Michigan no-fault insurance.
We’ll help you understand your options.
To simplify the insurance claims process and minimize overall costs, the State of Michigan has adopted no-fault insurance. This coverage pays compensation for the following:
- Lifetime medical care and support services
- 85 percent of your wage losses up to $5,000 over a three-year period
- Replacement services (chore care), up to $20 per day, per household
- Mileage to and from your healthcare providers
- Attendant care (in-home nursing services when needed)
- Home modification and specialized transport vehicles for the catastrophically injured
- $500,000 settlement to the family of a woman killed by an underinsured driver.
- $450,000 settlement to a college student injured when his vehicle was struck by an uninsured lawn-service vehicle.
- $415,000 to the family of a college student killed in a disputed liability collision with a rental car in Washtenaw County.
For a claimant, there are many pitfalls. The insurance company may contest whether certain treatments are necessary, or the cost of treatment. They may seek reimbursement from your health insurer, Medicare or the workers' compensation system. These and other provisions in your no-fault policy may result in you not getting the medical care or compensation you deserve; or you may have to repay the insurer from the proceeds of your settlement.
At Matz and Pietsch, we're diligent in the protection of your rights. Our goal in your case will be to help you get all of the medical care, benefits, and compensation you are entitled to receive.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured Motorist coverage is an optional benefit you can buy when you order your car or truck insurance in Michigan. This coverage will protect you if you or your passengers are injured in a collision that is not your fault and that is the other driver’s fault. Underinsurance is a similar optional coverage that you can purchase to protect you from the situation where the at-fault driver has insurance, but doesn’t have enough to fully cover your damages from pain and suffering.
Many Michigan drivers are driving without automobile insurance. We estimate 20% statewide; more in the big cities. It is possible to buy insurance at some agencies where only a down payment is necessary to get coverage for a few weeks. Someone who thinks they can “beat the system” can buy coverage for just a short time-just long enough to get plates and registration-and then can let the insurance lapse (expire) without paying again. People like this are doubly dangerous. Not only are they violating the law by not having insurance, and not paying into the system the rest of us rely upon for coverage, but they also tend to get into a lot of accidents, because they obviously have little regard for laws we all know we are supposed to follow. In fact, a person who has a history of causing accidents finds it very expensive to buy insurance, and if they have convictions such as drinking and driving, they lose their license and can’t get insurance even if they can afford it.
So that’s where your uninsured and underinsured benefits come in. You are protecting yourself from the chance that someone who is already a proven risk taker will crash into you, seriously injure you, then tell you that they don’t have any insurance on their vehicle. It may even turn out that the vehicle that hit you was stolen and was fleeing from the police. No liability coverage there!If you took the precaution of buying uninsured motorist coverage, you can apply your own policy if you get involved in an accident with a motorist who is driving a vehicle that is not insured. Check your policy. This coverage is clearly indicated on your declaration page (the sheet that tells you what coverages you have, how much you bought, and how much it cost you). Compared to the other items you paid for, uninsured motorist coverage is not very expensive. You should buy as much of it as you can.
The same is true of underinsurance. This coverage kicks in if somebody causes serious injury to your passengers or you in a collision, just like uninsured benefits do. The difference is simply that underinsurance applies over and above the coverage that the other driver carries. When you consider that the minimum liability coverage (that’s the “PL” in “PL/”PD) that we have to carry in Michigan is only $20,000, you can see that this isn’t going to go very far if the other driver causes great bodily harm in a crash with you!
Your underinsurance gets “credit” for the amount of coverage the other driver has. Over and above that, you and your lawyer get to fight it out with your insurance company over how much of the underinsurance you should get. You don’t automatically get anything—you have to prove that the other driver was (mostly) at fault, and that your injuries are serious. Insurance companies often fight underinsurance claims just as hard as the other driver would have, because they know that you can still be at fault for an accident and not have to pay the victims anything if they weren’t seriously hurt—and the word “serious” has special meaning in the world of auto injury cases in Michigan.
You should know that both uninsured and underinsured benefits are defined by the particular policy you have with your insurance company. It is very important that you don’t assume you are covered, or not covered, by these optional benefits, until you have an attorney who concentrates on auto law in Michigan review your policy and every auto policy in your household! Be especially careful not to sign any agreements to settle any part of your case until you have a lawyer look into the situation for you.
Remember: passengers of cars hit by uninsured drivers may qualify for benefits from the car they were in, even if the passenger didn’t have car insurance of his or her own.
Please don’t be an uninsured driver yourself. Even if you think that you have nothing to lose if somebody sues you, remember that uninsured drivers are also disqualified from the Michigan No-Fault system. That means they cannot sue the other driver for pain and suffering even if the other driver was at fault. Uninsured drivers can make no claim against the other driver for collision damage, and cannot claim medical or wage loss benefits, either (because these were supposed to come from the insurance that they should have bought).
So protect yourself by having a generous amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your Michigan auto policy. The chances of being injured by a careless driver go up every time you get behind the wheel, and the chances that a reckless driver doesn’t care if you get hurt are even greater.
What does 22not33 mean, exactly?
Other law firms charge 33% of a net settlement amount. Our contingent fee is only 22%. (Remember, you are responsible to reimburse case costs spent by any attorney.) For example: A lawyer wins a $100,000 “net settlement” (deduction of costs spent by your attorney to prepare your case, taken “off the top” of your settlement total before the fee is calculated). If the attorney is charging a 33% fee, you would get about $67,000. If you were charged just 22% — which is our fee — you would receive about $78,000.