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Michigan auto negligence claims
Michigan No Fault Benefits
Michigan auto accidents entitle injured people to two types of damages pursuable as separate causes of action: (1) no fault benefits (i.e., PIP benefits) and (2) pain and suffering damages (i.e. non-economic damages).
1) Michigan No Fault (PIP) Benefits
Michigan no fault benefits are essentially economic damages that are codified the in Michigan No Fault Act. No fault benefits are typically recoverable first from your own auto insurance carrier, but another auto insurer will be assigned responsibility for your Michigan no fault benefits claim if you do not have your own automobile insurance. Recoverable Michigan no fault benefits include expenses for work loss or wage loss reimbursement, medical treatment, at-home bodily care, medically-related household modifications, at-home services such as cleaning or maintenance, and, in the event of a death, survivor’s loss benefits such as reimbursement to the decedent’s survivors for the decedent’s lost wages, medical expenses, and funeral expenses.
As the “no fault” name implies, no fault benefits are recoverable regardless of who is at fault for an auto accident. Moreover, no fault benefits are recoverable for a wide range accidents: basically any accidental injury involving the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle – with some exceptions. This means an auto accident victim can even recover no fault benefits if the accident victim was a pedestrian, performing auto maintenance, getting into or out of the automobile, or even sitting on or leaning on the automobile at the time they were injured. An auto collision is not required for no fault benefits to be recoverable.
2) Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages related to an auto accident are recoverable from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier. In the event that the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, an auto accident injury victim may recover pain and suffering damages from the auto accident injury victim’s own auto insurance carrier if the auto accident injury victim had an uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy in effect with his or her own auto insurance carrier at the time of the accident. If you have been in an auto accident and you want to know the details of your insurance coverages, the various auto insurance policy coverages are detailed on the “declaration page” you likely received with your proof of insurance.
Under Michigan Compiled Law 500.3135, an auto accident victim may recover pain and suffering damages if the victim suffered death, serious impairment of a body function, or permanent serious disfigurement. “Serious impairment of a body function” is typically found wherever an auto accident victim’s injuries somehow impair their ability to lead their normal life. “Permanent serious disfigurement” usually includes, at minimum, any visible scarring. Notably, pre-existing injuries do not preclude personal injury claims, and, in fact, aggravations of pre-existing injuries are actionable.