Michigan Mini Tort Laws
Michigan mini-tort laws protect insured drivers from expensive property damage claims while giving accident victims a means of recovering up to $1,000 in repair expenses. Mini tort accident laws only apply to property damage not to injury claims.
Paying for Vehicle Repairs
The mini-tort was not designed to compensate you for the total repair of your vehicle. Instead, it was designed to help you recover crash related out of pocket expenses like paying for your deductible. The law works best for drivers who have collision insurance that will pay for vehicle accident repairs.
Under the mini-tort law, drivers who carry at least basic no-fault insurance are protected under the law from expensive vehicle damage claims that are over $1,000. Be aware, if you cause an accident and do not have no-fault insurance, you will be liable for your victim’s vehicle repairs.
Comparative Fault Can Reduce Compensation
Though the law allows you to seek up to $1,000 for vehicle damage, the amount you actually receive may be reduced depending on your percentage of fault. For example, if you were in an accident and the other driver was deemed 70 percent responsible while you were deemed 30 percent at fault, your mini-tort recovery will be reduced by 30 percent. If you are more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you will not receive mini-tort compensation.
Deductibles and Mini Tort Claims
Because of Michigan’s mini tort laws, Michigan drivers can reduce insurance costs by carrying a higher deductible. You can carry up to a $1,000 deductible, knowing that if you are involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you can recover up to $1,000 for vehicle damage.
However, if you have a lower deductible, your mini-tort claim will be limited to the amount of your deductible or if your vehicle damage repair costs are less than your deductible your claim will be limited to the lesser of the two amounts.
Uninsured Drivers and Your Vehicle Damage
Too many Michigan drivers are not insured, and when they cause accidents, the law does not protect them. The whole no-fault system works best when drivers accept their responsibility and carry the minimum insurance coverage. Uninsured vehicle owners are responsible for all vehicle damage resulting from accidents they cause, and the mini-tort protections do not apply to them. However, if the amount of damage is more than $3,000, you will file a lawsuit in district court instead of an insurance claim.
Motorcycle Accidents and Mini-Tort Laws
Unfortunately, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles in Michigan and are not covered under mini-tort claims. Motorcycle owners are responsible for any damage caused their bikes, even if they are not at fault for the crash. Owners who have collision insurance on their motorcycles will be able to make a claim with their own insurance. One exception to the rule is motorcycles that are damaged while they are properly parked are covered under property protection insurance.