What Happens if I’m Injured by a Driver with Minimal Auto Insurance?
People injured in Michigan car accidents caused by an at-fault driver with minimal auto insurance may have a right to recover underinsured motorist benefits from their own insurance policy.
Sometimes the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may not provide enough coverage to fully compensate the victim. In fact, at the current time, Michigan drivers are only required to carry $20,000 worth of coverage to compensate someone injured or killed as a result of their negligence. Moreover, these bare-bones policies are often capped at $40,000 per occurrence. This means that $40,000 is the maximum the insurance company has to pay, regardless of how many people were injured in the car accident.
If the injured person has underinsured motorist coverage on their own auto insurance policy and the at-fault driver’s policy does not have enough coverage to fully cover the injured person’s damages, the victim can pursue that uncovered portion of their damages through an underinsured insurance claim with their own auto insurance company. This is similar to pursuing an uninsured motorist claim against a driver who has no insurance at all.
Also, it is possible that if the injured person does not have their own underinsured motorist coverage but was a passenger in a vehicle that was covered by underinsured motorist coverage, the injured person may be covered under that policy.
Because of the state’s low mandatory minimum insurance requirements, Michigan drivers should always consider purchasing underinsured motorist coverage. While underinsured motorist coverage is optional, it protects you and your family in the event you’re in a crash with an underinsured driver who has lousy and inadequate coverage.
What damages can be recovered in a Michigan underinsured motorist claim?
The damages that can be recovered in an underinsured motorist claim are typically damages that can be recovered against an at-fault driver that exceeds the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. These damages can include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life suffered as a result of their injuries. It’s important to note that under Michigan law, pain and suffering damage claims are subject to special rules and are not available to those who are not seriously injured.
Furthermore, the damages recoverable in a Michigan underinsured motorist claim can also include claims for expenses that exceed the amount of PIP benefits allowed under the injured person’s own Michigan no-fault insurance policy. Michigan residents injured in auto accidents can typically recover personal protection (PIP) benefits from their own insurance company, regardless of who was at-fault for the crash. These benefits include coverage for medical expenses and up to three years of coverage for the injured person’s medical expenses and income loss claims are payable through Michigan no-fault insurance coverage. Those medical expenses and income loss claims are not recoverable in the Michigan underinsured motorist claim.