Getting involved in a car accident is a very traumatic experience. Besides the initial shock, there are many repercussions, including damage to your car, property loss and potentially serious personal injury.
Most of the time, the drivers stays at the scene and the responding police department can prepare a full report on how the accident occurred, the parties involved, and who was at-fault. However, sometimes accidents involve hit-and-run drivers. These situations demand a special focus because of the way insurance claims are handled and processed are different for hit-and-run crashes.
If you are involved in a Michigan car accident, it is important to get as much information as you can. If possible, get the license plate number of the other vehicle(s) involved. Get a make and model as well. If another vehicle operator involved in the crash decides to leave the scene, this information will be essential in tracking down the driver and/or owner of the vehicle at a later time.
When involved in a hit-and-run accident, it is essential to call the police and report the incident. Make sure the police arrive and you provide to the responding officer as much information as possible. Include witnesses if available. Take pictures of the accident scene. If you are injured, or in pain at the accident scene, make sure to tell the police officer and ask for medical attention if necessary.
Call Your Insurance Company – Pronto:
The next step is critical. Call your insurance company and report the incident. Many insurance carriers have clauses in the insurance policy that allows them to avoid covering certain losses if (1) a police report is not made within a certain time frame and (2) the insurance company is not placed on notice about the hit-and-run accident within a certain time frame.
For example, State Farm Insurance and Farm Bureau Insurance are well known for placing strict notice requirements in their insurance policies. This means if a policyholder has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, and the policyholder wants to turn to his or her own carrier for uninsured motorist benefits (UM), the carrier can deny payment of these benefits if they are not alerted to the hit-and-run accident within a certain amount of time.
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means your own insurance carrier is responsible for paying Michigan no-fault benefits, which include wage loss benefits, payment of medical expenses, payment for household chores, attendant care and other benefits. Even if you don’t have auto insurance, so long as you are not driving an uninsured vehicle you own at the time of the accident, you are entitled to these benefits.
However, under the Michigan motor vehicle law, uninsured motorist benefits (UM) are not mandatory. UM benefits are pain and suffering compensation that cover injury victims who were hurt be an uninsured at-fault driver. This includes hit-and-run accidents, so long as the uninsured vehicle made physical contact with the vehicle the injured victim occupied.
For example, you are a passenger in your friend’s vehicle and you are involved in a horrible car accident that is the fault of an uninsured vehicle. You don’t have any auto insurance of your own but your friend’s vehicle, the vehicle you occupied, is insured with AAA Insurance. So long as the other vehicle made physical contact with the vehicle you occupied, you are eligible to receive pain and suffering compensation through your friend’s insurance carrier by making an uninsured motorist claim.
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. has been handling Michigan hit-and-run accidents and Uninsured Motorist claims for over 40 years. Our experienced team of Michigan trial lawyers is standing by ready to assist you. Please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we may answer your questions. The call is fee and there is no fee unless we win your case.