How to Handle a Car Accident Without Insurance in Michigan
April 5, 2019
The protection provided by Michigan no-fault insurance is among the best in the country. If you are seriously injured in an accident, your policy will cover 100% of your medical bills with no maximum limits. In addition, if you’re unable to work or care for yourslef, your insurance covers 85% of your lost wages and pays for services such as household help and personal care needs. But what happens if you get into a car accident without insurance?
If you own a motor vehicle, you are required by Michigan law to have a no-fault policy. You could face stiff penalties if you drive your car, or let someone else drive it, without insurance. Despite the law, an estimated 20% of Michigan drivers do not have insurance. And in some cities such as Detroit, the percentage of uninsured drivers is much higher. Therefore, if you’re involved in an accident, there’s a significant chance the other driver will not have insurance.
Driving an uninsured car is not only illegal, it can be devastatingly expensive if you get into a car accident without insurance. Here is what you need to know to avoid a financial disaster.
What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance
Here are some of the consequences you could face if you’re involved in an accident while driving an uninsured car:
- If someone else is injured in the accident, you might be sued and held personally liable.
- If you are hurt, you are not eligible for any of the personal injury protection benefits provided by no-fault insurance. This includes medical costs, lost wages and replacement services.
- You are also unable to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, from the person at fault for the accident.
- If you die as a result of the accident, your family will not receive the survivor benefits a typical no-fault policy provides.
- Even if no one is hurt, you could be subject to a $500 fine and/or a year in jail for allowing your vehicle to be driven without insurance or for driving someone else’s vehicle with knowledge that it is uninsured.
Why You Need Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance
Generally, our own no-fault policy will pay your medical bills and related costs if you have an accident with an uninsured driver. However, you cannot recover damages for pain and suffering or any excess economic losses not covered by No-Fault from an uninsured driver.
You can protect yourself and the people in your household by purchasing an “Uninsured Motorist” insurance policy. This coverage protects you if you are seriously injured by a driver without insurance. These policies are quite cost-effective relative to the protection they provide.
Uninsured motorist insurance will pay damages not covered under no-fault, including:
- Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental distress. A spouse, partner, or, in some cases, a child may also be able to claim loss of consortium, including companionship and emotional support.
- Economic damages, such as lost wages and replacement services that exceed no-fault policy maximums.
The Importance of Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
While many motorists drive without insurance, many more have insufficient coverage. Michigan no-fault insurance includes a mandatory minimum of bodily injury liability coverage: $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. In a serious injury accident, the resulting damages would be many times greater than this amount.
This is where “Underinsured Motorist” coverage comes in. It entitles you to damages above what the other driver’s insurance policy covers, providing you were not at fault.
“Certain conditions have to be met before you can claim benefits using uninsured or underinsured motorist policies,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “If you’re in an accident, call us. Our experienced lawyers will help you win the compensation you and your family deserve.”
Michigan no-fault law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.