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Private property, no fault accident...who will pay for the damages and what should i do?

Ann Arbor, MI |

I was in a parking lot, waiting for a car to back out so I could take their spot. while I was waiting a van backed into me. I had a little damage and the other person had a scratch. I called the police and had a report written, they told me it was a no fault accident. Who is going to pay to get my car fixed and will my statefarm insurance rise?

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Attorney answers 2


Under Michigan law, you are entitled to make a Mini Tort claim for vehicle damage from your car accident. Unfortunately, Michigan limits property damage liability, and your ability to recover under the mini-tort is capped at up to $500 of your vehicle repair costs. You can then turn to your own insurance company if you had purchased optional additional car repair insurance. If you have not, then even if the damage to your car is greater than $500, you will still be limited to $500 under the mini tort law. See
for an example of a mini tort letter and more information on recovering vehicle repair costs after a motor vehicle accident.
Also, under the Michigan No Fault Act, the State of Michigan has mandated coverage for personal injury protection, property protection such as road signs, fences and buildings, and residual liability coverage for cases where death or injury are involved. The state does not, however, require collision coverage. That is where the limited property damage liability or mini-tort provision comes into play.
There are varying degrees of collision insurance, but generally speaking it covers the cost of repairs to the driver's own vehicle. Repairs can get costly.
If you are without collision coverage on your car, or your coverage is limited, and you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can recoup some of your out-of-pocket costs to fix your car via the mini-tort.
How much you can recover depends on how much fault you bear. For example, let's say the damage to your car amounts to $100 and the other driver is deemed 75 percent at fault for the accident. Then he or she would pay $75.
These cases are normally handled in a small claims court, but either party may ask to have the case moved up to a higher jurisdiction.


Let me tackle your questions one at a time...

Q: Who is going to pay to get your car fixed
A: Depends on your coverage with your own insurance company. If you can prove the van was at fault for backing into you, then if you have paid a deductible or you paid to repair your own car, then you can seek up to $500 from them (yes, only up to $500). This limitation is outlined in our no-fault law. If their insurance company does not willingly pay the $500, then you will need to sue them in small claims court.

I wrote some sample letters to assist people with this process. Please see the following website for guidance.:

Q: Will your State Farm insurance rise?
A: It is certainly possible. State Farm does not publicize their methods for determining a rise in rates; however, State Farm seems to always lead the pack (not in a good way) when it comes to reported complaints with the State of Michigan.,1607,7-154-10555_12902_12916-150896--,00.html

I wish you the best,
Thomas James
Attorney at Law

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