence" Rules Apply

Michigan uses a "no fault" system for car accidents. This means someone seeking compensation after an accident does not have to prove who was at fault before collecting insurance benefits necessary for the care of the injured person (economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages). Under Michigan law, the insurance covers these expenses regardless of who was at fault.

For damages beyond those covered by the no fault system, Michigan follows the "modified comparative negligence" rule. This rule states that if you were partially to blame for causing the accident, you may only recover damages if your negligence is not greater than that of the other party or parties. In other words, to recover these damages, you must not be more than 50% at fault for the accident.

Additionally, if you are partly to blame, any damages that are awarded will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault and the other driver was 90% at fault, you may file a lawsuit, but an award of $1000 will be reduced by $100. In Michigan, the comparative negligence rules apply to vehicle damages as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Limits on Damages

Michigan does not limit most damages that may be awarded. However, there is a cap on the non-economic damages of some medical malpractice and product liability cases. Also, if insurance does not cover all of your vehicle repair costs, you may pursue a claim against the other party, but only up to $1000 in most cases. Lastly, claims are time-sensitive, as you have three years from the date of the accident to file most lawsuits in court.

Get a Free Claim Evaluation from a Michigan Attorney

Navigating a no-fault insurance system and the comparative negligence rules surrounding a Michigan car accident can seem like a daunting task. Receive a free claim evaluation from an experienced attorney who is familiar with Michigan's car accident compensation laws to evaluate the strength of your claim.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.