Michigan’s Mini-Tort Law

Michigan’s Mini-Tort Law

Posted on:
December 29, 2015
Auto Accident
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Getting in a car accident can result in expensive property damage, but often, a driver’s insurance policy does not cover the entire cost of repairs. Michigan’s mini-tort law provides that a motorist involved in an accident can recover a limited amount of compensation for vehicle damage from the at-fault driver, to the extent that the damage is not covered by insurance.

The Law

The mini-tort law allows drivers to recover up to $1,000 in compensation for vehicle damage from the at-fault driver. In order to recover, the other driver must bear at least 50 percent of the fault for the accident. A driver may bring a mini-tort claim if:

  • The driver’s vehicle is damaged by a negligent driver;
  • The vehicle is insured by Michigan no-fault insurance; and
  • The vehicle either has no collision coverage or is covered by standard collision coverage with a deductible.

A driver will not be able to recover damages under the mini-tort law in a hit-and-run situation, because in order to recover, he or she must be aware of the identity of the at-fault driver.

The driver may recover compensation for vehicle damage only to the extent that the damage is not covered by insurance, and only up to the $1,000 limit. For example, a driver is hit by another motorist and suffers $3,000 in damage to his vehicle. The driver has collision coverage with a $2,000 deductible. The insurance policy will cover $1,000 of the damage, and the driver can sue the other motorist for $1,000, but the driver will have to pay the remainder on his own, because neither the insurance nor the mini-tort action will cover the amount.

The mini-tort law only applies as long as the at-fault driver carries driver’s insurance. If the negligent driver is uninsured, then there is no limitation to liability, and the $1,000 limit does not apply. The mini-tort law does not shield uninsured drivers from liability.

Collision Coverage

Michigan motor vehicle law requires drivers in to buy collision coverage to ensure that damage to their own vehicles is repaired after an accident, even if the accident was another driver’s fault. Drivers may purchase either standard collision coverage or broad collision coverage.

Under standard collision coverage, a driver whose car is damaged must pay for the damage up to the deductible amount, whether or not the crash was the driver’s fault. These drivers may use the mini-tort law to recover up to $1,000 of the deductible amount. If a driver’s deductible is over $1,000, he or she risks not being able to recover the full amount of the vehicle damage.

Broad collision coverage is more expensive, but means that if the driver was less than 50 percent at fault in the accident, then the deductible amount is waived. Thus, there are no out-of-pocket expenses for vehicle damage if the driver was not at fault, so the mini-tort law does not apply.

Comparative Fault

The recoveries of drivers who are at partially at fault in will be decreased proportionately to their percentage of fault. For example, if a driver suffers $1,000 of vehicle damage in an accident, but was speeding and so is twenty percent at fault for the harm, the driver can only recover $800 of the damage.

If you have suffered property damage or personal injury because of another driver’s negligence, please contact a Flint personal injury attorney at Nickola Law today to schedule a free phone consultation.


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