What Is Michigan’s “Mini Tort” Law and How Does It Work?

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If you’re a driver in Michigan, you’ve probably heard the term “mini tort” before. What exactly is it, what does it mean for you, and how does it affect car insurance claims in the state? We’ll try to give you some quick and easy-to-understand answers here, especially in the way mini tort does—or more often doesn’t—relate to personal injury claims.

Mini Tort in Five Sentences

When Michigan adopted no-fault car insurance in 1973, the law took away most of the ability of motorists to sue each other after car crashes. The most important part of that system—personal injury protection, or PIP—was designed to make sure that anyone injured in a car accident would have their medical expenses covered.

One of the trade-offs that makes this system function is limiting lawsuits aimed at recovering property damage costs. For the most part, you can only recover up to $1,000 in damage to your vehicle from another driver. That limit—$1,000, the “mini tort”—is meant to encourage drivers to carry additional collision insurance to protect them when larger amounts are involved.

Does Mini Tort Affect Injury Claims?

Absolutely not! Mini tort applies only to vehicle damage, and only to the first $1,000. Injury claims are where PIP comes in. PIP’s place in the no-fault system is to make sure that all injury claim costs are covered, regardless of who caused them. Even when the expenses are high and need to be paid for years, PIP provides coverage by turning to the special fund established for the purpose of dealing with the costs of the most devastating catastrophic injuries.

Does No-fault Mean I Can’t Sue?

While that’s the intent, it’s not true in every case. It’s often a good idea to have a lawyer help with your claim, and it’s really a necessity to have help when you’re forced to go up against your own insurance company for denying or restricting benefits.

If you’re seriously injured in a crash, no-fault allows you to step outside the system to sue for an appropriate amount. In addition to medical expenses, a personal injury suit over harm caused in a motor vehicle accident can include other measurable costs, such as lost wages and income, as well as noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages related to the injury and its aftermath.

Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

When you or someone close to you has been the victim of a car crash, Christensen Law can help. Our experienced Detroit car accident attorneys have helped hundreds of injured motorists receive the financial compensation they deserve. Give us a call today at 248-213-4900 or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and learn what we can do for you.