Michigan Pedestrian Accidents
No-Fault Benefits & Negligence Claims Against Drivers
Pedestrians who are injured in accidents involving motor vehicles may be entitled to receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits under the Michigan No-Fault statute. In most cases, these accidents involve pedestrians who are actually struck by a car. However, physical contact isn’t necessarily a requirement. In some instances, the pedestrian may be entitled to benefits so long as the motor vehicle played a significant role in causing the pedestrian’s injuries.
Under the no-fault statute, PIP benefits are collectible regardless of fault in the accident. Therefore, in most instances, the injured pedestrian may collect such benefits so long as his or her injury stemmed from an accident involving a motor vehicle. The injured pedestrian doesn’t have to establish the motorist’s negligence in order to collect PIP benefits. However, when the driver negligence leads to collision and injury, the pedestrian may be eligible to file a second claim against the at-fault driver.
Navigating the oftentimes confusing claims process can be complicated. It’s always best to seek advice from an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney. Call us today for an initial case review to see how we can help you at 866.758.0031.
Under the Michigan No-Fault statute, an injured pedestrian may be entitled to collect the following PIP benefits:
- Reasonably necessary medical expenses associated with the injury;
- Lost wages for up to three years;
- Replacement service expenses incurred in hiring someone else to perform domestic tasks the injured pedestrian would otherwise have performed him or herself; and
- Survivor’s loss benefits, which are collectible by the estate in the unfortunate event of death.
Determining Who Pays Your Benefits
The general rule under the Michigan no-fault statute is that anyone injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle must first look to their own auto no-fault insurer for PIP benefits. This rule is applicable for injured pedestrians, meaning that an injured pedestrian who is struck by a car will look to their own no-fault policy, even though their own motor vehicle may not have been involved in the accident.
However, in many cases, pedestrians don’t have auto no-fault coverage. Many times, people who choose to walk or ride their bike commute don’t own a car and therefore don’t have a no-fault policy. If a pedestrian doesn’t have their own no-fault policy, the law allows the injured person to look elsewhere for coverage. However, Michigan law also instructs that the injured person must follow a particular priority order in seeking such coverage.
Pedestrian Accident Negligence Claims
If the driver of the motor vehicle that caused injury to a pedestrian was negligent, Michigan law allows the pedestrian to bring a negligence claim against the driver and his or her insurer. In this negligence lawsuit, the injured person may recover non-economic damages — sometimes called “pain and suffering” damages.
Injured pedestrians may also make a claim for damages against the at-fault driver for “excess economic loss.” These damages compensate the victim for their losses that extend beyond the three-year cap on no-fault PIP benefits and may include excess wage loss for someone who remains unable to work.
In addition, dependents of the injured pedestrian, such as spouses or children, may be entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver to recover for the losses they suffered as a result of the pedestrian’s injuries.
Establishing Driver Negligence
To be eligible to collect non-economic damages and excess economic damages, the injured pedestrian must show that the driver of the motor vehicle was negligent as well as this negligence caused their injury.
As a general rule, a driver has a legal duty to abide by the law. This includes the traffic laws of the jurisdiction in which he or she is driving. When a driver fails to abide by these laws and injures someone else, that conduct typically constitutes legal negligence.
Many types of evidence may be used to establish that a driver was negligent. Such evidence may include:
- reports, video or testimony from a police officer who investigated the accident.
- testimony from eyewitnesses to the accident.
- surveillance video that shows how the accident occurred.
- the victim’s testimony regarding his or her recollection of the events.
- reports from accident reconstructionists or private investigators regarding the accident.
- Learn more about negligence suits (also called “tort claims“) against at-fault drivers.
Threshold Injury Requirement
In addition to establishing the other driver’s negligence to recover non-economic damages, an injured pedestrian must also show that the injuries amounted to a “threshold injury.”
Section 3135 of the No-Fault Act says a threshold injury may be established by showing that the injury consists of one or more of the following:
- serious impairment of a body function;
- permanent serious disfigurement; or
The types of injuries that will satisfy these categories is a subject of constant reinterpretation by the Michigan courts. As a result, we encourage injured pedestrians to contact an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney as quickly as possible.