Michigan auto accident attorney Thomas L. Stroble advises drivers of the importance of making sure they are adequately covered if involved in a car crash with a driver who has little or no liability insurance.
Bloomfield Hills, MI (PRWEB) January 19, 2011
What will you do if you are a Michigan motorist involved in a car wreck caused by another driver with little or no liability insurance?
That’s a question that Michigan drivers should be asking themselves as they start the new year, according to Bloomfield Hills car accident lawyer Thomas L. Stroble.
Stroble advises drivers to take time during the first month of the year to review their car insurance policies, including the availability and amount of their uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage.
“Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to be hit by another driver who doesn’t have insurance,” says Stroble, whose personal injury law firm, The Michigan Injury Lawyers, P.C., represents motor vehicle accident victims in civil actions throughout Oakland County and the surrounding area.
“What happens even more frequently is that you’re in an accident with a driver who has inadequate insurance,” Stroble says. “That’s why you really need UM and UIM coverage, and you need it an amount that’s going to sufficiently protect you and your loved ones.”
Under Michigan’s No-Fault car insurance requirements, all drivers must carry auto insurance that will pay for all reasonable expenses for their injuries and up to three years of their lost income. In some instances, a driver may also be able to sue the at-fault driver for damages that could include medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Michigan law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $20,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury or death for one person, $40,000 for more than one person and $10,000 for property damage. Many insurance companies offer UM / UIM coverage in the same minimum amounts.
“The problem arises when the at-fault, negligent driver doesn’t have the required car insurance or just has the minimum liability coverage,” Stroble says. “In fact, most people only have the minimum 20/40 liability coverage, and that amount is likely only going to be a drop in the bucket if you are injured enough to bring a claim.”
In order to have a protection blanket, Stroble suggests purchasing from your insurer UM / UIM coverage that is above the minimum 20/40 limits. In many cases, for only a few more dollars per policy, a driver can increase their UM / UIM coverage to the 250/500 level, he says.
For example: If an injured driver had 250/500 in UM / UIM coverage and $250,000 in bodily injury damages, the driver would first seek to recover from the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
If the at-fault driver had no liability insurance, the injured driver would turn to their own UM coverage to recover the full $250,000. If the at-fault driver carried only the minimum $20,000 in liability coverage, the injured driver would need to first exhaust the at-fault driver’s $20,000 limit and then turn to their own UIM coverage to recover the remaining $230,000.
Because no Michigan law requires drivers to carry UM / UIM coverage, the terms of an insurance agreement between a driver and his or her insurance company will control. That’s why it is helpful to consult with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney when reviewing the terms of an auto insurance policy, including the policy’s UM / UIM provisions, Stroble says.
“There are many complex rules when it comes to filing a UM / UIM claim, and Michigan’s courts have made it clear that they will focus on that policy first to settle any disputes,” Stroble says. “That’s why it’s a good idea for a driver to make sure they understand their coverage.”
About The Michigan Injury Lawyers, P.C.
The Michigan Injury Lawyers, P.C. is a full-service Bloomfield Hills, MI law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Michigan, including Macomb County, Oakland County, Warren, Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Utica, Roseville, Troy, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Southfield, Pontiac, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. The firm’s personal injury practice areas also include truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, slip and falls, dog bites and wrongful death cases. To learn more about The Michigan Injury Lawyers, P.C. call (248) 454-0800 or (888) 454-0801 or use the firm’s online contact form.