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A lost tire & wheel struck my car on the freeway going 55mph. Is this a comprehensive or accident claim?

Troy, MI |

I was driving on 1-94 in Detroit when the vehicle in front of me lost its drivers side rear tire & wheel assembly. It came at me and hit my car. I have to file a claim with my insurance carrier (as it turns out the driver who lost their wheel assembly doesn't have active insurance) and my insurance carrier is telling me it's a comprehensive claim with a $500 deductible rather than an accident claim with a $0 deductible. I have a Michigan police traffic crash report from this incident. As a vehicle moving at 55mph lost part of their car that caused a collision with mine shouldn't this be a accident claim with my insurance carrier - this was a collision due to the mechanical failure of the car in front of me? Please let me know so I can dispute this with my insurance carrier.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

This may be helpful. It is a discussion I had on WJBK news last year on tires falling off cars and especially trucks and injuring and killing people. http://www.michiganautolaw.com/auto-lawyers-blog/2010/11/10/tv-news-interview-with-fox-2-detroit-tires-falling-off-trucks-causing-preventable-deaths-and-serious-truck-accident-injuries/
Thankfully, it sounds like you weren't injured.
Regarding the car damage part, you will need to go through your own auto insurance company, who will make all payments based upon your own coverage including rental car, etc.
Now, anything that your insurance company does not pay, or anything that you would be out of pocket on, such as your deductible, incidentals, or even the cost of a rental car if you don't have that coverage, you can still claim against the uninsured driver, who has no protection under our law and is not protected by the mini tort since he was uninsured. Your insurance company will also sue the uninsured driver or otherwise seek reimbursement from him or her for everything they pay on this claim. I hope this helps.

Posted

This collision appears to have been caused by negligent maintenance of the vehicle. Negligence is covered under your uninsured motorist coverage, which hopefully provides property damage coverage. UM coverage does not have a deductible. I suggest you review your policy and see whether or not you can make a UM claim.

Remember, your insurance company is neither your friend nor your good neighbor. The sole goal of any insurance company is to pay you nothing or as little as possible. If you have doubts about your coverage, I suggest you take your full policy language to an experienced insurance defense attorney and seek further guidance.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Steven M. Gursten

Steven M. Gursten

Posted

Hi Lars, you probably are correct in 49 other states. But Michigan is different because our mini tort statute essentially gives insured drivers complete immunity beyond the first $1,000 of the mini tort. The point I made above is that the driver as uninsured does not have protection for the mini tort and is thus responsible for all out of pocket costs for this person. But there is no such thing as a UM claim in Michigan for collision. UM would be restricted in this state only for injuries and pain and suffering compensation if the questioner was injured. Best, Steve

Posted

It would likely depend on the policy language (which is subject to interpretation/dispute). Will the other vehicle's insurance pay the deductible? You can sue in small claims court to pursue this matter.

Always consult an attorney IMMEDIATELY as there are time limitations on filing a lawsuit.

Posted

Report it to your insurance company to cover.

Posted

I-94 can be a crazy and busy highway. Well, the accident was caused by part of another vehicle during the operation of your and their vehicle. So, I believe there is a very good argument that this accident should be covered under collision. Read the language in your policy. Contradictory or ambiguous language in an insurance policy is suppose to go in favor of the insured policy holder. Comprehensive or collision you should be covered. Also, I agree you can go after this driver for your out of pocket and your insurance company may sue to recover what they paid out. Good Luck!

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