Even though the state has a mandatory insurance law, Michigan has one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the country. Furthermore, many Michigan motorists are dangerously underinsured, because Michigan also has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. Complicating matters even further, many of these drivers fear the consequences of a car wreck and flee the scene. Even if the other driver had little or no insurance, it is always important to contact a Michigan car accident attorney and hear about your legal options.
At Buchanan Firm, our uninsured or underinsured motorist accident lawyers offer more than aggressive representation. We also give you solid legal advice, so you can make the best possible decisions for you and your family.
Many times, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) insurance coverage is largely irrelevant. That’s because Michigan law contains some extremely broad vicarious liability theories. These legal doctrines give victims in uninsured/underinsured crashes an additional source of compensation.
The respondeat superior rule usually applies in truck accident cases. Employers are liable for the negligent actions, or inactions, of their workers if:
Other employer liability theories, which often apply in assault, battery, and other intentional tort claims, include negligent hiring and negligent supervision.
Many other states have limited or eliminated their dram shop laws in recent years. But Michigan has one of the broadest such laws in the country. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other commercial alcohol providers may be liable for damages if their impaired patrons cause car crashes. This law applies if:
Social hosts who provide alcohol to minors or impaired adults may be liable for damages as well, under a theory like negligent undertaking.
Vehicle owners who allow incompetent drivers to borrow their cars are vicariously liable for car crash damages. Evidence of incompetency includes:
Commercial negligent entrustment cases work a little differently, because of the Graves Amendment.
Unless tortfeasors voluntarily confess, it is hard to successfully prosecute them in criminal court. Because of the high burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt), prosecutors must normally produce a witness who saw the driver behind the wheel at or near the time of the crash.
But in civil court, the burden of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, if a uninsured or underinsured motorist accident attorney can identify the vehicle, the jury will probably award damages to the victim/plaintiff.
In many hit-and-run cases, investigators overlook important evidence. For example, many witnesses do not want to talk to police officers. But they will speak to a personal injury attorney.
Fair compensation may be available even if the tortfeasor flees the scene or has no insurance. For a free consultation, contact Buchanan Firm. Home and hospital visits are available.