Under Michigan no-fault auto insurance, a driver can only be sued under certain circumstances. The limited property damage liability, or mini-tort, provision of the no-fault law creates another situation in which you can sue or be sued.
Under mini-tort, if you are 50 percent or more at fault in an accident, and damages to the other driver's car are not completely covered by his or her insurance, you may be sued and may have to pay up to $500 in damages.
This also means that you may sue the other driver for damages to your car which are not covered by your insurance if the other driver is 50 percent or more at fault. For example, if you have standard collision insurance with a $200 deductible, and are involved in an accident for which you are less than 50 percent at fault, you can sue the other driver to recover your deductible. If you only have PLPD then you would sue for the full $500.
A lawsuit brought under the mini tort provision of MI law should begin in a small claims court, or a municipal court. Law allows that either party may have the case moved to a higher court, however if this is done then the party who asks for the case to be moved may have to pay court costs if he or she does not win the case.
Damages awarded are based on the percentage of fault a driver is found to be responsible for in the accident. Thus the amount the person being sued will have to pay will be based on the amount of fault. For example, if the damage is $100 and the person being sued is 75 percent at fault and loses the case, he or she may have to pay the other driver $75.
The mandatory Michigan no-fault insurance coverages (PLPD) do not cover this additional $500 liability. Insurance companies usually offer this coverage as an optional coverage which you may purchase for an extra cost and call this coverage limited property damage liability. So if the at fault party has this coverage then their insurance may pay out the mini tort amount.
If you have more questions about how to file a suit with regards to mini tort you may get advice from a lawyer or try contacting the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) Toll Free (877)999-6442. OFIS is the state agency that regulates insurance in Michigan.