In an Accident With an Uninsured Driver? Here’s What to Do

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

When you’re involved in a car accident, the first thing that crosses your mind is whether you’re physically injured. Later, you start thinking about the circumstances of the accident and who caused it. If the at-fault party has no insurance, it gets even worse. You deserve to be paid for the bodily injury and property damage you’ve suffered, and you have legal options available.

If you were involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver and want to understand the steps for how to process a claim, we may be able to help. Learn about accidents with drivers who have no auto insurance, and when a car accident lawyer can help you with your accident case.

What Should You Do Immediately After a Michigan Car Accident?

The first steps after an auto accident involve getting first responders on the scene. Call 911 right away, and remember that it’s important to try to stay calm and keep your wits about you. When first responders show up, two things should happen.

First, everyone should receive medical attention, including yourself. Even if you don’t feel hurt, this is important, because some injuries can take a long time to show symptoms, and getting attention shows that you took the accident seriously.

Second, always file a police report about the incident. You can’t use this report as evidence, but it can form an important touchstone for both you and your car accident lawyer as you build your case later.

Next, document the scene. Make diagrams, take notes, and get as many photographs of the scene as possible, from skid marks on the ground to the vehicles themselves to license plates and anything else that comes to mind. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, and exchange information with the other party, including the at-fault driver’s insurance.

If the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance, you may have to file a no-fault application. Immediately after getting home, you should contact a personal injury attorney experienced in car accident claims. Ready to discuss your car crash case? Get a free consultation with our personal injury lawyers by calling 1-866-22Not33, or complete our online contact form and we’ll be in touch immediately!

Is an Uninsured Driver Automatically At Fault in a Michigan Car Accident?

The first thing to understand is that every state’s fault laws are different. Unlike states such as Maryland and Colorado, which are “fault” states, state law for torts in Michigan establishes us as a no-fault state. While you may think this means that you cannot sue, this is not true at all. It just refers to the type and minimum amount of insurance coverage you are required to carry.

Whether the uninsured driver is at fault depends on the situation; it is not automatic. They may, however, face penalties for driving without insurance even if they did not cause the accident. When law enforcement arrives on the scene, they will likely ask both drivers for proof of insurance. Failing to produce this could result in penalties including heavy fines and even driver’s license suspension.

The specific penalties depend on a wide range of circumstances, including the severity of the accident, whether it is a first offense, and other factors. This is one reason why it is important to have legal advice from a personal injury lawyer right away.

What Are the Laws Regarding Car Insurance Coverage in Michigan?

In a no-fault state like Michigan, tort law simply means that in addition to liability coverage on your car insurance policy, you are required to carry uninsured motorist protection, also sometimes called personal injury protection, or PIP. This is insurance coverage to protect you against uninsured drivers, and you file your insurance claim with your own insurance company instead of the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Your insurance company will ideally then pursue the other driver’s company for liability insurance coverage to deal with your personal injury. Sometimes, however, your insurance company fails or even refuses to pay your injury claim. When this happens, you should contact a motor vehicle accident law firm like Matz Injury Law. We have won over $300 million for Michigan accident victims over the years, and we fight every step of the way for your rights. Contact us at 1-866-22Not33 or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation today.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Michigan?

Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of car insurance that kicks in to protect you when you have an accident with another driver who is not insured. In this case, your own insurance can help pay for your medical expenses and other injuries and property damage. As of July 2020, Michigan allows residents to limit the coverage the insurance company must provide, which can create risks if the other driver’s policy cannot fully cover your injuries.

Does the Uninsured Motorist Pay for My Medical Bills?

In states like Maryland or Colorado that have fault laws, you would file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance company of the other driver for medical expenses. However, in Michigan, you submit your injury claim to your insurance company, and it pays your expenses while pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. In either case, the uninsured motorist is technically responsible for your bills, but if they cannot afford to pay, your insurance steps in, using your PIP or uninsured motorist coverage to pay the difference.

Can I Receive Compensation for Damages to My Car From an Uninsured Motorist in Michigan?

You are entitled to compensation for personal property damage from an accident. To get this compensation, however, you and your personal injury lawyer will need to file an uninsured motorist claim, as well as a separate pain and suffering claim if these costs exceed those of your PIP benefits. These cases can get very complicated, and it is always best to have a seasoned, professional injury attorney in your corner.

One thing you should never do is speak to the other driver’s insurance company. They will look for reasons to avoid paying your claim, and they may find a way to use anything you say to attribute the blame to you.

Do I Need to Go to Court After an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist in Michigan?

When you’re in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, the only way to recover the cost of damages is often to file a lawsuit. Your insurance company may try to refuse payment of your claim if you do not get a settlement agreement or verdict showing that you were not at fault. With uninsured drivers who cannot pay, often this does end up in court. This is not always the case, and at Matz Injury Law we will do our best to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

How Will Matz Injury Law Help Me Get Compensation?

Matz Injury Law has traveled thousands of miles across Michigan to help accident victims get the fair compensation they deserve. We value your well being above all else and are caring and compassionate about what you are going through. We are here to listen and be the ally you need in a dark time. We’ve won over $300 million for clients over the years, and we’re ready to fight for you to get you compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses from your accident.

Injured by an Uninsured Driver? Let Us Help

Ready to discuss your case? Talk to our personal injury lawyers by calling 1-866-22Not33, or complete our online contact form and we’ll be in touch immediately! There are no disclaimers, no hidden fees, and no obligations. Just call us for a free case review today.

We serve clients across the state of Michigan including Flint, Lansing, Petoskey, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Escanaba, and more.

Written By Steven Matz

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 33 1/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

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