Michigan’s Mini-Tort: Compensation For Vehicle Damage In Michigan Auto Accidents

Metro Detroit Car Accident Attorney


What Is A Mini-Tort Claim? 

Under Michigan law, a person whose vehicle was damaged may recover up to $1,000.00 in small claims court from the party who caused the car accident for the damage to his or her vehicle. The mini-tort provision allows a recovery for uninsured losses relating to vehicle damage up to the $1,000.00 maximum. This means that even if you have collision coverage, you are still able to bring a mini-tort claim for your deductible. 

For example, lets say you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, which caused $1,000.00 worth of damage to your vehicle. You have collision coverage, but will incur a $300.00 deductible. The mini-tort provision allows you to sue the other driver to recover the $300.00 deductible you otherwise would be out. It is important to note, however, that the mini-tort is only available if you were less than 50% at fault for the accident. The mini-tort is available if you were deemed some percentage at-fault, as long as that percentage is less than 50%. For example, if you were deemed 25% responsible for causing the accident, you would be able to recover 75% of your uninsured losses (in this example, $225.00). 

When Am I Precluded From Bringing A Mini-Tort Case? 

There are two instances when you will be precluded from bringing a mini-tort case. The first, as discussed above, is if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident. You will also be precluded from bringing a mini-tort case if at the time of the accident, you lacked the minimum insurance coverage required by the No-Fault Act. MCL 500.3135(4)(e); MCL 500.3101. Note that while recommended, you are not required by law to maintain collision coverage on your vehicle.  

What Types of Uninsured Losses Does The Mini-Tort Apply To? 

The mini-tort provision only applies to damages to motor vehicles, which has been defined to specifically exclude motorcycles. MCL 500.3101(2)(h). It also precludes any claims for personal property inside the vehicle that was lost or damaged and for rental car expenses incurred while the damaged vehicle is being repaired. 

What If My Uninsured Losses Exceed $1,000.00? 

The mini-tort provision highlights the importance of having collision coverage on your vehicle, as there is a $1,000.00 maximum recovery. The mini-tort provision is not designed to pay for all of your vehicle’s damage; rather it is designed to compensate the party who was not at-fault for the accident for out of pocket expenses. 

What If I Suffered Personal Injuries In The Accident? 

The mini-tort provision does not preclude you from also bringing a third-party action against the at-fault driver for personal injuries sustained in the accident, provided you meet the threshold injury requirement. If you suffered personal injuries in the accident, it is important to speak with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney. 

Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan law firm practicing personal injury law. Contact us today at 248-430-8929 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, with no obligation.