In many states, the rules for filing a personal injury claim resulting from a car accident are simple; if another driver causes the car crash and your subsequent injuries, you can sue. However, the laws in Michigan are much more complicated, and they don’t always protect the injured. If you have been hurt in an automobile accident, it’s important that you understand your rights and know what type of claim you may file – otherwise, you may end up losing the opportunity to recover damages for your injuries.
Understanding First Party and Third Party Claims in Michigan Auto Accidents
In Michigan, there are two types of automobile accident claims; first party claims and third-party claims. Michigan is a no-fault insurance state – meaning that you may file a third party lawsuit against the other driver for pain and suffering, medical costs, etc., only if you have what is known as a threshold injury (serious impairment or disfigurement), If you don’t have a threshold injury, you will file a claim against the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) that is included in your own no-fault auto insurance.
First party claims can be filed for purely economic benefits, including:
- Medical bills not paid by health insurance, and mileage for doctor visits;
- Lost wages;
- Replacement services – meaning, if you must pay someone to handle duties that you are unable to perform as a result of your injuries; and
- Nursing care.
First party benefits are also available regardless of fault, so even if the car wreck was completely your fault, you can file a claim.
Third party claims can be filed if you have suffered from a threshold injury and your accident was caused by another driver. Third party claims are filed against the other driver’s insurance company. Depending upon your case, if you are eligible to file a third party claim you may file for the following benefits:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Replacement services; and
- Pain and suffering.
The latter benefit is probably the most important one, because it often enables the accident victim or family to obtain a higher compensation amount in recognition of the severity of the injuries.
Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident in Michigan
Whether your injuries merit a first party or third party claim, talking to a qualified car accident attorney is an important step toward securing compensation. The car accident claims process can seem daunting, but our goal is to ensure that you and your family obtain fair compensation based on your injuries. If you or someone you love has suffered a personal injury in Michigan from a car accident, please call the Michigan auto lawyers at 313-438-4357, or contact us online for a free evaluation of your case. We’re seasoned car accident lawyers who serve Macomb County and beyond, and we’ll put our experience to work for you.