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  • Writer's pictureEzra N. Goldman

No Fault 101

No fault confounds people and for good reason -- it is complicated! Even some car accident lawyers don't understand it fully. This blog will not answer all your questions but may clear things up a bit.

The No Fault Act makes Michigan one of the states where, when a car accident occurs, we don't care whose fault it is, as to some things. This means your own insurance has to fix your car. Your own insurance has to pay your medical bills. And you are out of luck as to pain and suffering. EXCEPT, you can collect a "mini tort" that helps pay the insurance deductible on the damage to your car. AND you can get money for pain and suffering, if you sustained death, disfigurement or a serious impairment of a body function. We all know what death and disfigurement mean but the court's view on "serious impairment" has swung back and forth through the years like a pendulum. There was a time when every claim of vague neck pain was a case. Then there was a time when a broken ankle from a car accident was still not a case. Now we are in a more reasonable time, where more serious injuries are a case and lesser ones are not.

A car accident gives rise to two potential law suits, commonly known as the 1st party suit and the 3rd party suit.

The 1st party lawsuit is called by this name because it is against your own insurer. The 3rd party case is against the other driver.

The first party insurance company, your own, has to pay for your medicine and medical treatment. It has to pay your lost wages for the first three years. It has to for your attendant care, if needed, and for someone to clean your house and do other services, up to $20 a day. And they have to pay these things in a timely way, or be subject to interest.

The third party carrier pays for your pain and suffering and your lost wages beyond three years. They have to pay for humiliation associated with a scar or deformity.

When I say they "have to pay," it certainly doesn't mean they will. Sometimes, insurance adjusters are nice and fair and honest and pay the valid claims. Often, they do not and you have to have an top notch car accident attorney sue them to get your due.

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