With a no fault system in place in Michigan, you might think there is nothing to worry about if you were to get into an accident in the state. However, as with most other no fault state systems, there is still a threshold to go outside the no fault system. There are also rules and laws in place that affect how you should respond after an accident.
Steps after an Accident
The accident legislation in Michigan requires you to do a number of things if you are involved in a vehicle accident. First you have to pull your vehicle out of traffic if it is still drivable and stop. You must then immediately check if all passengers and pedestrians require medical attention. If anyone is injured you are required to get medical help and stay on scene until that help arrives.
If there are injuries or there is property damage over $1000 police also need to be called to the scene. If there are serious injuries you will want a police assessment of fault at the scene in order to assess fault to go outside the no fault system.
If there no serious injuries or property damage, you should still exchange necessary contact information, vehicle license and insurance information. However, in this case, most cases in Michigan generally get settled out of court with your own insurance through the no fault system. Even minor injuries go through the no fault system and pay for medical costs and lost wages for recovery. The statute of limitations to recover PIP benefits in the no fault system is limited to only one year.
Although the no fault system covers the majority of accidents in Michigan, those accidents that result in serious or permanent disfigurement or a serious loss of bodily function you can step outside the no fault system and sue for damages in court with an at fault judgement. This can also include pain and suffering damages not available in the no fault system. The statute of limitations on this type of action is limited to 3 year after the accident.
Also, if you go outside the no fault system for a serious injury caused by an accident, Michigan is a 50 percent bar rule comparative fault state. This means that if you are found more than 50% at fault for the accident you will receive no recovery damages for the accident, even if there are others also at fault. Within this rule your damages are also reduced by the same at fault portion you are assigned by the court. So if you are found 20% at fault for the accident, any damages award will also be reduced by 20%. Generally you could be found at fault for minor moving violations like speeding, rolling stops, failing to yield or even an improper working vehicle.
A car accident attorney in Michigan should still be consulted in regards to the mediation with your insurance in regards to the no fault system. Often having a lawyer at your side ensures you receive your full entitlement without anything being left out.
The moving violations traffic point system in Michigan is a little different than in most states in the way your points are dealt with, should you go over the 12 points in 2 years threshold. Points are assigned for moving violations from 2 points to 6 points, depending on the violation but include recreational vehicles like snowmobiles, quads and boats.
However, should you collect 12 demerits in under 2 years you will be subject to a Driver Assessment Reexamination. Essentially you will be called to appear before an assessment office for them to determine your driving privileges. Depending on your infractions you could be subject to vision, knowledge and road skills testing. Depending on your answers and scores you could be subject to restrictions, suspension or revocation of your license.
However, before you reach the critical 12 points milestone you could reduce your points in Michigan by completing a state-approved Basic Driver Improvement course. However you need to confirm before you enroll if you will qualify for point reduction by taking the course.
Michigan has one of the most comprehensive and widely sweeping driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charges, including three separate charges to ensure no one falls through the impaired cracks.
Operating While Visibly Impaired is the most subjective, considering it is charged solely based on the arresting officer’s visible judgment of your impairment. If you “appear” to be impaired, enforcement officers can charge you with OWVI. This charge allows for up to 90 days license suspension, 93 days in jail, 360 hours of community service, extra fees and possible vehicle mobilization.
Operating While Intoxicated refers to drugs or alcohol and can refer to your Blood Alcohol Concentration level being over the national and state limit of 0.8%.
While Operating With any Presence of a Schedule 1 Drug or Cocaine (OWPD) refers to being intoxicate by any drug in the schedule during a field test or a chemical test at a hospital. This charge can be laid if any amount of these substances are found within your blood. OWI and OWPD result in 5 to 1 year in jail, 30-90 days of community service, 1 year license suspension, have license plate taken away, unable to move the vehicle for 90 to 180 days, possible loss of vehicle and a fine and extra fees. Implied consent laws in Michigan mandate you submit to chemical testing or face automatic license suspension.
When facing accident charges, moving violations or OWI charges in Michigan your best course of action is to get professional help.