Getting involved in a car accident is a scary experience. The damage to vehicles can be immense and very expensive. More importantly, serious personal injury can occur.
These frustrations are magnified when the other driver leaves the scene, or when the so-called hit-and-run accident occurs.
In these situations, are Michigan car accident victims still covered under the Michigan no-fault law? The answer is yes.
Under the Michigan no-fault law, if a person sustains accidental bodily injury, he or she is entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits. It doesn’t matter if you are a passenger or driver, owner or non-owner of a car, occupant or pedestrian. If you are hurt in a car accident, you are covered (there is one exception to this general rule – if you are the owner or registrant of an uninsured vehicle that is involved in a car accident, you cannot make a claim for no-fault benefits or go after the other driver).
The same is true even if the other vehicle leaves the scene. Because Michigan is a no-fault law, even if the other vehicle leaves the scene, you can still obtain benefits. These includes wage loss benefits, reimbursement of medical expenses, replacement services and other allowable expenses.
Wage Loss Benefits:
Under the Michigan no-fault law, you are entitled to obtain wage loss for earnings you would have earned if not for injuries from the car accident. Specifically, the no-fault insurance company must pay 85% of gross wages for up to 3 years from the date of the accident. You are also entitled to wage loss benefits if you were temporarily unemployed at the time of the accident.
Under the law, the no-fault insurance company must pay for all reasonable medical expenses for treatment related to the auto accident. There is no time limitation. Even if you need the treatment 5 years after the accident, so long as a doctor relates the treatment to the car accident, it is covered. In addition, there is no dollar limitation to this benefit.
If a friend or family member is completing household chores you could complete before the car accident, but cannot complete due to car accident injuries, the friend or family member is entitled to payment for this work. This is called replacement services and the car insurance company must pay up to $20.00 per day for 3 years from the date of the accident.
Medical Mileage and Prescriptions:
The no-fault carrier must also reimburse you for medical mileage – or the mileage travelled both to and from a medical office for treatment related to the accident. In addition, prescription costs are covered as well.
If a person dies in a car accident and has dependents (i.e. children or a spouse), the dependents are entitled to various benefits, including lost wages, replacement services and possibly lost of other income. This is called a survivor’s loss claim.
Besides the above Michigan no-fault PIP benefits, a person injured in a car accident may also sue for pain and suffering, even if the accident involved a hit-and-run. If the injured person, his family or even the vehicle he occupied has “uninsured motorist benefits“, that victim may make a claim for pain and suffering.
Uninsured motorist (UM) benefits is a very important part of every auto insurance policy. This benefit is not mandatory in Michigan, but because so many people are driving around without coverage, it is a necessity. What UM coverage allows you to do is obtain pain and suffering compensation from your own car insurance company if the at-fault driver leaves the scene or is uninsured.
UM coverage is very cheap. Many 6 month policies cost less then $50 for more than $100,000 worth of UM coverage.
Getting hit by an uninsured driver, or a driver that leaves the accident scene does not mean you don’t have a case. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
If you or a loved one have any questions about the Michigan No-Fault law, hit-and-run accidents or uninsured motorist coverage, please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).
Our experienced and dedicated staff is there to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. We will fight hard to ensure you get the benefits you deserve. And we will treat you with dignity and respect.