Being in an accident is bad, but being in an accident with an uninsured driver can be worse. Here is some information to help.
First, take care of the basics. Whether the at-fault driver was insured or not, do the following immediately after the crash:
- check yourself and others for injuries;
- call the police;
- get any witnesses’ names and contact information;
- take photos of the crash vehicles, scene, and your injuries;
- if you were hurt, or think you might be hurt, seek medical care; and
- report the crash to your insurance company.
Similarly, whether the at-fault driver was insured or not, you should apply for Michigan no-fault benefits. Michigan no-benefits typically include payments for some, or all, of your medical bills and wage loss. The amount available depends on the type of insurance you selected. Click here to get more information on Michigan no-fault benefits.
Uninsured Motorist Benefits
If the driver who hit you was uninsured, you still may be able to recover insurance benefits from your auto insurance. In Michigan, drivers have the option of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage; it is not required. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for a crash victim’s bodily injury damages when the driver who hit them was uninsured.
Preconditions to Receiving Uninsured Motorist Benefits
Your insurance contract with your auto insurance company determines how much-uninsured motorist coverage you are eligible to receive and the requirements you must satisfy to receive uninsured motorist benefits.
The most important thing when dealing with uninsured motorist benefits is to get a copy of your auto insurance policy and have it reviewed by an experienced car accident lawyer. Most insurance policies have certain conditions that a driver must meet before the driver is eligible for uninsured motorist benefits, such as contacting the insurance company within a certain amount of time after the crash and providing documentation of the crash victim’s injuries and damages.
Many insurance policies also have specific requirements for hit-and-run crashes. Some require that the insurance company be notified “promptly,” or “within 48 hours,” after a crash. Likewise, many require that the police be notified of the crash within a certain period after the crash. Often, this is hours or days after the crash.
If a crash victim does not comply with their insurance policy’s requirements, they are not eligible to receive insurance benefits. For that reason, it is important to act quickly to ensure that the crash victim has done everything required by the policy within the required time limits. Failure to do so could result in the crash victim being permanently ineligible for uninsured motorist benefits.
Damages, Time Limits, and Settlement Approvals
Most insurance policies will pay uninsured motor benefits to the crash victim for damages that the crash victim would have been legally entitled to recover from the owner or driver of the uninsured motor vehicle. Those damages are usually damages for bodily injuries sustained by the crash victim caused by the accident.
The policy will also define the people who are eligible for uninsured benefits under the policy, such as those listed as “insureds” under the policy.
The insurance policy also sets the time limit that a crash victim has to bring an uninsured motorist claim. This time limit is often three years from the crash, but not always, and it is important to review the insurance policy and learn this time limit because, if a crash victim does not bring a legal claim within this time limit, they are forever barred from doing so.
Most uninsured policies also require that the crash victim obtain their insurance company’s approval before settling a legal claim against the at-fault driver, and if they do not, the crash victim’s insurance policy is no longer required to pay uninsured motorist benefits to the crash victim. For that reason, it is important that crash victims not settle any legal claims until they have spoken with an experienced car accident lawyer and identified all potential claims available to them.
Most uninsured policies will also offer crash victims some type of alternative dispute resolution outside of filing a lawsuit. This might include arbitration or mediation. Usually, this form of alternative dispute resolution is not mandatory but is optional.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Uninsured motorist claims are contract claims and the insurance policy determines the benefits available to the crash victim and the requirements the crash victim must meet to receive benefits.
If you were in a car crash, you should sit down with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer as soon as possible to review your policy and ensure you meet your requirements under the policy.
Call or Contact Conybeare Law Office Now
A car accident is a scary, painful, and traumatic experience. It can be difficult to know who to talk to after a crash but having an experienced Michigan car accident attorney can help alleviate much of the stress and uncertainty that comes after an accident. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you understand your rights so you feel like you in are
in control, and we will fight to get you the money you deserve. To learn more about the wide range of legal services offered to our Michigan car accident clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and proudly serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to talking to you.
- Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year 2024, 2021, 2017, and 2013, Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Kalamazoo Region (Southwest Michigan)
- Best Lawyers in America® 2008-2024, Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Kalamazoo Region (Southwest Michigan)
- Michigan Super Lawyers® 2009-2023