Michigan Mini Tort

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

In Michigan, we have limitations on what you can claim against the other driver as far as collision damage to your vehicle is concerned.

Can I claim collision damage from the other driver?

You may not realize it, but you are responsible to purchase collision coverage yourself if you want help paying for repairs to your vehicle after a crash.  Please don’t think that the other driver has to pay for all of your repairs just because the other driver was at fault! Not true!  Here are some quick facts about what we call the Michigan “minitort” (limited collision damage claim against the other driver):

  • You can’t be more than 50% responsible for the crash
  • The most you can get from the other driver, or their auto insurance, is $1000
  • If the other driver is at fault, but has no insurance, you can sue the owner/driver in small claims court (your local district court), but you have to pay for the filing fee and to try to collect from the other person if you win
  • You can only claim expenses up to $1000 that you actually suffered, such as a deductible that was charged to you on your repair bill
  • Motorcycles are not eligible for minitort
  • Expenses such as  for a rental car while your vehicle is being fixed are not eligible
  • Loss of personal property  damaged in the collision is not eligible
  • You can’t claim the minitort against the other driver if you did not have basic no-fault coverage on your vehicle (that’s the coverage sometimes called “PL/PD”—it’s the mandatory minimum coverage and is different from collision coverage). Remember that it is illegal to drive without PL/PD
  • These rules may not apply if your vehicle was legally parked when it was hit by a vehicle you can identify. MCL 500.3123(1)(a)

Many drivers of older vehicles obey the law by purchasing no-fault coverage, but make the choice not to buy collision coverage, figuring that this optional coverage is more expensive than fixing their vehicle would be worth. That’s a gamble you can take, but remember, in most situations, the most you are going to get from the other driver is $1000—and that’s only if they were 50% or more at fault.

To speak to an experienced car accident attorney, contact us today.

Source: MCL 500.3135(3)e, 4

Written By Steven Matz

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. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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