Early morning, around 4:15 a.m., on Sunday, Oct. 9, near Jackson, Michigan, a vehicle accident sent 13 people to Henry Ford hospital with injuries.
The accident occurred at Lee and South Portage roads in Leoni Township, east of Jackson. Officials said a van holding ten people was traveling southbound when it ran the stop sign at Lee Road, and a passenger vehicle with five occupants was traveling westbound when it struck the van.
The crash led to 13 people being transported to Henry Ford hospital with injuries. Officials said that one person required extraction from a vehicle because they were pinned inside.
The crash is under further investigation by the Blackman-Leoni Accident Reconstruction Team. Assistance was provided on the scene by Grass Lake Township Fire Department.
What to Do if You Are Injured as a Passenger in an Auto Accident
As the accident above illustrates, accidents can occur anytime, even when you are a passenger. Many people do not know their legal rights when they are injured passengers in a car accident. You may understand how no-fault insurance impacts you when you are the driver, but how will it affect you if you are an injured passenger? We will review how Michigan’s no-fault insurance impacts passengers and what rights they have.
Injured Passengers and Michigan No-Fault Insurance
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, requiring each driver to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage will cover your lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket losses up to policy limits if you are a passenger and injured. After July 1, 2020, coverage for crash-related medical expenses for an injured passenger in a car accident in Michigan will be limited by the coverage level or PIP cap they selected in their insurance policy. (MCL 500.3107c(5))
No-Fault “order of priority” determines the order for which an auto insurance company will step up to pay for the commuter’s auto No-Fault benefits. The order of priority is as follows:
- First Priority – No-Fault insurance of the injured occupant
- Second priority – No-Fault insurance of the injured occupant’s spouse
- Third priority – No-Fault insurer of the injured occupant’s resident relative
- Fourth priority – Michigan Assigned Claims Plan
This does not include coverage of non-economic damages like pain and suffering. If you are seriously injured in an auto accident, you may be able to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver, which would include non-economic damages.
Who Do I Sue if I Am an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident?
Under Michigan law, when suing the at-fault negligent driver who caused the accident for pain and suffering, you will be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver for your injuries, pain, suffering, and any excess economic loss and excess medical bills over the No-Fault PIP cap you have.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a pain and suffering lawsuit may be filed against the at-fault driver–whether that is the negligent driver of the vehicle who struck the car you were in or the driver of the vehicle you were in.
What if I Am Not the Type of Person to Sue My Friend?
Many people who are injured as a passenger in an auto accident in a friend or family member’s car may feel they are doing something wrong if they file a claim against their friend’s insurance.
First, if you file a lawsuit, it is controlled by you, so you can request that the case only seeks compensation against their insurance company and not your friend’s assets. It is important to remember that they bought insurance for this reason: to protect themselves financially if they are involved in an accident, and someone is injured.
Many drivers consider the coverage amounts for their passengers because if an accident occurs, they want family and friends to have adequate compensation for injuries sustained in their vehicle. Therefore, you are not saving your friend or family money by not bringing a lawsuit.
You are just letting the insurance company keep the money while you find a way to cover your medical and lost income costs.
Contact an Attorney if You Were Involved in an Auto Wreck
Passengers involved in auto accidents have rights, and the attorneys at Charles Boyk Law Offices will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.