Michigan “Mini-Tort” to Increase to $1,000 on October 1

Under Michigan’s No Fault automobile insurance system, negligent drivers typically don’t pay for the property damage they cause. Instead, victims turn to their insurance carriers for property damage coverage. Since most drivers carry insurance deductibles ranging from $250 to $1,000, they face the prospect of “eating” these losses if not permitted to recoup them from either the wrongdoer or the insurance company.

The No Fault Act allows a statutory exception, widely known as the “mini-tort,” to address this inequity. Since 1995, victims have been permitted to sue the negligent driver for up to $500 to cover out-of-pocket expenses – including deductibles – resulting from the accident.

On June 27, the Michigan legislature voted to increase the mini-tort limit, recognizing the growing number of drivers who carry larger deductibles to try to contain the cost of auto insurance. Starting October 1, 2012, victims can sue to recover up to $1,000, provided the victims were not more than 50% at fault in the accident and provided they themselves maintained automobile insurance coverage.

It is always a good idea to contact your insurance agent and review your coverage. Make sure your family, your company, and you are properly protected against the many hazards highway driving presents.

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