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Michigan: A no-fault system that works for the injured

You were driving on the highway at night when you noticed something strange ahead. Suddenly, you realize that there is a traffic accident just a few hundred feet ahead of you. You try to stop, but you can't. Now, you're involved in an accident, and you need medical care. Do you need to figure out who is at fault? What can you do to make sure your medical bills are paid?

In 1973, Michigan adopted a no-fault system to increase the benefits to injured people in traffic accidents. This no-fault policy means that there are unlimited medical and rehabilitation benefits for each individual who carries it. It also provides wage-loss benefits for up to three years.

These rights come at a cost. Accepting these benefits means that those in Michigan can't sue for an accident unless someone was seriously injured or killed. However, since that's the case, a person's medical care bills will never be delayed due to waiting for a determination of fault.

Do you have to have no-fault insurance?

Under Michigan law, you must purchase no-fault insurance. Every car in the state must be insured, too, and each car owner needs to have coverage to get license plates. Not having this insurance and getting caught can lead to fines of up to $500 and a jail term of up to one year. You could face both in some cases. Other fines and costs may be charged to you as well, based on the Driver Responsibility Law.

If you're concerned about your accident and want to know if you can pursue further compensation, your attorney can help you understand Michigan's laws.

Source: Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, "A Consumer's Guide to No-Fault Auto Insurance in Michigan," accessed April 07, 2017

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