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Third-party Statute of Limitations in Michigan

Did you know that most traffic accidents in Michigan occur during the evening rush hour, with a reported 62,881 crashes between 3:00 and 5:59 PM in 2021? Driving in Michigan can be dangerous. If you are in a car accident, you need to make sure that you file your claim in a timely manner. 

Otherwise, there will be nothing anyone can do. Continue reading to learn more about the third-party auto insurance statute of limitations. Some drivers might not know if they qualify for a third-party claim, and this is where the experienced car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law can assist. 

Can I Extend the Statute of Limitations?

rear end accident

“I was in a Michigan auto accident over three years ago but didn’t sue the other driver. I just learned that I have injuries from the accident that I didn’t know about before. Can I still sue the other driver?”

There is no “discovery rule” in Michigan auto cases that you can use to extend the statute of limitations against the other driver for your pain and suffering claims. So, if you don’t file suit within three years from the incident, you can’t return after that and say you only recently “discovered” that you are hurt. Remember, we are talking about your claims against the other driver (for pain, suffering, and excess economic loss), not your no-fault benefits, such as medical claims and work loss for the first three years. Other, much shorter time limits apply to your no-fault claims.

Over the years, the laws covering automobile injury cases in Michigan have tended toward limiting the rights of injured people and narrowing the responsibilities of insurance companies. This issue is just one example. If you find yourself in this situation, call a lawyer experienced in automobile negligence law to see if an exception to the rule might be available.

The Michigan car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law are experienced with these types of claims. If you have been in an auto accident in Michigan, contact us today at 1-866-22Not33, or use our online form to schedule a free case evaluation. 

What are Michigan’s Auto Insurance Requirements?

Michigan insurance law requires drivers to maintain a minimum car insurance coverage when driving. These minimum car insurance requirements include three different categories of insurance coverage: personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, property protection insurance (PPI), and bodily injury liability and property damage liability (BI/PD).

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

The PIP part of your no-fault insurance policy is designed to pay any reasonable and necessary medical expenses to those injured in an accident with your vehicle. There is no maximum limit to this coverage.

PIP also pays a portion of the wage loss for someone injured in an accident who is unable to work. This coverage is effective for up to three years and up to the maximum coverage of the liability insurance policy. In addition, the coverage provides a limited amount per day in replacement services such as housekeeping and yard work if an impairment prevents the injured person from undertaking these services themselves.

Suppose the victim of an accident is killed. In that case, the personal injury protection policy pays benefits to the surviving spouse and dependents up to the maximum monthly amount of coverage and for up to three years. The amount paid is based on what the surviving dependents would have otherwise received from the decedent’s fringe benefits and earnings. 

Personal injury protection is also referred to as no-fault insurance. In a personal injury protection case (or a first-party claim), you file a claim with your own insurance, often working with your insurance agent, to recover payment for injuries from an auto accident. You can coordinate with private health insurance (but not Medicaid or Medicare) to reduce your PIP premium.

Property Protection Insurance (PPI)

Property protection insurance coverage protects the policyholder if property damage results from a motor vehicle accident. It covers up to $1 million in damage from the at-fault driver’s car in Michigan to someone else’s property, including buildings and fences. It also pays for damage done to other people’s properly parked vehicles.

Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage (BI/PD)

Bodily injury and property damage insurance is also known as residual liability insurance. It is an integral part of Michigan no-fault insurance that provides some protection against lawsuits against the insured driver, with very specific exceptions. This type of insurance is also referred to as third-party car insurance.

What is Michigan Third-Party Car Insurance?

Michigan third-party car insurance, otherwise known as residual liability insurance or bodily injury and property damage, is a type of insurance coverage that protects the driver from being sued by the other driver. This type of insurance only applies in particular circumstances. Some circumstances under which a driver may be sued in Michigan include:

  • Accidents with nonresidents who occupy vehicles not registered in Michigan
  • Accidents in which someone suffers a serious injury, disfigurement, or is killed
  • Accidents outside the state of Michigan

If you are found to be the at-fault driver in these situations and are legally responsible, your residual liability coverage will pay up to your liability insurance policy coverage limits

What Does Third-Party Car Insurance Cover in Michigan?

As explained above, this type of insurance is in place under Michigan law to cover bodily injury and death for victims of Michigan car accidents. If you cause an accident leading to one of these circumstances, this is the insurance coverage used. It also covers Michigan drivers‘ involvement in accidents that occur outside the state of Michigan.

First-Party Claims vs. Third-Party Car Insurance Claims

Car with front end damage

The difference between first-party and third-party claims under Michigan car insurance law is that a first-party claim involves the car insurance companies and is contractual. In a third-party claim, the injured driver files suit against the at-fault driver for damages such as pain and suffering. To file a third-party claim, the at-fault driver must be at least 50 percent responsible for the accident.

A first-party claim will always be for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. A third-party case will be a claim against the person who caused the injuries. Any time someone is injured with another person or entity at fault, the injured person can make a third-party claim

Can You Drive Your Friend’s Car With Only Third-Party Car Insurance?

Yes, a family member or other party can drive another person’s car with third-party car insurance. In this case, either the driver’s insurance is used for third-party claims, or the no-fault insurance carried by the vehicle’s owner would kick in. The requirement is that you have permissive use, meaning the driver has expressly permitted you to drive their vehicle. This type of insurance does not protect your car if it is stolen or sustains damage due to natural causes like a storm.

What is Comprehensive Auto Insurance in Michigan? Do You Need It?

Under Michigan nofault law, comprehensive insurance is not required as part of minimum car insurance coverage requirements. It is one of several coverage options that Michigan residents can carry on their car insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage protects your car against losses if it is stolen or damaged by fire, a flood, a collision with another animal, or other natural causes. It is an extra layer of protection for the driver, as nature can be unpredictable.

Another type of optional coverage offered by car insurance companies is collision coverage. Adding collision coverage to your Michigan car insurance protects your vehicle when it is damaged in an automobile accident. This type of insurance coverage usually comes with a deductible that you agree to pay. Your deductible can reduce your insurance premium but also lessen your settlement award with the insurance company. 

What is the Statute of Limitations for Third-Party Car Insurance Claims in Michigan

A statute of limitations is a time limit to file an insurance claim. If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, you may be denied a settlement altogether, which is why it is so important to act quickly to report the accident and begin your claim with your insurance agent.

In Michigan, this statute of limitations is three years from the accident date. If you miss this window, filing a claim can be much more difficult. There are, however, specific exceptions to this rule. Even if you miss the statute of limitations, you should still contact an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney for a consultation to see if you still qualify. 

Do You Need an Attorney for a Third-Party Car Insurance Claim?

Third-party claims in Michigan are filed against the negligent driver. While Michigan law does not require you to have an attorney to file such a claim, it is often necessary to get the compensation you deserve.

A qualified and experienced Michigan car accident lawyer can litigate on your behalf. They can also gather evidence for your case, present it to the courts, and represent your interests against insurance companies that will go to great lengths to avoid paying your claim.

You are going up against the negligent driver and their insurance company, which will try to shift the blame away from their client and onto you. They may also contend that you cannot file such a claim under no-fault law. Remember that in Michigan, only specific exceptions to no-fault law allow third-party claims to be filed. You need someone in your corner who will be the ally you need and will fight doggedly for you every step of the way.

At Matz Injury Law, we are tenacious litigators who have won millions for our clients and work on contingency. That means you owe nothing in legal fees if we do not win your case. Further, while many of our competitors charge 33 percent of your award for their contingency fee, we only charge 22 percent. That is why our slogan is “22, Not 33!”

Do Not Be Late to File Your Auto Insurance Claim!

If you are involved in a car accident in Michigan and suffer disfigurement or serious injury that leaves you with numerous medical bills, or you lose a loved one in a wrongful death situation, you are not alone. Our experienced Michigan car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law are here to help fight for your right to the compensation you deserve.

Get in touch with us and let us listen, evaluate your case, and take on the stress of the fight so you can focus on regaining control of your life. Call us today at 1-866-22Not33, or fill out our convenient online contact form to schedule your free case review today.