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Car Accident Without Insurance Not At-Fault: Can I Sue?

August 17, 2020 by Steven M. Gursten

Car Accident Without Insurance Not At-Fault: Can I Sue?

You cannot sue for a car accident if you’re without insurance even if you were not at-fault driving your vehicle in Michigan. You cannot sue for pain and suffering compensation, medical bills, lost wages or vehicle damage repair costs even if you were completely innocent and the other driver was 100% at-fault. But you can still be sued for other people’s medical bills and lost wages.

This is one of the more absurd examples of just how unfair Michigan’s auto No-Fault law is. It shows how heavily the law is weighted in favor of the powerful auto insurance companies. Michigan imposes the most draconian and punitive measures imaginable for uninsured drivers. And while I agree everyone should be driving with coverage, is our public policy truly being served by giving immunity to drunk drivers and others who kill or seriously injure innocent people? This is an example of the punishment not fitting the crime, and a testament to the power of the insurance industry lobby that pushed this law through the Michigan Legislature.

It actually gets even worse for the driver involved in a car accident without insurance who is not at-fault in Michigan. In addition to being barred from suing the at-fault, negligent driver, the uninsured driver also faces civil fines, possible jail time, and a driver license suspension.

Allowing the insurance industry to re-write the Insurance Code in such a way that negligent drivers and drunk drivers get tort immunity because the people they kill, maim, or seriously injure happen to have been driving without coverage goes beyond the punishment of any other state in the nation today. It helps only the auto insurance companies and their bottom lines. It very deliberately was targeted at poorer cities like Detroit that have larger numbers of uninsured and higher poverty rates. It literally protects the insurance industry at the expense of taking away people’s right to a jury trial and constitutional redress of a wrong committed by another.

Car accident without insurance and not at-fault means you cannot sue for pain and suffering

Michigan law does not allow an innocent and injured car accident victim without insurance and not at-fault who was driving their own vehicle to sue the driver who caused the crash for pain and suffering damages because they don’t have the proper coverage required by the No-Fault law. (MCL 500.3135(2)(c))

Being uninsured and causing a vehicle crash means you cannot sue for medical bills and lost wages

If you were in a car accident without insurance and not at-fault and injured in someone, then you cannot sue for payment of your crash-related medical bills and/or reimbursement for wages you have lost if your injuries disabled you from returning to work.

Normally, a victim is entitled to recover No-Fault personal protection or PIP benefits to pay for medical bills (up to the No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage selected in the policy through which benefits are sought) and lost wages.

However, if you are in a car accident without insurance and not at-fault and the crash resulted in injuries to others involved –then you are disqualified from receiving No-Fault benefits. (MCL 500.3113(b))

That means that, unless health coverage or Medicare or Medicaid will provide coverage, the uninsured driver will have to pay out of pocket for his or her medical bills and lost wages.

Car accident without insurance and not at-fault means you cannot sue for vehicle damage

Normally, a crash victim can sue an at-fault driver under Michigan’s mini tort for up to $3,000 for vehicle damage repair costs. However, if you were in a car accident without insurance and not at-fault, you are disqualified from making a mini tort claim. (MCL 500.3135(4)(e))

However, an automobile crash where an uninsured driver didn’t cause the crash means You CAN STILL BE SUED for other people’s medical bills and lost wages

If you are involved in a car accident without insurance and 100% not at-fault, you can be sued for the money that auto insurance companies pay as No-Fault benefits for other people’s medical bills and lost wages – including for the driver who caused the crash.

In fact, the No-Fault law allows the auto insurance companies to sue you not only for “all benefits paid,” but also for “incurred loss adjustment costs and expenses, and incurred attorney fees.” (MCL 500.3177(1))

This is where Michigan law really heaps the insult on top of the injury. It also reveals just how truly beholden lawmakers are to the insurance industry.

Michigan drivers must have No-Fault coverage

Anyone who lives in or drives regularly in Michigan must maintain a valid auto No-Fault policy for his or her motor vehicle which is issued by an auto insurance company authorized to do business in Michigan and which provides “for payment of benefits under personal protection coverage” (which is also known as PIP benefits), “property protection coverage” and “residual liability coverage” (which is also known as bodily injury liability coverage). (MCL 500.3101(1), (2) and (4); 500.3108(1))

To learn more, check out our page on “Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverages in Michigan.”

Car accident without insurance but being at-fault

The situation only gets worse if you were in a car accident without insurance and at-fault. You could face any or all of the following consequences:

  • You could be sued by anyone injured in the automobile crash and held liable for their pain and suffering compensation.
  • You could be sued and held liable for the full value of the vehicle damage that you caused to another person or other persons involved in the motor vehicle crash. Because you were not insured, your liability will not be capped at the $3,000 maximum under Michigan’s mini tort law (for vehicle crashes that occur after July 1, 2020).

Because you were in a car accident without insurance and at-fault means you have no coverage to cover any of your liability for the above damages and compensation, meaning you will likely have to pay out-of-pocket using your own personal assets such as savings, checking, retirement, college accounts for your kids, your home, your vehicles, recreational vehicles and future income. The financial strain from your liability may force you into bankruptcy.

To learn more, check out my blog post on the “Top 9 risks of driving uninsured In Michigan.”

Best thing Michigan drivers can do to get their vehicles insured

The best thing that Michigan drivers can do to protect themselves and their families in the event they are involved in an automobile crash – whether they cause the crash or someone else caused the crash– is to make sure they have a valid No-Fault coverage that is required for their vehicle.

Here is my advice for “Recommended Car Insurance Coverage For New No-Fault Law.”

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you were injured in a vehicle crash and would like to speak to an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.

Car Accident Without Insurance Not At-Fault: Can I Sue?

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