Here are some of the most frequently asked questions the personal injury lawyers at Michigan Injury Lawyers hear regarding car accidents:
How does someone report a car accident?
Immediately after an accident, contact the police and report any and all injuries that have been sustained. The police will arrive at the scene. They'll create a police report, interview witnesses, and gather witness contact information. They will also, if necessary, assist in getting medical treatment for those injured in the accident. They'll also let you know how to get a copy of the police report. You'll need this for your car accident claim. When talking with police, it's important that you don't admit fault. Let the police conduct their investigation, then contact a car accident lawyer.
What should someone say or not say to other drivers or the insurance company after an auto accident?
Again, you never want to admit liability after an accident happened. You can certainly express empathy and concern for the situation, but ultimately never admit fault. Insurance companies may try to use this information against you to shortchange your insurance claim.
What should I do after a traffic accident?
After your car accident, it's important that you:
- Seek medical attention, even if you don't think you were seriously injured. You may have internal injuries that can get worse over time. A medical report from a doctor also can strengthen your auto accident claim.
- Review the police report of the accident either online or by calling the police department to get the names, phone numbers, and other contact information of witnesses and other drivers.
- Call Michigan Injury Lawyers. Our personal injury lawyers will do everything we can to secure a fair settlement in your car accident case and help you move forward after your accident.
Should I report the accident to my own insurance company?
Yes, you should always report your accident to your own auto insurance company as soon as possible if you are involved in an accident. You can call your insurance company, but most also allow you to report your accident online or through a mobile app. You should only report the basics—date, time, and location of the accident; make and models of other vehicles involved; and the other driver's insurance information. Don't admit fault or provide too many details as your insurance company may try to use this information against you.
When should someone get a car accident lawyer?
You should seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an accident. It's important from the onset to start off things on the right footing. By contacting an attorney immediately they can deal with the automobile insurance company on your behalf and begin the process of gathering evidence, and bringing your claim together in the proper context.
What happens when someone doesn't contact an attorney immediately after an auto accident?
Sometimes people delay reporting the onset of symptoms associated with an accident, which can make it difficult to establish the timeframe of when the injuries occurred in relation to the accident. Oftentimes the insurance companies or the defense attorneys will exploit that time delay and it will ultimately affect the value of the case.
What is the statute of limitations for filing an auto accident claim?
In Michigan, accident victims have three years to file a personal injury claim in civil court. There are very few exceptions to the statute that shorten or lengthen this deadline. If you do not file within this time, you will be unable to seek compensation through the court system. Your car accident lawyer can ensure your case is filed on time.
Can you report a car accident after 24 hours?
Yes. You have to report a motor vehicle accident to the police within 3 days. However, it's best to report it as soon after the accident occurred as possible.
Why should someone report a car accident?
Reporting an accident begins the process of preserving evidence. Like anything else, you want to build a strong foundation for your case. If you're building a house you want to start with a very strong foundation. A personal injury claim is very similar. You need to start with a very broad spectrum of gathering evidence, information, and facts.
How does someone win a car accident claim?
Well, there are really no winners in a personal injury case. I always tell people you don't want to have a good claim because if you have a good claim that means you have very substantial injuries. But ultimately how you get compensated for the injury that you have sustained is by immediately contacting an attorney—an attorney that's familiar and that's going to take a personal interest in your case. Oftentimes people contact larger firms that just operate on a burn and churn basis. It's a numbers game for them of how many cases they can get in and how fast they can process them. We try to take each case on an individual basis and maximize the car accident settlement for each individual client.
How long does it take to settle a car accident claim?
No two car accident cases are the same. You can often resolve a claim in three months and they can take as long as two years. It really depends on the individual, the claim, the facts, and oftentimes the insurance company that's involved. But each case is an individual case and must be looked at under the totality of the circumstances. Often, where your claim is filed come into play to determine how fast a case can be resolved.
In terms of dollar figures, what is the range you've seen in Michigan for settlements or jury verdicts?
The ultimate value of a claim is going to be on an individual basis given the nature of the injuries, the severity, and the impact that it's had on an individual. In order to even file a third-party claim against an at-fault driver, an individual must overcome the tort threshold in Michigan. Meaning they must suffer a serious bodily impairment that affects their general ability to lead a normal life or a permanent serious disfigurement. So in order to pass that threshold, an individual must have very serious injuries. The actual cash that a person ultimately receives often depends on the amount of insurance that's available for that party to access. That's why it's imperative people have liability insurance but also carry underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
What can I receive compensation for?
You may be able to file a claim for some of your accident-related medical expenses, such as:
- medical bills for current and future treatments
- attendant care
- hospital bills for current and future treatments
- lost wages if you're disabled and can't work
- pain and suffering
- replacement services
- transportation costs
- property damage
The Michigan auto lawyers at Michigan Injury Lawyers have helped many innocent victims get the money they need after their auto accidents, and we'll do our best to help you, too. You shouldn't have to worry about bills for an accident that wasn't your fault. Get our experience and dedication on your side—just dial (888) 454-0801 or fill out a free initial consultation form
What is someone entitled to in a car accident?
Depending on the extent of a person's injuries under Michigan law, there are what are called first-party cases and third-party cases. A first-party case is where you're entitled to personal injury protection benefits. You're entitled to all of your medical care arising out of the accident for life. You're entitled to a wage loss up to a certain amount, attended care services, replacement services, and transportation services. A third-party case is where you would ultimately file a claim against the at-fault driver or the at-fault driver's insurance company. In a third-party claim, you would be seeking noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, compensation for your injuries, and also economic damages above and beyond what you were compensated for as a result of your own personal injury protection benefits.
What would be considered economic damages above and beyond?
Economic damages are capped at 85 percent up to a certain amount for only 3 years. Depending on the severity of injuries, someone may have economic damages for the rest of their life. They can often go 20, 30, 40 years or more into the future. So it's important that you get compensation for yourself and for your dependents arising out of that third-party claim.
Who pays for my car accident expenses?
Because Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state, all drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This no-fault coverage provides compensation for your medical costs and partial lost wages after car accidents. But even after you receive money from your PIP, you may need to file a claim against the at-fault party—especially if your injuries were serious, disfiguring, or disabling—as PIP insurance often doesn't fully cover accident-related expenses.
Do I have to go to court?
Most car accident cases settle out of court. While the insurance company may offer you an initial settlement after the accident, these are usually “lowball” offers, and if you accept, you may forfeit your rights to full compensation. Our Michigan auto accident lawyers will fight to help you get the money you deserve. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, our lawyers will file a lawsuit in civil court on your behalf. Often just filing a car accident lawsuit prompts the insurance company to settle claims fairly. But if not, then our lawyers will take your case to trial and advocate for your rights in court.
How can a car accident lawyer help me?
When you need experienced, passionate, and caring legal help in your corner, consider Michigan Injury Lawyers. Our car accident lawyers are not afraid to do hard work on behalf of our clients, such as:
- collecting evidence
- analyzing the accident scene
- interviewing witnesses
- maximizing recovery
- and more
We'll also negotiate to get you the maximum settlement for your accident-related expenses. Don't try to deal with the aftermath of your car accident alone—call our Michigan auto accident lawyers, and let us handle your case so you can focus on getting better.
How important is it for someone to retain legal counsel when pursuing compensation?
Obtaining legal counsel after an accident greatly improves your ability to recover the maximum compensation for your damages. The legal field is ripe with pitfalls and landmines. Frankly, some attorneys that don't practice in this area of the law on a continuous constant basis aren't even up-to-date on all the latest changes in the law. Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side may enable both you and your loved ones to collect additional monies that may otherwise be missed. Insurance companies are not your friends. Their whole business model is predicated on paying out less money than they take in and how they do that is by denying claims and by minimizing injuries and minimizing the amount they pay out to injured individuals.
Can someone sue for negligence in a car accident?
Absolutely. If another driver is at fault for causing the accident and you were insured at the time of the auto accident, you can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver.
What happens if you're partially at fault in a car accident?
Michigan follows a modified comparative negligence standard in most personal injury cases, which means an injured accident victim can still recover damages if they are partially at fault. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. In Michigan, you can be up to 50 percent at fault and still recover damages. However, if you're more than 51 percent at fault for the automobile accident, you will be barred from filing a third-party claim. But under Michigan's no-fault system, if you sustained any injuries at the time of the accident and they arose out of the accident and were insured at the time of the accident, all of your medical care associated with that will be covered for life, under your first-party insurance benefits.
Who determines at-fault percentages and can those be challenged?
Fault absolutely can be challenged. Even if the police report finds one driver at fault, the determination of who is at fault will be determined by what's called the trier of fact. Either a judge or a jury will ultimately decide who is at fault and by how much in a specific incidence.
What happens in a hit-and-run accident?
Under Michigan law, if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident you can recover compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering by making a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage above and beyond your PIP benefits.
How much compensation can someone get for whiplash in a car accident?
Whiplash cases are very difficult in the state of Michigan because Michigan has the tort threshold I mentioned earlier of permanent serious disfigurement or a serious bodily impairment that affects one's general ability to lead a normal life. Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash are often difficult to establish. There needs to be substantial medical documentation that evidence the injury and how that impacts that individual's ability to lead a normal life.
How does someone get a car accident police report?
After the police have finished conducting their investigation, they will provide a report. The length of time it takes to get the report varies from department to department. You can find out by calling the police department that responded to the accident.
How much can you get from a car accident lawsuit?
Compensation varies on a case-to-case basis. I always say that no two cases are the same. It depends on the individual, it depends on their injuries. It depends on how that individual responds to those injuries... Read More
Is there an online resource to find jury verdicts and settlements for auto accident cases in Michigan?
People often look to Google to get information, but oftentimes the only thing that Google reports are things we in the legal field call outliers. These are cases that are either extremely low or extremely high... Read More
How does injury recovery time factor into a car accident claim?
That's a very complex question. Just starting from the baseline of how long a case can take, that can vary from where the accident even took place. It depends on the county where it took place... Read More
What other car accident questions do you get asked frequently?
The most common one is, “What is my case worth?” and again, it's a subjective standard, it really depends on the individual and the injuries that they've sustained. Anyone that walks into an attorney's office... Read More