Who can you sue if you were a passenger in a car accident in Michigan?

A 21-year-old man sustained critical injuries after the car he was a passenger in crashed into a tree on South Hayford Avenue in Lansing. The 20-year-old female driver was arrested on DUI charges. The story poses a series of interesting questions. Who is liable for damages if you were a passenger in a car? Can the unfortunate young man sue his friend for damages? What happens in a multiple-vehicle crash?

Who can you sue if you were in the car with the driver who caused the accident?

Each case is unique and your first step should be to contact a knowledgeable Lansing car accident lawyer

You can recover at least part of your losses using your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy which is mandatory for all Michigan motorists. A young person may be covered under their parents’ PIP. This applies even if that person was a passenger driven by a friend. 


In Michigan, the minimum PIP coverage is 

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  •  $10,000 property damage liability per accident

According to the law, you can also sue the driver who caused the crash. You can seek damages for your medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages. Read one to see the requirements you must meet.

What if the driver of the other car was at fault?

Michigan is a no-fault state, so each driver can use their own PIP, no matter who was at fault. In many cases, PIP is not enough to cover damages when someone sustains severe injuries like brain trauma, burns, or spine damage. 

If that is the case, you will have to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim under tort laws. Your lawyers will have to prove the other driver was negligent to hold them accountable for damages. 

This is easier said than done. On the one hand, you can seek compensation for all your medical expenses and lost earnings. On the other hand, if you want to get pain and suffering damages your lawyers will have to prove you sustained a severe injury.

Under Michigan laws, to sue someone for pain and suffering you must show you suffered a “serious impairment of body function.” This is known as the No-Fault law’s tort threshold. 

To do that, your lawyers will have to show that the injury:

  • Is objectively manifested, which means other people will notice your condition
  • Caused an impairment of an important body function, which is a body function of great value, significance, or consequence to you
  • Affected your ability to lead your normal life.

Michigan follows the comparative negligence rule so both drivers may be at fault for the crash. In this case you may be able to sue both drivers.

Have you been injured in a car accident in Michigan?

If you or a loved one were injured as a passenger in a Michigan car accident, the experienced attorneys at the Neumann Law Group can help. Our personal injury attorneys are skilled and experienced at proving liability for injuries that result from a car accident, whether you were the driver or only a passenger. Through our dedicated representation, we have secured significant compensation for our injured clients and their families. To learn more and schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 800-525-6386.

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