Our client, a woman in her late 50s who we will call Ms. Smith for confidentiality reasons, suffered serious injuries in a car accident. She was travelling on I-96 in Detroit when another driver was driving too fast for the weather conditions and spun out of control. The at-fault driver struck our client’s vehicle on the back driver’s side at a high rate of speed. That driver then fled the scene. Nobody was able to obtain a plate number of any information on the driver.
As a result of the car crash, Ms. Smith suffered a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder, a meniscus tear in her knee, severe neck pain resulting in a disc herniation, and a concussion. The concussion has left her ongoing headaches. She ultimately needed surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff in her shoulder.
Because the at-fault driver took off, our client did not know what to do. Ms. Smith called the Lee Steinberg Law Firm and found out that she could use her own car insurance policy to not only get her medical bills paid, but also get a settlement for pain and suffering.
How Can You Get a Settlement If the Other Driver Has No Insurance?
Our client was able to get compensation because she had what’s knowns as Uninsured Motorist coverage, or UM coverage. This is insurance you buy from your own auto insurance company. It pays out money for pain and suffering, as well as bills and lost wages, if the person who causes a Detroit car accident is not insured.
UM coverage is not mandatory. This means not everyone has it on their car insurance policy. However, everyone should buy it due to the high number of uninsured drivers in Michigan.
UM coverage also applies in most hit-and-run accident cases.
What is the Different Between a Negligence Case and an Uninsured Motorist Case?
As stated above, this case dealt with uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist cases are different than standard auto negligence cases. In your classic auto negligence case, the named defendant is usually the driver and/or the owner of the at-fault vehicle. However, in an uninsured motorist case, a defendant is always the insurance company responsible for paying out UM benefits.
The normal auto negligence case is a tort action. This means the injured plaintiff must prove the other driver committed a tort, or wrong, and this behavior caused the injuries. An uninsured motorist claim is a contract case. Although the plaintiff must still prove the other driver was at-fault, the plaintiff is limited to the damages allowed by the insurance contract.
In addition, in an auto negligence case the driver remains the focus of the wrongdoing and the reason for the plaintiff’s harms, injuries and losses. In an uninsured motorist case, although you must prove the hit-and-run driver or uninsured driver caused the crash, the focus is on the insurance company and the various adjusters who have failed to compensate the injured plaintiff.
Why It’s Smart To Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Michigan
In Michigan, the number of uninsured drivers hovers in the 25% range. This number increases in many larger cities, such as Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids. Ms Smith was hit and severally injured by a driver who had no insurance on his car. A lawsuit could have been filed solely against the driver who lost control. But what would be the point? The driver is most likely not collectable and even if he or she was, they can declare bankruptcy and discharge the money judgment anyway.
This is why our car accident team filed a lawsuit against her own insurance company too. Our client had wisely purchased a lot of uninsured motorist coverage from her auto insurance carrier. Her injuries entitled her to money compensation. The carrier refused to pay. That is where our law firm came in and obtained a substantial settlement for her.
What If I Don’t Carry Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Without it, our client would have most likely ended up with nothing. Lawyers don’t like to file lawsuits against uninsured drivers in Michigan. There is no money in it for our client. She could have filed a lawsuit against the uninsured driver herself. But this would have ended up as nothing more than a collections case against a guy with no money.
Why Did the Plaintiff Get the Money She Did?
Although we cannot provide the exact amount our client received, it was in the six-figures. How did she get so much money?
First, she had significant injures that will impact her for the rest of her life. Obviously, the severity of the injuries matter.
Second, she purchased a lot of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. In Michigan, the minimum amount of UM coverage a person can buy is $50,000. Our client fortunately purchased much more. As a result, our team of car accident lawyers were able to get more money for her pain and suffering from her insurance company.
If she had only purchased the minimum $50,000, she would have been stuck with that amount.
Another reason our client obtained the settlement money she deserved was because she listened to her doctor’s advice and followed-his orders. The reality is a person can complain until the proverbial “cows come home.” But without medical treatment to document and substantiate your injuries, your case will go nowhere. Or at the very least, you won’t get the money you deserve.
In this case, Ms. Smith followed up with her doctors and specialists. After all conservative treatment failed, she listed to her doctor and underwent surgery. The surgery was successful and she had a solid recovery. Her treatment told the insurance company she was severely injured and was serious about getting better.
Ms. Smith’s treatment showed the insurance company she was injured and was doing her best to improve herself. Without the consistent medical treatment, Ms. Smith simply would not have received as much money.
Last, our dedicated team of Detroit car accident lawyers presented a thorough and solid case to the Defendant insurance company. We obtained all medical records, met with treatment physicians as needed, obtained the insurance company’s claims file, obtained discovery, and took depositions.
Our efforts showed the Defendant insurance company we meant business. We were willing to take her case to trial. Our goal was to get Ms. Smith as much money as possible, which ultimately occurred.
Having the Car Accident Lawyers of the Lee Steinberg Law Firm Makes All The Difference
The experienced Detroit car accident lawyer settlement team at Lee Steinberg Law Firm obtained a significant settlement for our client. We got all of her medical bills paid. She also received a substantial amount for pain and suffering.
Ms. Smith was able to move on both emotionally and financially. She was able to live her life to the fullest. She is financially secure and looking forward to a bright future again.