Everything You Need To Know About Michigan’s No-Fault Mini Tort Law

Michigan operates under a no-fault auto insurance system. This means drivers injured in an accident turn to their own auto insurance company to pay medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.

The no-fault system also includes the “mini tort” provision that allows accident victims to recover up to $3,000 from the at-fault driver for vehicle damage.

Below is a comprehensive guide to Michigan’s no-fault mini tort law including how it works, recovery limits, filing claims, and more.

What is the Michigan Mini Tort Law?

The Michigan mini tort law is part of the no-fault insurance system. It allows accident victims to recover up to $3,000 from the at-fault driver for vehicle damage such as repair costs and deductibles.

Key things to know:

  • Applies to at-fault driver’s liability insurance or the driver personally
  • Maximum payout increased from $1,000 to $3,000 in July 2020
  • Covers repair costs, rental cars, deductibles, etc.
  • Does not cover injuries, lost wages, medical bills (that’s no-fault insurance)

The mini tort provides accident victims compensation for vehicle damage that may not be fully covered by their own collision insurance.

Who is Eligible to File a Mini Tort Claim?

Any Michigan accident victim can file a mini tort claim against the at-fault driver to recover vehicle damages. It does not matter if you were a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, or pedestrian.

You must prove:

  • The other driver was primarily at-fault for the accident
  • You suffered vehicle damages like repair bills or rental car costs

If you did not suffer any vehicle damage in the accident, you cannot make a mini tort claim. However, you may still have a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver separate from the mini tort.

What Does the Mini Tort Law Cover?

The Michigan mini tort provides compensation for vehicle-related damages only. This includes:

  • Repair or replacement costs
  • Towing charges
  • Rental car expenses while yours is in the shop
  • Damage to personal property inside the vehicle
  • Collision insurance deductible

It does not cover any injury-related damages, which are handled through no-fault insurance:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehab costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

The mini tort is meant to cover your out-of-pocket vehicle damages directly resulting from the crash.

What Are the Mini Tort Recovery Limits?

Accident victims can recover up to $3,000 total under the mini tort law. Key limitations:

  • Increased from $1,000 max to $3,000 in July 2020
  • Applies per accident, not per vehicle or person
  • Reduced by your percentage of fault, if any

For example, if you have $2,500 in vehicle damage but were 25% at fault, the maximum you could claim is $1,875 (75% of $2,500).

The mini tort does not guarantee you will recover all your vehicle damages. It simply provides limited compensation up to $3,000 from the liable driver.

How Do You File a Michigan Mini Tort Claim?

To collect compensation under the mini tort law, you must take the following steps:

  1. Determine fault – Obtain the police report and other evidence showing the other driver’s liability.

  2. Document damages – Gather repair estimates, bills, deductible amount, and other proof of your vehicle expenses.

  3. Send demand letter – Send a letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company requesting payment of your damages under the mini tort.

  4. Negotiate claim – The insurance company will respond with an offer. Negotiate to maximize your payout.

  5. File lawsuit if needed – If you cannot reach a settlement, your remaining option is to sue the liable driver in small claims court.

An experienced auto accident attorney can handle this entire process for you and help maximize your mini tort payout.

What Happens if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?

If the at-fault driver has no liability insurance, you can still make a mini tort claim by suing the driver directly.

However, collecting will be much more difficult without insurance coverage. You may be able to garnish the driver’s wages or put a lien on their assets if they refuse to pay.

This is why uninsured motorist coverage is so important in Michigan. It covers your damages if an uninsured driver hits you.

How is Fault Determined in a No-Fault State?

Michigan is a “no-fault” state, but that does not mean accidents have no liability. The police report, witnesses, and other evidence will be used to assign fault percentages to the drivers involved.

Some key rules:

  • If one driver is 100% at fault, they are fully liable for mini tort damages
  • If fault is split, liability is assigned by percentage (e.g. 80%/20%)
  • If you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot make a liability claim

Comparative negligence applies, so your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault if any.

An experienced auto accident attorney can help investigate fault and prove the other driver’s liability after an accident.

Does the Mini Tort Also Apply to Motorcycles and Pedestrians?

The $3,000 mini tort limit does NOT apply to motorcycles or pedestrians hit by an at-fault driver.

For motorcyclists, liability claims are not restricted since motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” under no-fault.

Pedestrians also have full legal rights to recover damages from a negligent driver. The mini tort limit only applies between two at-fault motor vehicles.

How is the Mini Tort Related to No-Fault Insurance?

Michigan’s no-fault insurance system is intended to speed up claim payments and reduce litigation between drivers.

  • No-Fault covers medical, lost wages, etc. regardless of who was at fault
  • The mini tort covers vehicle damages up to $3,000 from the at-fault driver

Neither eliminates the other. Accident victims can pursue both a no-fault injury claim with their own insurer and a mini tort vehicle damage claim against the at-fault driver.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on maximizing compensation through both these options after an auto accident.

Does the Mini Tort Also Apply in Other No-Fault States?

Currently, 12 states have no-fault auto insurance systems including Michigan, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah and Puerto Rico.

However, the “mini tort” term and limits only apply in Michigan. Other no-fault states have their own provisions and laws regarding accident liability and vehicle damage recovery.

For example, Florida has a $10,000 “property damage liability” limit while New York has no specified mini tort limit at all.

Consult a local attorney to understand your rights in any no-fault state. Laws can vary widely across different jurisdictions.

Should I Hire an Attorney for a Mini Tort Claim?

Pursuing a mini tort claim involves legal demands, negotiating with insurance companies, and sometimes filing a lawsuit. Having an experienced auto accident attorney on your side can make the process smoother and maximize your payout.

Key attorney benefits:

  • Prove the other driver’s fault
  • Calculate your total damages accurately
  • Negotiate skillfully with insurance adjusters
  • Handle paperwork and documentation
  • Take the claim to court if needed

Most attorneys handle mini tort claims on a contingency basis, meaning no fees unless they win you compensation. mini tort recoveries don’t require lengthy court battles, so attorney fees just subtract from the claim amount.

Conclusion: Understanding Michigan’s No-Fault Mini Tort Law

The no-fault mini tort law in Michigan provides limited compensation up to $3,000 for accident victims who suffer vehicle damage.

This guide summarizes how the law works, who is eligible, recovery limits, filing claims, and how mini torts relate to no-fault insurance benefits.

Consult an auto accident attorney to discuss your options after an accident. A skilled lawyer can help recover both no-fault and liability payments you may be entitled to under state law.

Michigan No-Fault Insurance Changes — Mini Tort | Mason-McBride


What is the no-fault mini tort law in Michigan?

Under Michigan mini tort auto law, victims of auto accidents can only recover a maximum of $1,000 for vehicle damage from the driver who caused the crash. However, for car accidents that occur after July 1, 2020, the maximum recovery amount will increase from $1,000 to $3,000. This is called a mini tort claim.

Who pays for car damage in a no-fault state Michigan?

Collision and Comprehensive Insurance Your no-fault insurance DOES NOT pay for repairs to your car if it is damaged in an accident. If your car is properly parked and hit by another car, the other driver’s no-fault coverage will pay for the damage to your car.

What is the difference between tort and no-fault?

While drivers in no-fault states use their own coverage to pay damages regardless of fault, tort system states assign fault to one party and they are responsible for damages. With no-fault insurance, each driver uses their own auto insurance coverage to pay for their damages, regardless of who caused the crash.

Did Michigan do away with no-fault insurance?

Yes, Michigan is still a no-fault state in 2022. The Michigan no-fault law changed initially in July of 2020 and again in July of 2021.

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