If you are considering a Third Party claim against an at-fault driver, MCL 500.3135 controls everything from whether you can sue at all to what damages you will receive.

Third Party Threshold Injuries

Michigan no-fault law trades the efficiency of First Party PIP claims for limits on a person’s right to sue a Third Party at-fault driver. To win a Third Party lawsuit, the injured motorist must have suffered:

  • Death
  • Permanent serious disfigurement, or
  • Serious impairment of body function.

To prove “serious impairment of body function” you and your auto accident attorney will need to show an “objectively manifested impairment” of an important body function that affects the person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life.

Whether that is true or not can be decided by a judge prior to trial unless there is a significant question of fact regarding your impairment.

Often, those questions will come up in the area of traumatic brain injury or closed-head injuries. In those cases, a “licensed allopathic or osteopathic physician” in the practice of treating closed-head injuries will need to testify to your serious neurological injury.

Comparative Fault

If you are partially to blame for the auto accident, your damages will be based on your relative degree of fault. If you are more than 50% at fault, or were driving without mandatory auto insurance, your Third Party lawsuit won’t succeed.

Third Party Damages

The Michigan No-Fault act limits what damages you can receive in a Third Party lawsuit. If you are allowed to bring a Third Party lawsuit, you will only be able to recover for:

  • Intentionally caused harm to persons or property. This does not include damage caused because the driver was attempting to avoid injuring another person or damaging other property.
  • Noneconomic losses like pain and suffering, long-term disability, and disfigurement. Your spouse may also be able to collect for loss of support or companionship.
  • Allowable expenses, work loss, and survivor’s loss beyond what is covered by your First Party PIP claim. This could be based on your daily, monthly, or long-term needs.
  • Economic loss by a nonresident beyond what is covered by that person’s First Party PIP claim. Nonresidents can only claim $500,000.00 in medical expenses, wage loss, and allowable expenses from their auto insurance companies for car crashes in Michigan. If there is no other source for recovery, the nonresident can include those damages in their Third Party case.
  • Up to $1,000.00 for damage to a motor vehicle, but only if that damage was not paid for by insurance. This is referred to as a “mini-tort” claim.

The team at Christensen Law is ready to help you file your Third Party lawsuit and get compensated for the damages you suffered because of your serious auto accident. Contact Christensen Law today for a free initial consultation.