Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Make them pay!

I recently got into an accident with a city service company. I won't say which company it is, because I'm pretty sure they don't want people to know about it, and I wouldn't want to tarnish their image because they've taken care of this quickly and reasonably.

But the story goes as thus... at 12 a.m. at a friend's house on my day off, the doorbell rings and a policeman is waiting to tell me my car has been hit. Having parked half on the lawn and half on the street, this is the sort of thing that makes you want to kick yourself in the face. So I wander outside, and sure enough my parked car has a medium-sized dent where the driver's side quarter panel and door meet. I could not open the door, but it's drivable, as long as I enter the car from the passenger side and climb over the mid console in my teeny tiny Sunfire two door. It was an annoyance, but that is beside the point...

The point of this post is that I learned quite a few things about Michigan law over the past week in getting all of this handled. And I thought I'd share what those laws are so that if others find themselves in this situation with a less cooperative party than the one I worked with, you'll know your options.

First, I learned that accidents that are written up with absolute clear fault on one party or the other wave the no-fault law that Michigan accidents currently operate under. Now don't get excited, because this doesn't happen often. The only reason it applies to me is because I wasn't even in the vehicle. Someone just backed into my parked car when turning around in the opposite driveway. So when this happens, that guilty person is required by law to supply or give money for a rental car during the time which the damaged vehicle is undergoing repairs. Great law. I'm driving a rental that I won't have to shell out for while they fix my car. Thank god, too, because I'm under 25 and the rates are through the roof for renting to people my age.

The other thing I learned, is that when this situation occurs and the no-fault is waived, the guilty party has the option to put the accident through their own insurance rather than having it go through the insurance of the person they hit. Depending on deductibles and whether or not rates may increase for certain parties, this is a nice option to have. But additionally, if in the end the accident IS claimed by the person whose vehicle was damaged, the guilty party must pay the deductible. This is why the two parties will want to discuss which insurance to use.

Car repairs and accidents are a royal pain. Whether it's your fault or not, paying for it all or paying for none, they're still an annoyance and stressful. Hopefully it doesn't happen to you anytime soon or ever. But the likelihood that it will is fairly high, and especially right now (according to the repair shops I appraised with, the accident rate is extremely high right now), so I hope some of this information leaves you better prepared and collected if you find yourself in a similar situation. But good luck and drive safe.


Blogger The Manchester Enterprise said...

Since I moved to Michigan my car has been hit twice. True, once was my fault for cruising too fast in the snow and slamming into a mailbox post on Austin Road

May 18, 2009 at 3:57 PM  

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