It may seem a little hard to believe, but your no-fault insurance won’t cover intentional harm done to you with a vehicle. But you should file a claim anyway, because issues of intentional harm aren’t as clear as they first appear.
No-Fault Benefits and Intentional Harm
If you cause intentional harm to yourself or others while driving your car, you won’t be able to turn to your no-fault auto insurance provider to cover your medical bills. Your no-fault insurance will still apply unless you intended the action and the injury. For example, if a person attempts suicide by running her car off the road, the insurance company isn’t required to pay no-fault benefits to her or her family.
But, if the intentional act was done to protect yourself, others, or property, you can still be covered. If instead of attempting suicide, a driver runs his car off the road after he swerves to miss a child, then the Michigan No-Fault Act does not consider that “intentional harm.” The driver’s no-fault insurance policy will cover any injuries he suffered from his defensive maneuver.
Intentional Harm Done By Others
Things get a bit more difficult if the harm you suffer was caused by someone else. Michigan law requires insurance companies to “pay benefits for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.” Where someone is trying to do you harm, that harm is not accidental.
Often whether the other person’s behavior was intentional is not clear when the accident happens. In those cases, it’s a good idea to file a claim with your no-fault insurance provider and start a Third Party lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You may also be entitled to restitution payments if the driver is convicted of criminal charges related to your injury.
The Third Party lawsuit is still worth your time, though, because Michigan law lets you sue for more kinds of damage in intentional “tort” lawsuits than you can receive as no-fault benefits from your insurance company. Depending on your case, you may be able to recover money awards for pain, suffering, distress, permanent disability, and long-term wage loss that would otherwise go unpaid.
Understanding the difference between intentional harm and negligence can be difficult, especially for a family going through loss. If you or a loved one has been hurt by a vehicle, contact the Michigan road rage lawyers at Christensen Law for a free consultation. They will take a look at your case and help you understand your options.