Driverless cars are no longer the works of science fiction. We already have vehicles with autonomous modes that can operate without a human driver. Motorists use automated systems to prevent rear-end collisions, keep vehicles in their lanes and “see” vehicles in their blind spots. Technology we could have never imagined decades before will change every aspect of the transportation world today. Furthermore, experts believe many of these changes will impact the way No-Fault insurance in Michigan works.
Before considering the effects of driverless technology, let’s look at the current No-Fault insurance system in Michigan.
First, all Michigan drivers are required to purchase a No-Fault policy that includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. These benefits pay lifetime medical expenses, including attendant care and medical mileage for individuals injured in an auto accident. PIP Coverage also includes three years of wage loss and, up to $20 per day for replacement services, such as household help. When an accident results in death, the No-Fault carrier is responsible for funeral expenses and may be responsible for survivor’s loss benefits to surviving family members.
The policies of No-Fault insurance in Michigan also include Personal Property Protection (PPI) benefits. These benefits typically pay up to $1,000,000 for damage to other people’s property or legally parked vehicles.
In addition, there are third-party benefits that include non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. These benefits are usually paid by the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Third-party benefits also cover costs for bodily injury, including death, as well as property damage.
While the payment of these PIP benefits may come from the injured party’s own No-Fault carrier, the No-Fault laws provide an order of priority that addresses which insurance company is responsible.
The emergence of autonomous vehicles will dramatically change the way No-Fault insurance in Michigan works. One of the major issues will be determining who is at fault when a driverless car causes an accident. Is the manufacturer of the vehicle responsible? The software developers or who licences the vehicle?
Here are other concerns about how driverless technology will affect No-Fault insurance in Michigan:
“No-Fault insurance in Michigan has a complex set of rules, regulations and exceptions,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “As we see more driverless vehicles on our roadways, the insurance system will become even more confusing and difficult to navigate. That is why you should call us immediately if you or a loved one is injured in an accident involving any kind of motor vehicle. Our experienced attorneys will make sure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve.”
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