Can't Reach A Settlement With Your Car Insurance Company? 4 Options For Michigan Drivers

After you have been in a car accident in Michigan, you have to work with your insurance company in order to receive compensation for your physical injuries as well as the damage done to your vehicle. Since Michigan is a no-fault driving state, you will not have to work with the other driver's insurance company; you'll only have to work with your own insurance company. Here are your four options in Michigan if you don't feel that the settlement that your insurance company is offering you is fair:

Option #1: Go Through The Arbitration Process

Many insurance policies actually have appraisal clauses written into them that stipulate that you, the policyholder, and the insurance company, have to go through the arbitration process if there is a disagreement about a settlement. If your insurance policy has such a clause, you'll have to respect this agreement.

Both you and your insurance company are going to need to hire an appraiser. Each appraiser will then examine your claim and present a recommendation of what they feel is a fair settlement offer. The two appraisers that you and your insurance company hire are supposed to work together to come up with a final settlement offer, which is binding. If the two appraisers hired by you and your insurance company can't come to an agreement, a third appraiser will be hired jointly to examine your case. Once two of the three appraisers agree on a settlement, you'll have to accept an offer.

Option #2: Pursue Compensation Through Small Claims Court

Another option is to pursue your claims in small claims court. If your insurance company agrees, you can take your case to small claims court. In small claims court, you can represent yourself in front of a judge and do not need to hire an attorney. In 2012, the limit for small claims court judgments in Michigan was raised from $3,000 to $5,000. Each year, the limit gradually increases. Currently, you can submit claims up to $5,500 through the small claims court process.

Option #3: File A Civil Lawsuit Against Your Insurance Company

If the settlement amount you are seeking is over $5,000 dollars, you will have to file a lawsuit with your local courthouse against your insurance company. Remember, since Michigan is a no-fault state, you will not be able to pursue the other driver; your lawsuit will need only name your insurance company as the defendant.

Once again, where you file your case depends on how much money you are trying to get from your insurance company. If you are trying to obtain $25,000 or less from your insurance company in Michigan, you can file with a civil lawsuit with your district courthouse. If you are trying to obtain more than $25,000 from your insurance company, you will need to file your civil lawsuit with the closest circuit court.

Option #4: File A Complaint With The Michigan Department Of Insurance

Finally, if you believe that your insurance company is acting in an unethical manner, you can file a complaint with Michigan's Department of Insurance. If you let your insurance company know that you are taking actions to file a suit against them, they may be more willing to negotiate a settlement. If that does not work, you can go through with filing your complaint, and the Michigan Department of Insurance will investigate and determine if your insurance company was refusing to negotiate a fair settlement offer.

If you can't reach a fair settlement offer after a car accident with your insurance adjuster, you can try one of the four options listed above. If you are not sure which course of action would be most appropriate to take with your case, you should speak with an attorney, like Edward M. Graves III, who can provide you with legal advice.