Dealing with insurance companies is almost always stressful, and customer service representatives often make things more difficult. Their job is to help the insurance company make money – not necessarily make your life easier.
If you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may not be sure what to do. However, you have options. In Michigan, you can get compensation no matter who was at fault.
Michigan Insurance Laws
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. That means every car owner and the driver registered in Michigan should have no-fault insurance covering car accident damages regardless of who is at fault. You are required to have the following:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This covers reasonably necessary medical expenses and up to 85% of wage loss. It will also pay for replacement services if you cannot complete household duties.
- Property Protection Insurance (PPI) – This covers up to $1 million in damage caused by your car to someone else’s property, such as a building, fence, or parked vehicle.
- Residual Liability Insurance (RLI) – This covers you if you’re sued for a car accident, regardless of who is at fault.
In addition to required insurance, agencies offering coverage in Michigan must provide you with collision and comprehensive insurance, limited property damage liability insurance, towing and rental car coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage. These addendums to your policy are optional but always recommended.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
If you have damages that exceed the amounts that your no-fault insurance policy will cover, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. However, if they don’t have insurance, they are considered an “uninsured motorist.”
If you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, your policy will pick up your excess damages in a similar fashion that the at-fault party’s insurance should have. It will pay for extra-economic damages, such as lost wages and replacement services, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Your no-fault insurance will not pay for non-economic damages, so it’s important to have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in case you need it.
Are Uninsured Drivers Disqualified from No-Fault Coverage?
Yes, a driver who does not have insurance cannot collect from a no-fault insurance policy. No-fault insurance is first-party insurance that the driver must carry. It only covers the car’s driver and, in some circumstances, their family and/or passengers. A driver who does not have no-fault insurance cannot collect from the other person’s no-fault insurance.
If an uninsured driver is not at-fault, they may be able to recover compensation from the other at-fault driver’s insurance or through a personal injury lawsuit. However, they will likely receive a citation and pay a hefty fine for not having no-fault insurance. The court will not look favorably upon failing to have no-fault insurance, which is required by Michigan law. It may limit the amount the uninsured driver can collect from the at-fault driver.
Does the Claims Process Change with Uninsured Drivers in Detroit?
If you are in a car accident and the other party does not have insurance, you must rely on a first-party insurance claim with your policy. You can file a no-fault insurance claim first, and then excess damages can be sought from your Uninsured Motorist Coverage if you have it. Both are considered first-party claims with your policy instead of third-party claims with someone else’s insurance company.
Your insurance company will have a process by which you can file a claim. An initial claim can typically be filed via phone or online. Then, you must provide as much information as possible about what happened and your losses to a claims adjuster. You should be careful giving statements to your insurance company. They are in business to make money and will pay you as little as possible. It’s best to work with an experienced attorney to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
The Michigan Claims Process
The first-party claims process with your Uninsured Motorist Coverage will be similar to that with a third-party insurance company.
You should take the following steps:
- Get immediate medical treatment and follow up with any specialists or recommended treatment plans.
- Document what happened at the scene through pictures and videos.
- Collect contact information for all other drivers and eyewitnesses.
- Keep a post-accident journal or pain diary to detail how your symptoms affect your everyday life.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident within 24 to 48 hours, but don’t give a complete statement or sign anything until you talk to an attorney.
- Contact a car accident lawyer who can communicate with the insurance company, negotiate a fair settlement, and help you get compensation.
Turn to a Detroit Car Accident Lawyer for Help with Your Case
A Detroit car accident lawyer at Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC has the experience you need to navigate a complex motor vehicle crash case. We understand the law and can present your case in the best possible light. We will use all the evidence to support your arguments and get you the most compensation possible.