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Guide To Filing Property Damage After Michigan Auto Accidents

WRITTEN BY:
Steven Matz
December 12, 2023 | Car Accident

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average property damage settlement after a car accident in 2022 was $5,313. That’s significant — approximately three times the average mortgage a Michigan homeowner pays. A car accident can upset your finances if certain steps are not taken in the aftermath.

Learn how to file a property damage claim after a Michigan car accident and how a skilled Michigan car accident lawyer can help you protect your rights and demand compensation after your accident. The Michigan car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law have extensive accident experience and are ready to assist you with your claim. Call us for a free consultation at 1-866-22Not33.

What is Considered Property Damage in a Michigan Car Accident?

Personal injury is, unfortunately, common in Michigan car accidents. As you worry about taking care of your health, you also might face dealing with expensive property damage issues. Michigan law addresses property damage in car accidents. Items commonly damaged in automobile crashes include:

  • Vehicle damage
  • A residential home
  • Property, including fences, lawn, mailbox, or other items
  • Child car or booster seats
  • Personal items, such as clothing, sunglasses, eyeglasses, watches, jewelry, etc.
  • Electronics, including mobile phones, laptops, smartwatches, and tablets
  • Veterinary expenses if your pet was injured, as this is considered property damage

2017-2022 Property Damage Statistics

Data chart showing 2017-2022 auto accident and property damage correlation

According to Michigan State, in recent years, Michigan experienced the highest number of car accidents recorded in 2017, with 314,921 incidents. In 2020, Michigan saw the lowest recorded auto accidents (245,432 incidents), likely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Property damage costs closely mirrored these trends, indicating a strong correlation between auto accidents and property damage claims.

Who Pays for Car Accident Property Damage Claims in Michigan?

Michigan is a no-fault state for car accidents. After a crash, the at-fault driver’s no-fault insurance policy covers up to $1 million for other people’s property damage, including structures, fences, and parked cars, to name a few examples.

  • Your own insurance company’s comprehensive and collision coverage pays for car repairs after an accident when you are at fault, minus your deductible.
  • Property damage liability insurance of the at-fault motorist covers property damage (car, belongings) from the accident.
  • Under- or uninsured driver at-fault is covered by your uninsured/underinsured insurance OR you sue them for the damages.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 25.5% of MI drivers are uninsured – the second-highest uninsured state in the country.

Who Can You Sue for Vehicle Damage in a Michigan Auto Accident?

According to Michigan insurance laws, in a car accident case you can sue several parties, including the driver of the other car or the driver of the vehicle you were in. Disputes often emerge, and, in some cases, you may be able to sue both drivers if fault is in question.

How Much Can I Sue For Property Damage After a Car Accident?

How much you can sue a motorist for will depend upon the extent of your losses. If the driver has insurance coverage, the maximum is $3,000 for a mini-tort claim. If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can pursue the full amount of the repairs or replacement.

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Is Michigan a No-Fault State?

Yes, Michigan no-fault rules are in place for auto accidents. No-fault insurance is often referred to as personal injury protection (PIP). How it works is this coverage pays for any medical expenses you or your passengers incur as a result of an accident, regardless of fault.

How to File a Car Accident Property Damage Claim in Michigan

To begin the process of filing a claim to receive compensation for your car, SUV, or truck accident in Michigan, you should take the following steps.

1. Report the accident to the police

It is beneficial to call authorities after any accident so a police report can be written and a record of the accident goes on file. This evidence proves useful if your case is not easily settled and needs to go to court for a verdict.

2. Report the accident to your insurance

Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident to protect your right to compensation. Be sure to only provide the facts and never accept blame. Other factors you are unaware of, such as impairment, distraction, or other type of fault, may fall on the other driver.

3. Contact a lawyer

Call an experienced Michigan car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will protect your rights, determine a course of action for filing a claim, and oversee insurance companies so they do not try to undercut your losses.

4. File a claim

There are many possible avenues for your claim, which will depend upon the circumstances of your accident. A skilled attorney can help you determine the best way to file your claim.

5. Get an estimate of your repair/replacement costs

Remember, you may have lost more property than just car damage. Obtain estimates to determine how much your property losses amount to. The insurance adjuster will evaluate your damage and coordinate between you and the repair company.

toyota camery with front end damage

Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver For Property Damage if I Have No Car Insurance?

No, you cannot pursue the other driver for compensation if you do not have car insurance, even if they are 100% at fault.

How Can a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Help?

Sometimes, car accident victims try to pursue a case alone because it will save them money, but working with a skilled Michigan law firm usually yields better results. Not only do you not have to pay money out of pocket upfront, your attorney will:

  • Inform you of your rights
  • Carefully examine your insurance policy and property protection
  • Navigate the legal system with you
  • Communicate with insurance companies and any other parties involved
  • Represent you in settlement/mediation
  • Help with both property damage and personal injury lawsuits.

For instance, if you also suffer injuries that lead to high medical bills, your lawyer can help you navigate your insurance claim to help you get the money you need to pay for your expenses and lost wages.

Working with an experienced car accident attorney helps you sort through state insurance intricacies to get the maximum allowed under insurance coverage.

Why Our Clients Trust Matz Injury Law

Matz Injury Law has a long, demonstrated history of success for accident claims and have helped numerous clients receive fair settlements. To date, our Michigan accident attorneys have had years of successful cases, including $260,000 for a family whose car was hit by an uninsured driver.

Furthermore, when you choose to work with our law firm, you can rest assured you will always work with a Matz partner, not an associate lawyer. You will never feel like just another faceless case number. We’ll negotiate with the auto insurance company and work hard to hold the at-fault driver accountable.

Testimonial

Matz Injury Law firm prides itself on providing top-notch legal representation with our compassionate, caring, and transparent practices. To date, our attorneys have logged hundreds of thousands of miles on our clients’ behalf in every county across Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas.

“If you are looking for the best attorney to handle your automobile accident claim, look no further! I have known Steve Matz for more than 20 years. He successfully represented me in 2001 then again in 2019 following serious automobile accidents. He leads you step by step through the entire complex legal process. Put Steve Matz on your team to get the justice you deserve! The Matz team is a clear winner!” — Gary C.

Don’t Let an Auto Accident Derail Your Life

Experiencing a motor vehicle accident is often a terrifying experience. If you or a loved one suffer losses after a crash, the understanding and compassionate injury attorneys at Matz Injury Law can assist. Our law office is dedicated to helping victims get the compensation they deserve.

Not only can we aid you in pursuing compensation for property damage, but we can also help you recover compensation to cover medical expenses for serious injury, including pain and suffering, or justice for the wrongful death of your loved one.

Are you or a family member a car accident victim who needs help? Let the experienced Michigan car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law help. Call us today for a free case evaluation. Our phone number is 1-866-22Not33. If you prefer, you can also reach our personal injury lawyers through our convenient online contact form.

Frequent Answered Questions

How Much Will It Cost Me to Retain a Michigan Car Accident Attorney?

For personal injury claims, you will pay a contingency fee which means if you do not collect, neither does your attorney. Most firms charge the maximum allowed, 33%. Matz only charges 22% so you can keep more of your settlement.

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident Property Damage Claim if I’m Not Hurt?

Yes, we highly recommend hiring a lawyer because they will have a better understanding of your rights and how to navigate the legal system. If you are struggling with an injury and recovering, having a professional by your side relieves the burden of getting your claim paid.
Many insurance complexities in Michigan exist, and these can be hard to sort through.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Property Damage for Michigan Car Accidents?

Michigan has a three-year statute of limitations for property claims. Do not delay in initiating your claim because you could lose the right to collect compensation. Additionally, you must provide written notice to the insurance company within one year from the accident date.

How Much Property Damage is Required to Have to Call the Police After a Michigan Car Accident?

Michigan law requires accidents to be reported to police if anyone is injured, killed, or property damage is $1,000 or more.

How Long Do Car Accident Property Damage Claims Take in Michigan?

Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. However, it is difficult to ascertain how long a car accident property damage will take because every case is unique. Factors affecting the duration of your claim include the complexity of your accident case and the car insurance companies involved.

How Do You Estimate Property Damage After a Michigan Car Accident?

When determining how much it will cost to pay for your property damage, it is a good idea to get one or two estimates from a trustworthy and licensed repair shop. You can go with the insurer’s recommendation or choose your own. You will likely work with an insurance adjuster, so be wary of receiving lowball estimates de-valuing the amount of your losses.

steven matz headshot

Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.