If you’re an Ohio-based driver, Michigan may be your top spot when planning a long road trip with your friends or family.
But, before you jump behind the wheel and hit the road, you should know a few things about Michigan’s driving laws that may be different from what you’re used to in the Buckeye State.
There are several traffic laws and driving regulations in which these two states significantly differ. Below, we round up the top three differences we believe all Ohio and Michigan drivers must know.
At-fault vs No-fault
One of the most significant differences between these two states is their “fault” state law. Ohio is an “at-fault” state, while Michigan is a “no-fault” state. What does this mean, and why should this difference matter to you?
As an “at-fault” state, Ohio drivers are held liable for any damages or injuries they cause in a car accident. This means that if you’re the driver who caused the accident, your insurance company will have to pay for the other party’s damages.
In Michigan, on the other hand, “no-fault” insurance is implemented statewide. So, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident, your insurance company will be responsible for paying damages.
For over 40 years, many Ohio residents were entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. However, a change in Michigan law that went into effect on June 11, 2019 has eliminated the eligibility of most Ohio residents to obtain Michigan no-fault benefits when injured in a Michigan crash.
Under the new Michigan law – MCL 500.3113(c) – a person is not entitled to be paid personal injury protection (PIP) benefits for injuries from a motor vehicle accident if “the person was not a resident of this state, unless the person owned a motor vehicle that was registered and insured in this state.”
Because of this law change, almost all Ohio residents injured in Michigan will never be able to obtain Michigan no-fault benefits. The recovery of outstanding medical bills, wage loss and other “economic damages” will now have to be recovered against the other driver through a standard negligence case.
Although the victim’s primary insurance provider will pay for their damages in a “no-fault” state, they can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to receive compensation for any amount exceeding their insurance policy.
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Statute of Limitations
The state provides a statute of limitations to ensure that all cases are filed within a reasonable length of time following the occurrence of the motor vehicle accident.
In Ohio, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. This limitation follows Ohio Revised Code section 2305.10.
In Michigan, on the other hand, you only have one year to file a claim. This state limitation is outlined in Michigan Compiled Laws section 600.5805.
Enacting this regulation ensures that the defendant is protected from any false claims. Furthermore, it ensures that all evidence presented against the defendant is viable.
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Different states impose varying regulations when it comes to seatbelt usage. Depending on the weight of responsibility placed on seatbelt regulation, a state may be classified as a primary or secondary state.
In Michigan, all drivers and passengers in the front seat are required by law to buckle up. Because of this, law enforcement can pull over a driver if they’re not wearing a seat belt as a “primary” state.
On the other hand, Ohio is a “secondary” state. This means that a law enforcer cannot pull over a driver for solely not wearing a seatbelt. They must be asked to pull over for committing a primary traffic offense, such as suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI).
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The list above does not cover all the differences in driving and traffic regulations between the two states. But, as an Ohio driver in Michigan, or vice versa, it’s essential to be aware of the potential changes you may encounter.
Despite their list of differences, both states embrace similar regulations in different aspects of driving and traffic laws, such as DUI and distracted driving regulations.
Jonathan Ashton, Partner and Personal Injury Attorney, began his law career at GT&B in 2007 as a law clerk. He was hired as an associate immediately after passing the Ohio Bar in 2008. Jonathan practices in Personal Injury, representing clients who have been injured and need justice and compensation for them to move forward in their lives.