Are the mandatory minimum insurance levels in Michigan too low? One judge thinks so. Find out if you are covered if the worst happens.
Where the Money Comes From
If you are hurt in an auto accident, there are a few ways you can get your medical expenses and recovery costs paid. Your own no-fault auto insurance will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, up to a point. Then, in serious accidents, you can sue to require the at-fault driver’s auto insurance to cover additional wage loss, disability, pain, suffering, and other damages. Any award above the policy’s limits are collectible from the driver himself or herself.
When It’s Not Enough
In some of the most severe cases, such as when a car crash victim dies instantly, the way the law works can result in very low awards. Since there are no medical expenses or ongoing loss, the amount of traditional damages paid by the auto insurance companies goes down even though the harm is sky high. Since most cases settle within policy limits, this can result in a surprisingly low number.
That’s what happened in a recent Lenawee County case. The victim’s family was resigned to settle for $20,000 – the most the at-fault driver’s auto insurance would cover – after a head-on collision took her life. Judge Greg P. Iddings said:
“Of course we’re stuck with the ridiculously low $20,000 limit that people are allowed to drive with in Michigan for insurance coverage.”
To better compensate the auto accident victim’s family, the settlement allowed her family to continue their First Party action against their own insurance provider. That will give the family some more relief. In addition, the at-fault driver pleaded guilty to “moving violation causing death” which required him to pay just over $3,000 in restitution for funeral expenses.
What Can Be Done
There are a few ways to protect your family from this kind of unthinkable outcome.
- Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance. This policy adds on to your no-fault benefits if the person who hits you doesn’t have enough coverage.
- Get Life and Disability Insurance. This is a different kind of insurance that kicks in whenever you are seriously hurt or killed. It can provide a cushion to your family while they wait for the lawsuits to resolve.
- Get a Good Trial Lawyer. Just because there are policy limits doesn’t mean you have to take them. The right trial lawyer can make all the difference between a mediocre settlement and a substantial verdict at trial.
The experts at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan are tested trial attorneys. David Christensen and his team are veterans at fighting the insurance companies and getting their clients the benefits they deserve and the recovery they need. If someone you love has been injured or killed in an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.