If you are injured in a car accident in Michigan, there are two distinct categories of damages which you may recover from an at-fault driver (and their insurance company) that are not included in the PIP benefits that you may recover from your own insurance company.
Non-Economic Damages When Injured In A Car Accident
Noneconomic damages consist of those losses that affect your quality of life if you’ve been injured in a car accident. Such losses include:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of function;
- diminished social pleasure and enjoyment;
- mental anguish and emotional distress; and
- scarring and disfigurement.
However, it is important to remember that in order to bring a claim for non-economic damages, your injuries must satisfy Michigan’s “threshold injury” requirement. Because the standard for what constitutes a ‘threshold injury’ is subject to change, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced Michigan accident lawyer in order to determine if your injuries entitle you to pursue a claim for non-economic damages.
Excess Economic Loss Damages
Excess-economic loss damages are those past, present, and future expenses that are not covered by your no-fault PIP benefits. These include damages for lost wages that exceed the 85% statutory maximum for PIP benefits, or wage loss beyond the three year period covered by PIP benefits.
However, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided in the case of Johnson v Recca, 492 Mich 169 (2012), that excess economic loss damages do not include expenses for replacement service beyond what is covered by an individual’s PIP benefits.
No ‘Threshold Injury’ Requirement For Excess Economic Loss Damages
It is also important to note that – unlike claims for noneconomic damages – you do not need not prove a ‘threshold injury’ in order to recover damages for excess economic loss. Therefore, you can recover damages for your excess economic loss even if your injuries do not rise to the level of ‘serious impairment of body function’ or ‘permanent serious disfigurement.’
In this video, Grand Rapids auto accident lawyer Tom Sinas discusses a troublesome tactic being used by some insurance companies to limit their tort liability to an insured’s relatives: inserting “step-down” clauses into auto insurance policies.