VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Personal Injury caused by Vehicle Accidents

Michigan laws governing automobile accidents are extremely long and complex. To add more confusion is the fact that Michigan is a No-Fault State. This means that your car insurance company pays for most of your losses in an accident, regardless of fault. Two terms that you should be familiar with are:

First-Party Benefits

These benefits are claims for economic losses, such as reimbursements of expenses (medical, wage loss, mileage and replacement services.) They are normally paid by your own insurance company.

Third-Party Benefits

These benefits are claims for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, scarring, and disfigurement. These benefits are paid for by the insurance company for the at fault driver.

PRIORITY OF CLAIMS

Michigan automobile claims have a priority when it comes to filing. The order of priority is:

Your own personal injury claim

1st priority - your own insurance policy;
2nd priority - the insurance company of a resident relative (spouse, parent, or sibling);
3rd priority - insurer of the owner of the vehicle occupied;
4th priority - insurer of the driver of the vehicle occupied; and
5th priority - State of Michigan Assigned Claims Facility.

Motorcycle Order of Priority

In Michigan, motorcycles fall into a category where they are not considered "motor vehicles." A different priority exists for their accidents:

1st priority - the insurer of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident;
2nd priority - the insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident;
3rd priority - insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involved in the accident;
4th priority - insurer of the owner of the motorcycle involved in the accident; and
5th priority - State of Michigan Assigned Claims Facility.

Michigan Case Law on Personal Injuries Involving Automobiles

In Kreiner v. Fischer 251 Mich App 513, 651 NW2d 433 (2002), the court ruled that the injured auto accident victim must show that he or she suffered a "threshold injury" defined as "A serious impairment of an important body function, serious disfigurement, scarring, or death, which affects the person's general ability to lead a normal life."

This ruling has made it easy for insurance companies to try and claim that the injury or injuries are not a "serious impairment" of a body function. You should pay close attention to how your injuries are documented by your physician.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, you should immediately protect your rights. Contact Elhart & Horvath, P.C., today at 1-800-968-4534 or (231) 946-2420 for a free consultation.


Download Michigan No Fault Insurance Law.doc Download AUTO ACCIDENT CHECKLIST.doc Download HIPAA Medical Form.doc Download Personal Injury Questionnaire.doc Download Medical Care for Car Accident victims.doc