The Michigan car accident lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. are often asked about car repairs and the types of insurance claims for property damage following a car accident. Generally, your own insurance company pays for repairs to your car through collision insurance. You may be able to get a portion of that amount paid by the other driver or the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Michigan Property Damage & No-Fault Insurance
Drivers are not required to purchase a collision insurance policy by the Michigan No Fault Act. For this reason, collision insurance is different from the basic No Fault Insurance policy that is required by law. Even though the law does not require a driver to buy collision insurance, it is still usually a good idea to purchase a policy if you can afford one. The reason for this is that if you do not have collision insurance, you will have to pay for the repairs to your car even if you were not at fault in the accident. If you were not at fault, you may be able to collect $1000.00 from the negligent driver in a "mini-tort claim," but this is the maximum you will be able to collect. If you were at fault, you will not be able to collect anything.
If you do have collision insurance, your insurance company will pay for your car repairs. There are three forms of collision insurance and the type of policy you buy determines what exactly your insurance company will pay.
- Limited Collision Coverage: Your insurance company pays for the repairs in an accident that was less than 50% your fault, but you have to pay the deductible. In an accident that is more than 50% your fault, the insurance company pays nothing and you have to pay the full cost of repairs unless you win a $1,000.00 mini-tort claim against the other driver.
- Standard Collision Coverage: Your insurance company pays for the repairs and it does not matter whose fault the accident was. You still have to pay the deductible.
- Broad Collision Coverage: Your insurance company pays for the repairs regardless of who was at fault. You have to pay the deductible if you were more than 50% at fault, but you do not have to pay the deductible if you were less than 50% at fault.
Understanding Your Rights: Property Damage in a Michigan Accident
So far, we have been talking about repairs to your car, but what if the other car is damaged?
First, DO NOT offer to pay for repairs to the other person's car, even if you believe you were at fault. Such a statement is admissible in court if the other person files a lawsuit, and you may be liable for significantly more money than the law would require you to pay. Also, most accidents happen so fast, it is often impossible for one driver to determine accurately who was at fault. The best way to determine fault is to have both sides tell their stories and to use evidence from the police report, accident reconstruction experts, and witnesses who were not involved in the accident themselves.
Next, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS under the law. If you have insurance for your car, the most you will have to pay for repairs to the other car is the deductible for the other car. The maximum amount is $1,000.00. If the other car is uninsured, the other driver may elect to pursue a mini-tort claim against you, and the most you would have to pay is $1000.00, even if the total costs of repair are much higher. Moreover, many times your own insurance company will pay the deductible or the mini-tort award.
The best thing to do is consult with our experienced Michigan car accident attorneys to determine exactly what type of coverage you have and who has to pay for what in an accident. You should also contact your car insurance agent to evaluate whether the type of insurance policy you have is best suited to your needs.
Free Michigan Car Accident Handbook
If you would like more information about your rights after a Michigan car accident, you can order our FREE book, "The Ultimate Michigan Car Accident Handbook" written by award winning lawyer Lawrence J. Buckfire. We will send it out immediately along with other important information.
Michigan Car Accident No Fee Promise
We do not charge any legal fees to get started on your case. We will pay all case costs and litigation expenses as well. We are able to do this because of our No Fee Promise, which promises that you will not spend a single penny unless we are able to award you a settlement. If you case is unsuccessful for any reason, you will owe us nothing at all. We put that in writing for you.
Contact Our Michigan Auto Accident Property Damage Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident or has a question about a property damage claim, our team of expert lawyers can help you. Call us today at (800) 606-1717 to speak with an experienced attorney. If you have a claim, we will begin work on your case immediately.
Remember, there are very strict time deadlines for filing Michigan car accident lawsuits and property damage claims so it important you contact us as soon as possible after your accident. If you miss a deadline, your case may be lost forever.