Out of State No-Fault Driver in Michigan
Background. The state of Michigan has a no-fault system of legislation in place for drivers, which changes things from the historic default position, and what your intuition might suggest. In many states, when someone is in an automobile accident, he or she can sue the responsible, or at-fault driver for injuries they suffer and damages to their vehicle. In an effort to keep the court system from having to take handle litigation over every auto accident in the state, and keep the system from become more backed up than it already is, the Michigan legislature has put into place the no-fault system, which generally will prevent drivers from suing each other when involved in an auto accident.
Overview. Michigan’s no-fault law is a complex piece of legislation that can be difficult to understand, causing headaches even for residents. Being from another state, and therefore most likely unfamiliar with the law, it may seem completely beyond understanding. At the most basic level, the theory behind the law works as follows:
• Everyone registering a car within the state of Michigan is required to possess a minimum level of insurance, including personal injury protection (PIP) benefits.
• The no-fault law sets out a series of relationships that one might have to some insurance policy, in a very specific order of priority.
• Whenever someone suffers an injury as the result of an auto accident, that person will make a claim against the highest priority insurance policy that exists for them in that situation.
Complications. Like many things, however, Michigan’s no-fault laws sound a lot simpler on paper than in practice, and because Michigan’s no-fault law isn’t even simple on paper, that means it becomes very easy to get lost the additional ins and outs. Most pressing for you, the out of state driver who is involved in an auto accident in Michigan, is the question of how you fit into the entire situation. The good news is that there is a good chance that you will still be protected by the no-fault law, and possibly even have access to the same PIP benefits that a Michigan resident does. However, even if you aren’t entitled to protection under the law and PIP benefits, there may be other options available to you in order to recover your damages.
Conclusion. Whether you are protected by the shield of Michigan’s no-fault statute, whether you will have access to PIP benefits, and whether you have access to other options for recourse in addition or instead of no-fault and PIP will be determined by several factors. Only a skilled Michigan attorney who regularly works with the no-fault act will be able to help you determine what options are available to you under the act, which options you should be pursuing, and how to make the appropriate claims in order to avail yourself of those options.