We’re getting close to spring break! And that means many of us are headed out of state, either by plane or a road trip. But what happens if you are unfortunately involved in a car crash in another state? What are your rights? Grand Rapids auto crash attorney, Tom Sinas of Sinas Dramis Law Firm gives us some basic reminders about car crashes and auto insurance coverage in other states this week on “Know the Law.”
With the changes to Michigan’s Auto No-Fault Law, an out-of-state resident’s only legal remedy is now through tort law. This means that any recovery must be brought through a lawsuit against the driver responsible for the collision. Now, all forms of economic loss, including medical expenses, can be pursued in tort – with a few caveats.
In order to pursue a claim, the out-of-state resident must have sustained what is called a “threshold” injury. In short, a threshold injury is severe enough it impacts daily life.
Every tort claim is subject to the modified comparative fault rule under Section 3135. Therefore, if the out-of-state resident is found the be more than 50 percent at fault for the collision, they are ineligible to recover anything for their losses.
An unfortunate side effect of this already problematic reform is the additional impact on Michigan residents. Now that out-of-state drivers involved in Michigan accidents are only eligible to cover their losses under tort law, Michiganders are liable for the injured party’s medical expenses. This is regardless of whether or not the Michigan driver has an unlimited no-fault PIP policy.
Because out-of-state drivers must now recover all damages through tort, Michigan drivers found to be 51 percent or more responsible for the accident are on the line for all the injured party’s damages.
As insurers begin selling PIP “choice” options that cap a victim’s PIP benefits, Michiganders are at risk of unknowingly purchasing coverage short of what they need to protect themselves in the case of an accident. This could result in a lifetime of debt and lost access to necessary care for injured victims. The best way for Michigan residents to protect themselves under this reform is to increase their liability insurance limits to as much as they can afford.
To learn more, visit sinasdramis.comor call 616-301-3333.
Sponsored by Sinas Dramis Law Firm. Information from the article provided by Sinas Dramis Law Firm Blog.