Yes, there are several possible scenarios in which you may be able to recover financially if you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Michigan.
The best way to do so—and the best way to preemptively protect yourself from this sort of situation—is to have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy (or the policy that covers the car you were injured in). These are policies that cover pain and suffering claims stemming from an accident where the other driver either is not insured or has an insurance policy that does not offer sufficient coverage for your damages.
If you do not currently have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy, I suggest that you look into purchasing that coverage. When looking to add these policies to your plan, you should be mindful of how your provider handles uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. There are several carriers in Michigan that group those two coverages (uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage) together on a policy. However, there are also several carriers that separate those two coverages and require you to purchase them separately. As such, it is very important that you speak to your insurance agent or a representative for your insurance company to ensure that you have both coverages on your policy.
Unfortunately, people often believe that they have both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when they only have one or the other. I have seen this play out many times. Clients will file for coverage for an accident caused by an uninsured motorist only to be denied because they only have underinsured motorist coverage, and vice versa.
Your best bet to avoid running into that situation is to make very sure that you are covered for both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage when buying or adding policies to your insurance, even if you have to purchase them separately.
If you do not have your own car insurance but got into an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist while driving a car covered by the car owner’s insurance, you will need to contact the owner of the vehicle and discuss whether or not they have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
I Have A Bad Driving Record. Will That Hurt My Southfield Michigan Car Accident Case?
Whether or not a bad driving record will affect your Michigan car accident case depends on the particular facts of the accident.
The less fault you are found to have in the accident, the less relevant a bad driving record will be. For instance, let’s say you were completely not at fault for the accident—say, because someone was drunk driving and hit you, or rear-ended you, or ran a red light, or was otherwise driving recklessly and hit you. If there are clear facts to show that you have no fault in the accident, your driving record will be of less significance.
The more potential fault—and specifically, disputed fault—that you have in an accident, the more relevant your driving record may become.
For instance, let’s say were in an accident there appears to be around a 50/50 split in fault between you and the other driver. In this case, let’s say the other driver claims you were at fault for the accident, and you claim that they were at fault for the accident. In a situation like this, having a bad driving record may have some Impact on the case.
Even in a case like the 50/50 case above, having a bad driving record does not necessarily mean that your case is doomed. In many cases, depending on certain facts and circumstances specific to the accident in question, the impact of a bad driving record can be minimized with the help of an attorney.
So, I would say that just because you have a bad driving record doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue a claim.
If It Is Clear That The Other Driver Was At Fault For The Accident, Do I Still Need To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes, I think it’s very important to have legal representation in a personal injury case, even when the other driver may be 100% at fault.
In part, this has to do with dealing with insurance carriers. There are several pitfalls in trying to deal with insurance carriers directly, without the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney.
For one, an attorney can help protect you from saying anything to the insurance company that will negatively impact your claim. When you report an accident to your insurance company and notify them that you intend to pursue a claim or claims, they assign an insurance adjuster to your case. Insurance adjusters are very good at trying to get damning information or statements on the record from a claimant, sometimes immediately after an accident. They do this to try and harm any future case you might have moving forward.
For example, within the first week of a person’s accident, an insurance adjuster might call and pressure the person to make a statement about how they’ve been impacted by their injuries in their daily life. A person without an attorney advising them, who doesn’t know any better, might make a statement to the insurance adjuster that does not express the full extent of their injuries, or the full extent of what their injuries might become. One week is often not enough time for a person to know the full extent of their injuries, or what that will mean for their life moving forward.
Unfortunately, those calls are always recorded, and those statements may come back to haunt the person in their personal injury case later on. The statement that the person made about their injuries and the impact on their life in the week after the accident may not align with the actual injuries and the actual impact they suffered later on. However, that doesn’t stop insurance companies from using the person’s statements to potentially “disprove” or downplay their claims.
If you hire a personal injury attorney, you can make sure to check by the before saying anything to any insurance adjusters. An attorney can help you protect yourself from predatory adjusters, who may try to coax you into saying things on the record and sharing information that could diminish your potential resolution or settlement.
For more information on Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 266-7600 today.