You have rights according to un/underinsured motorists:
Be aware of your rights according to the un/underinsured motorist coverage of your automobile policy.
If you or a family member or a friend are involved in an automobile collision, it is essential to contact an experienced PI attorney right away. One of the most important reasons to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer is the preservation of evidence and in order to properly place your insurance company on notice of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, when auto accidents occur in Michigan, there is a fairly good chance that one or both of the drivers involved is either uninsured or underinsured. This mean that there may be no insurance coverage or a very small amount of coverage.
This could mean that the victim receives little or no compensation for a serious injury. For the driver who caused the accident, it could mean personal exposure of assets. And for an agent, it could mean liability for failing to advise an insured of the adequacy of coverage.
Thus uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is critically important. These cove rages are designed to fill the gaps where an at-fault driver’s coverage is lacking.
These coverages are a source of much misunderstanding in the insurance industry. Many times, agents and insurance practitioners do not understand the difference between the two types of coverage, how UM/UIM contracts are interpreted, and how to avoid liability for failing to advise clients regarding the adequacy of their coverage.
The law requires minimum liability insurance coverage of $20,000 for one individual and $40,000 for more than one individual for bodily injury or death and $10,000 for property damage. Unfortunately, some individuals get their license plates each year by paying the minimum insurance premium and then letting the coverage lapse for nonpayment. Thus, it is not unusual to encounter an uninsured driver in Michigan.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) was designed to provide a source of recovery when a driver without insurance causes harm. With UM coverage, the insurer pays the insured the damages the insured would have recovered had the other driver been insured, subject of course to the UM policy limit. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) goes one step further, allowing the insured victim to recover from his or her insurer damages sustained in an accident with an underinsured driver, or, put another way, a driver who has inadequate coverage to compensate for the injuries that are caused.
Michigan’s No-Fault Act does not require a driver to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Therefore, when a driver does have such coverage, the terms of the insurance contract control.
To recover under an uninsured motorist policy, the claimant must show that the other driver was: 1) uninsured; and 2) legally at fault. If the
claimant would not have been able to recover damages from the other driver, he or she will not be entitled to UM coverage.
To recover under an underinsured motorist policy, the claimant must first recover the full policy limit from the other driver. This precludes the claimant from accepting an amount less than the other driver’s policy limit as a settlement.
Claimants should also note that they need the permission of the underlying UM/UIM carrier to settle with the wrongdoer, even when the wrongdoer is offering the full policy limits.
There are also time limitations and statutes of limitations written into the contract, which the policy owner must comply with even if they have never read the policy. It is critical that injured individuals consult an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after a collision.
Please contact Jon Jilek at Koning & Jilek, P.C. if you or a family member or friend need assistance.