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  1. #1

    Default Asking for Restitution to Ensure Payment

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Michigan.

    My car was damaged by an uninsured driver who ran a stop sign and was ticketed for such. I have reached out to the driver to discuss resolving the problem out of court but I have been ignored. So, I will have to pull a copy of the police report, and do the paperwork to go to small claims court. From what I understand getting a judgement in my favor is the most likely outcome because of the tickets issued to the driver. My question largely concerns obtaining compensation.

    Assuming that the judge rules in my favor and determines that the driver owes me money, how do I proceed obtaining it? I am concerned that the driver will try to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying a judgement. My understanding is that restitution cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy whereas a normal judgement can. Because my vehicle was damaged as a result of an illegal action (running a stop sign) would I be able to ask for restitution?

    And if I did ask for restitution, how would I go about collecting it? I understand that in-kind transfers cannot be garnished, so when the driver that damaged my car does not receive a paycheck or sell property that a lien could be placed on, would restitution open more options for collecting?

    Three other related questions: I read that you can sue a driver for up to $1000 for damages caused to your car that your insurance will not cover. Does this limitation (if true) apply in my case? Also, would I be able to sue for expenses associated with the accident, e.g. towing the car and a bus pass? If I cannot recover the full amount that was quoted by professional shops, would I hypothetically be able to ask for standard industry rates for technicians with my level of experience (entry level) based on the book time for completing the repair?

    Some more background: I have a few quotes, all north of $4000 for repairing the car, which was worth about $2000 before the accident. I have found examples of the make/model with similar mileage/options within 70 miles of where I live for around $3000-$3500. (The discrepancy with the value of my vehicle is due to rust and peeling clearcoat) I carry no-fault insurance but not collision (the deductible would be about as much as the car) I'm not sure if this is relevant to my question, so my apologies if it's not.

    I apologize that my question is really convoluted. This is the first (and let's hope only) accident that I've been involved in, so I'm pretty much clueless.
    Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,862

    Default Re: Asking for Restitution to Ensure Payment

    I apologize in advance as my answers are going to be quite disappointing.

    I don't think restitution is an option for a traffic infraction so you would have to sue the driver that hit your car.

    You would be entitled to the following:

    1 - The Actual Cash Value of your car before the damage. That your car was worth $2000 because of rust and peeling paint means that's all you would be awarded despite the higher cost of cars in better condition. And, no, you don't get to finagle a higher amount by claiming hourly rates for working on the car yourself.
    2 - Towing fees. If your car is not drivable due to the accident you would be entitled to the cost of the tow from the scene of the accident to a repair shop. If you had it towed home and later another tow to the repair shop, you might get reimbursed for both. No guarantees.
    3 - Temporary substitute transportation from the date of the accident until the car is repaired. Except for any amount of time that the car sits at home while you are thinking about what to do about it. If it takes you a week or two to get it into the shop then you don't get any money for that time because it shouldn't have taken you more than a few days. A delay because you have no money doesn't count. When you avoid buying collision insurance, you're supposed to have money set aside to repair or replace your car.

    Assuming you win the lawsuit the easiest way to collect would be to garnish the driver's wages. You can also levy his bank account if you can find it.

    As for bankruptcy, it's not likely that a $2000 or $3000 judgment will send somebody running to the bankruptcy court. But it's certainly possible if this debt added to other debts makes his financial position untenable.

    It's unfortunate but people who drive without insurance are often low life deadbeats who have nothing to lose, live off the grid, and don't mind quitting their jobs when their wages get garnished. Chances are that he won't even respond to the lawsuit and you'll get a default judgment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,531

    Default Re: Asking for Restitution to Ensure Payment

    because the other driver did not have insurance he is not protected by Michigan’s law preventing him from being liable for anything more than the $1000. If he had insurance your max award would have been $1000.

    So you have that going for you.

    The down side is as aj stated; collecting from somebody that likely has little money is the hard part.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Asking for Restitution to Ensure Payment

    Apologies for hijacking this thread. JK - are you saying that in Michigan if you have insurance, you cannot be held liable for damages of more than $1,000 from an auto accident? If that's the case, why would anyone purchase a policy with anything more than the minimum liability? That sounds too good to be true.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,531

    Default Re: Asking for Restitution to Ensure Payment

    Quote Quoting prusakolep
    View Post
    Apologies for hijacking this thread. JK - are you saying that in Michigan if you have insurance, you cannot be held liable for damages of more than $1,000 from an auto accident? If that's the case, why would anyone purchase a policy with anything more than the minimum liability? That sounds too good to be true.
    Um, we have the most expensive insurance in the country so no, itís not too good to be true.



    Basically, itís a pay for your own car when you get into a wreck. We also have no fault medical (that is quite common across the coi(try) so your own insurance pays for that as well.

    The $1000 is basically to cover the deductible for the car you hit. If they donít have collision insurance where none of their damages would be covered by their insurance, the at fault driver owes them no more than $1000 of their damages.




    There are a few exceptions to being shielded from liability when you are at fault in an accident . This is from Michigan.gov website.


    . Residual Liability Insurance - Bodily Injury and Property Damage
    The no-fault law protects insured persons from being sued as a result of an auto accident except in certain special situations. In general, you can only be sued:
    (a) if you cause an accident in Michigan in which someone is killed, seriously injured, or permanently disfigured;
    (b) if you are involved in an accident in Michigan with a non-resident who is an occupant of a motor vehicle not registered in Michigan;
    (c) if you are involved in an accident in another state; or
    (d) for up to $1,000 if you are 50% or more at fault in an accident which causes damages to another personís car which are not covered by insurance.
    and yes, we are the only state in the country with this system

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