Getting into an accident while on a motorcycle in Michigan can be a life-changing event. The injuries that occur can involve bodily injury requiring hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and many follow-up visits. The effects the injuries have on the injured person and his or her family is immense. Obtaining compensation for these injuries caused by a negligent driver is an important way to help put the pieces back together.
Under the law, a person is entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering he or she is put through following a Michigan motorcycle accident. This occurs when another person disobeys traffic rules, like running a red light or making an illegal turn, thus causing a crash. When this happens, under Michigan law the injured person can make an injury claim for compensation against the driver and owner of the at-fault vehicle and their auto insurance company.
But what happens if the driver and owner of the negligent car is uninsured? What recourse do people have then? The answer is uninsured motorist benefits.
What is Motorcycle Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist (UM) benefits is a specific type of insurance coverage that Michigan motorcycle operators can and should purchase for their bikes. This coverage provides compensation for pain and suffering, as well as medical expenses and wage loss in some situations when an uninsured vehicle causes a crash.
UM coverage is sold by your own motorcycle insurance company. It is relatively inexpensive. The coverage is not mandatory so you must ask your insurance agent about it. It is highly recommended to have this coverage given the high amount of uninsured drivers operating car and trucks on Michigan roadways.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
The way it works is your own insurance company steps into the shoes of the uninsured at-fault driver and pays the pain and suffering claim. That way, you are not punished simply because you had the misfortune of getting struck by an uninsured driver while driver your motorcycle.
UM claims for a motorcycle rider or passenger are set up in much the same way an auto accident claim is established. A letter must be provided to your own insurance carrier asking to open a claim. Uninsured motorist claims are contractual in nature, meaning an injured claimant must follow the rules set forth in the insurance policy. Often, this requires the injured person to keep the motorcycle insurance company informed of treatment and to allow them to order medical records and bills.
An experienced and helpful lawyer can help explain the process of filing and receiving UM benefits, as well as protecting you from an insurance adjuster taking advantage of what can be a complicated process.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Sometimes, the at-fault vehicle does have insurance, but it is not enough to cover the injuries it caused. The minimum amount of liability insurance is $50,000 in Michigan. But what happens if the injuries are worth more than that? In this situation, you can turn to your own motorcycle insurance carrier for underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits.
Like uninsured motorist benefits, underinsured motorist benefits are not mandatory. It must be purchased as part of your normal motorcycle policy. It is not expensive and can provide a lot of compensation for broken bones, back pain, road rash, and other injuries following a motorcycle crash in Michigan.
For example, if you carry $100,000 in UIM coverage for your bike, and you are hit by a car with $50,000 in liability coverage, you can obtain the $50,000 from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance carrier. Then you can also obtain an additional $50,000 ($100,000 minus the $50,000 already received) in compensation from your own motorcycle insurance company.
Michigan Uninsured Motorcycle Lawyers Are Ready to Help
Following a motorcycle crash, it is important the right steps are taken. Especially if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. have helped motorcyclist owners and passengers throughout Michigan get the money they deserve. We can walk you through the process, answer all of your questions, and obtain the money and justice you deserve. Please our law firm call toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free consultation. There is never a fee until we win your case.
Video transcript 1
Uninsured motorist benefits is something that you can purchase through your auto insurance company or your motorcycle insurance company. And what it does is it pays for pain and suffering, or in some cases lost wages and medical bills if another person causes the accident who’s uninsured. So if you’re hit by an uninsured driver. There’s estimates in some parts of Michigan, 25 to 40%, or even 50% of motorists don’t have insurance. So I recommend everybody purchase uninsured motorist coverage, both for their bike and their car. It’s not expensive. In fact, it’s some of the cheapest insurance you can buy.
And what it does is it steps into the shoes of the at fault negligent driver who caused the crash. It’s not mandatory. You don’t have to buy it, but you should absolutely have it, because if you’re involved in a bad wreck that someone else caused and they’re uninsured, that person isn’t going to be collectible. You’re not going to get any money, but you can turn to your own insurance company for compensation. And we’ve been able to get hundreds of thousands of dollars or more for people who in another situation that they didn’t have a coverage would have nothing.
Video transcript 2
Underinsured motorist coverage. Now, this is different than uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage, also known as UIM coverage, works this way. All right, let’s say you’re in an accident. Someone else causes the crash. And they have insurance, but it’s not enough to cover the injuries that you sustained from the accident. What you can do is you can go after the other person who caused the crash. You can get their policy amount. Let’s say it’s the 50,000 minimum in Michigan. And then what you can do is you can file a claim with your own insurance company, if you have this, for underinsured motorist coverage.
So, for example, let’s say that you have an injury that’s worth $250,000. I’m just making this up. And the person who causes the accident only has $50,000. You can get the 50,000 from the at-fault driver, who caused the crash, from their insurance company. And then you can make a claim for 200, so 250 minus the 50 you were already paid, so an additional $200,000 from your own insurance company, if you have it.
This is another type of coverage everybody should have now. It is so cheap. I’ve seen policies where it’s literally $20 for six months for a lot of insurance. And again, you don’t know what another person has. There’s no reason you should be at their mercy. If they cause a broken leg or you can’t work for six months and they have barely any insurance, why should you have to live with that for the rest of your life? Have the insurance. Talk to your insurance agent. Get the UM. Get the UIM coverage. And you’ll be happy if, heaven forbid, you need it.