Do you live in Ohio and commute into Michigan for work every day, or visit your cottage on a lake each summer? You may be unaware that Michigan has changed its laws regarding out-of-state drivers involved in accidents in Michigan. Michigan is a no-fault state, and many drivers from Ohio and surrounding states may assume they are covered under their no-fault laws. This is not always the case, but there are ways to protect yourself and your property.
As Ohio drivers commute from cities such as Toledo, they may be unprepared if they are involved in an accident in Michigan. In July 2020, Michigan changed its laws as they apply to out-of-state drivers, making it difficult for those motorists to be covered under the Michigan no-fault laws. Before July 2020, out-of-state drivers in an automobile accident could access many of the Michigan accident liability laws, which paid for lost wages, medical costs, and other related expenses.
Updates to Michigan Accident Laws for Ohio Drivers
Michigan changed its laws, so Ohio and all out-of-state drivers are not covered under their no-fault benefits unless “the person was not a resident of this state, but the person owned a motor vehicle that was registered and insured in this state,” Michigan Code 500.3113(c) states.
You are no longer covered under the no-fault benefits unless you have a vehicle registered and insured in Michigan. These new laws can present problems for Ohio drivers that regularly commute to Michigan because they have added requirements for out-of-state drivers to add a no-fault policy to their existing policy. The law requires any Ohio drivers driving over 30 days a year in Michigan to carry a no-fault policy with an insurer licensed in Michigan if they regularly drive in the state. If an Ohio Driver does not follow the rules, they can be penalized if they are in an accident, or if it is otherwise discovered they regularly drive in Michigan and do not carry a no-fault policy. These penalties include:
- Up to 1 year in jail and a fine between $200 and $500.
- Denial of no-fault coverage of medical expenses and any lost wages.
- Loss of pain and suffering compensation.
- No recovery under the mini-tort law.
One of the costliest penalties for not carrying no-fault Michigan insurance is if you are held financially responsible for the expenses, including lost wages, medical bills, and vehicle damage. You can be liable for costs even if you were not at fault for causing the accident but failed to carry the no-fault insurance.
- If you drive over 30 days in Michigan a year and live out of state, you are required to carry a no-fault insurance policy.
- If you drive over 90 days in Michigan and live out of state, you must register and insure your vehicle with Michigan.
- You are covered under Michigan’s no-fault benefits if you live out of state as long as your vehicle is registered and insured in Michigan.
For example, you commute daily from Toledo, Ohio, into Michigan for work, and while sitting at a stop light, a pickup truck runs the light and hits your vehicle. Upon arrival, the police cite the other driver for being at fault for causing the accident, so you assume they will be responsible for the damage. After the accident, they inform you that because you regularly drove in Michigan and did not have no-fault insurance, you are now financially responsible for the damages and medical costs of the driver that was at fault and caused the accident. Situations like this can cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the damage and injuries.
Contact Our Lawyers
Accidents that occur out of state can seem even more confusing because each state has different laws and procedures. The attorneys at Charles Boyk have experience handling cases for Ohio residents who were in an auto accident in Michigan. Our attorneys understand that auto accidents can create stress and worry, so we act with compassion and empathy while explaining your options. Contact our attorneys for a confidential, free assessment of your case today.