Michigan has among the highest number of uninsured drivers in the U.S. today. This is likely due to how expensive auto insurance coverage is in the state. Unfortunately, if you have a crash, this makes it far more likely that the at-fault driver will have no insurance.
How can you protect yourself from this situation? How do you recover damages if the at-fault driver is not insured?
At Jay Trucks, we know all too well how unprepared victims may suffer financial devastation after a crash with a driver who is not insured. Our Grand Rapids auto accident lawyers are here to provide legal insight that may help to prevent this situation from happening to you.
Injured in a crash with an uninsured driver? Learn about your legal options during a zero-cost, risk-free meeting with one of our qualified attorneys. We have the answers to your questions and can take your call anytime, night or day.
Request your FREE case review today. (989) 244-0440
Can I File for No-Fault Benefits if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?
Yes. Regardless of whether the other driver was insured or not, you can still file a no-fault insurance claim. This coverage provides many of the benefits you need as you begin the recovery process. However, it is important to seek legal help without delay as there are deadlines for filing.
A qualified attorney knows how to help you maximize the value of your claim while avoiding many of the common mistakes injury victims often make.
That said, another big problem you may face if the at-fault driver is uninsured is whether your policy limits are enough to cover your damages.
Why Your No-Fault Benefits May Not Be Enough
Since the current no-fault insurance law went into effect, many drivers have taken the opportunity to change their personal injury protection (PIP) limits. Rather than continue with unlimited PIP coverage, a lot of drivers have opted for the lowest amount of PIP coverage available to them.
Unfortunately, anything less than unlimited coverage is often not enough, especially following a crash that causes severe or catastrophic injuries. What happens if you run out of PIP coverage before you are done with your medical treatments? The medical costs alone could spell financial disaster for a crash victim injured by an uninsured driver.
Can I File a Third-Party Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver?
Maybe. However, remember that in Michigan, you can only file a third-party lawsuit for excess damages under certain conditions. You must first be able to establish that you suffered impairment of a bodily function according to the requirements under the state’s injury threshold.
The other issue in this situation is that while you may be able to sue if the at-fault driver has no insurance, it is likely not worth your while. Often drivers who do not carry insurance do so either because they cannot afford it or because they have no regard for the law.
Insurance Coverage That Can Make a Difference
While you are only required to purchase the state’s minimum insurance requirements, this limited coverage is rarely enough after a crash. As costly as insurance is in Michigan, the financial devastation you could face after a crash without sufficient insurance is far worse.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
Each individual must look to their budget and family needs to make this decision. However, speaking with your insurance agent and doing your own research can provide insight before you buy or update your policy. Michigan also provides useful information about no-fault insurance that may help you learn more about your coverage options. It is worthwhile doing a deep dive to get to know more about coverages offered and the benefits they provide.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if You Have Enough Insurance
Here are a few questions to consider when purchasing auto insurance that can help you fine-tune your coverage needs:
- Do I understand all the coverage options I have chosen and how they will help me after a crash?
- Am I taking advantage of all the discounts my insurance company offers?
- Does my policy protect me from the maximum amount of risk I can afford?
- What is not covered under my policy? (Be sure to read the fine print for exclusions)
- Is there optional insurance coverage I should consider?
What Are Your Recovery Options if the At-Fault Driver Has No Insurance?
What your recovery options are after a crash with a driver who has no insurance largely depends on the insurance coverage you carry.
Coverage that may help you after a crash with an uninsured driver includes:
- Unlimited PIP: This level of protection ensures all of your reasonable and necessary medical costs are covered. You will also get up to three years of lost wages, up to the maximum allowed amount.
- Uninsured motorist: While this coverage does not pay for your vehicle, it does provide additional coverage for your injuries if the driver has no insurance. Additionally, you may be eligible to seek excess economic damages, such as for your pain and suffering. There are varying levels of uninsured motorist coverage you can purchase. It is important to consider what amount best meets your individual needs as well as your budget.
- Collision insurance: There are different kinds of collision insurance, however, regardless of which type you purchase, this coverage is used to pay for any damages to your vehicle.
Uninsured Drivers Cannot Claim No-Fault Benefits
It is worth mentioning that an uninsured driver will be barred from filing a no-fault claim. These drivers will receive no compensation for medical costs, lost wages or any other losses.
In addition to not being able to seek no-fault benefits, uninsured drivers face legal consequences and penalties. Driving with no insurance is a misdemeanor in Michigan. Those who are convicted face $200 to $500 in fines and up to a year in prison. Drivers in this situation may also have to surrender their license for 30 days or until they can prove they have insurance.
Talk to One of Our Licensed Attorneys Today
Trying to manage the legal process of a claim when you are injured is understandably overwhelming. When trying to focus on your health, it also is easy to make mistakes. Unfortunately, in a legal claim, one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars or more.
Our attorneys at Jay Trucks are knowledgeable, experienced and have a history of getting results. Contact our firm today for a risk-free look at your legal situation. We are prepared to help and require no money up front. We only get paid our fees if we first win your case.
Proven Results. Satisfied Clients. (989) 244-0440