When you do not have a lot of money, you might get creative about paying bills. One payment that may fall by the wayside is car insurance. Yes, you need a car to get to work, but keeping a roof over your head and the heat on may be more important.
However, there are certain grave risks to driving uninsured in no-fault states such as Michigan. In fact, these risks are so tremendous that they deserve a role when you consider how to allocate your bill payments.
No ability to sue for pain and suffering in most cases
Michigan has a no-fault law that does not allow an uninsured motorist driving his or her own uninsured vehicle to sue for pain and suffering in the majority of cases. Even if the accident was completely the other party’s fault, you are likely still out of luck.
In cases where you are able to sue, the crash must have been at least 50 percent the other party’s fault and meet criteria such as serious disfigurement or death on your part. It is difficult to meet the standard of these “threshold injuries.” You never know what you might qualify for, though, so seek a lawyer’s opinion instead of doing nothing.
You might be made to pay the other party’s bills (and may not qualify for help with your medical bills)
Even when the other party is completely responsible for causing the accident, it could be that you will end up being held responsible for his or her lost wages and medical bills. Meanwhile, you could get no help for your own medical bills. This is because the no-fault law tends to disqualify you from collecting benefits. Meanwhile, the other party’s insurer can sue you to get the amount of money the insurer paid to help the other driver.
Your legal ability to drive can be limited
Driving uninsured can mean steep penalties such as fines and even jail time and license suspension. These restrictions, in turn, can affect your ability to get to work and pay bills and other financial obligations.