No-fault insurance is required by law in Michigan. Every car owner must purchase certain basic coverage before they can get license plates. If you have an auto accident, no-fault insurance pays for your medical expenses, wage loss benefits, replacement services, and certain other damages.
There are two basic types of claims involved with auto accidents in Michigan: first-party claims and third-party claims. A first-party claim is a claim against your own insurance company under the policy or contract you entered into. In other words, a first-party claim is contractual in nature. A third-party claim, as the name implies, is a claim against a third party that was at fault in the accident. A third-party claim is based in tort law (i.e. negligence). Certain statutory requirements must be met before you can bring a third-party claim. For instance, your injuries must meet a statutorily defined threshold of seriousness. First-party and third-party claims also differ in the types of damages that can be recovered in each type of suit.
Michigan’s no-fault act provides tort immunity for property damage, so automobile accident driver’s cannot sue the at-fault driver for damages to his or her vehicle. The no-fault act provides an exception known as mini-tort, which allows an individual to recoup out-of-pocket costs up to $1,000 for vehicle damage repairs from an at-fault driver, for amounts not covered by insurance. This exception only applies if the victim is not more than 50 percent at fault in the accident. Owners or registrants of an uninsured vehicle are not able to recover mini-tort damages.
Michigan’s No-Fault Act can be found at MCL § 500.3101, et seq.