Have you been injured by a hit-and-run driver?
Many callers ask us if there is anything they can do if they or a family member get into an accident with a hit and run driver. Even if the other driver fled the scene before anyone could identify the vehicle, there are still a variety of rights you or your family member may have if you were injured in the collision. This is especially true if you have evidence that the other driver was at fault (through witnesses, observations of the passengers in your vehicle, or through expert evaluation started by the police or your lawyer of the accident scene and damage to your vehicle).
As far as your medical, wage loss and other no-fault benefits are concerned, you obtain those through your own car insurance whether you know who ran into you or not. This is true even if you caused the accident, as long as you can prove that there was a collision with another vehicle. That’s the way no-fault insurance works—your insurance covers medical expenses (your health insurance may apply as well, if you have any), wage losses, mileage expenses to the doctor or therapy, and help with household chores and with activities of daily living, depending upon how seriously hurt you are.
So the fact that you can’t identify the other driver doesn’t have any effect upon your right for those benefits. Caution: if you were in your own uninsured vehicle there is bad news: you are disqualified from no-fault benefits, and from almost any other kind of recovery for damages that you might have against the other driver. So don’t drive without insurance…it is illegal, and it is not worth the financial risk!
If you had insurance on your vehicle, and the hit and run driver was at fault, you may still be eligible for additional damages for your pain and suffering. If you suffered serious injuries or visible scarring, but the other driver got away before anyone identified the vehicle, you should find out if you have “uninsured motorist” coverage on your car insurance policy. You don’t have to buy uninsured motorist coverage, but you should. It is not expensive compared to the other coverages you have, and it can really come to your rescue if you get hit by a vehicle that isn’t insured.
Uninsured motorist coverage applies to any situation that is described in the policy, or that is not excluded in the policy. It may be that your policy language is broad enough to apply to the situation we are talking about here: your vehicle is struck by a hit-and-run vehicle that nobody could identify before the driver got away.
It might be difficult for you to determine on your own whether your policy applies to this situation in a way that could help you, and possibly your passengers (their car insurance comes into play, too, believe it or not, even though they were in your car, not theirs). You should have an attorney who is experienced in Michigan automobile negligence cases look over your policy if you get into this situation.
There are many good automobile negligence law firms across the State of Michigan. Matz Injury Law is one of them. What sets our firm apart is not only that we charge no fee if we don’t collect money for you, but also that we charge only 22% of your net recovery when we do settle your case. This is much lower than the 33% many firms charge. Any lawyer can guarantee not to charge you a fee if you don’t win. But it is important to ask how much they will charge you if you do win!
We hope this article has been useful to you. Contact us or call 1-866-22Not33 if you have any questions about your rights as a motorist, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist who is involved in a vehicle collision in Michigan.