A car accident is usually a frightening, confusing, and overwhelming experience, but you do not have to go through it alone. After you have attended to your immediate medical needs, consult with an experienced Traverse City car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Our skilled Traverse City personal injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers know how to aggressively defend your right to compensation. Call now for your free initial consultation.
Auto Insurance Coverage in Traverse City
Michigan is one of several states in the country that has a no-fault insurance system. In no-fault insurance states, car accident victims make claims on their insurance policies and are entitled to benefits regardless of whose fault an accident was. In Michigan, this type of insurance coverage is known as personal injury protection (PIP), and drivers are required to show proof of PIP coverage when they get license plates for their vehicles.
Importantly, PIP only covers accident victims’ economic losses, like their lost income and medical expenses. This can often leave seriously injured victims with substantial uncompensated losses. Fortunately, Michigan law does allow people to file third-party insurance claims and car accident lawsuits under certain circumstances, including when victims suffer “serious impairment of bodily function.” To find out whether you can file a claim outside of PIP, call our office today.
NOTE: Michigan auto insurance reforms will be taking effect this summer, giving consumers significantly more choices regarding coverage and changing the way that claims will be handled. For this reason, it’s vital that victims consult with attorneys, like those at Michigan Injury Lawyers, who are aware of these changes and how it will affect their clients’ rights.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
The factors known to greatly increase your risk a car accident include:
The faster a driver is traveling, the more stopping distance he or she will require to avoid obstacles in the road. Speed also reduces the amount of control you have over a vehicle. Researchers have long known that speeding correlates with auto accident rates. The National Safety Council reports that speeding is a factor in 26 percent of traffic fatalities. This means that more than one out of every four road deaths in the United States was caused (at least in part) by a driver’s choice to travel at an excessive speed.
Speeding also increases the severity of injuries that are sustained in a traffic accident. It increases the force of a collision, which in turn causes a stronger impact. Your vehicle and your body will absorb that impact. Because of this, auto accident injuries are more likely to be fatal when speed is a factor in a collision.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Michigan drunk drivers killed nearly 3,000 people in one ten-year period. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk drivers kill nearly 30 people every day across the United States. Drunk driving is a pervasive problem in America, and injury victims must hold drunk drivers accountable by exercising their legal right to compensation for their injuries. Criminal prosecution is an important punishment, but civil lawsuits also impose consequences for the actions of drunk drivers—and compensate their victims.
Impairment can also occur as the result of prescription drugs, illegal drugs, recreational drugs, and marijuana (whether it is used for medicinal purposes or not). Many of these drugs do not have set blood concentrations for impairment, which can make it difficult to prosecute drugged drivers in a criminal court. Unlike drunk drivers, who are deemed to be impaired at a .08 blood alcohol concentration, a prosecutor has a harder time proving impairment by drugs. This is why injury victims need to hold drugged drivers accountable for their actions through a civil lawsuit.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Any part of your body can be injured in a car accident, but some injuries are more common than others. Common injuries you can sustain in a car accident include:
Brain injuries are among the most damaging of all injuries that a car accident can inflict. While mild brain damage can sometimes resolve on its own, such as a concussion, more serious brain injuries last much longer, and some are even permanent. The more severe the damage, the higher the risk of other complications. For example, if the brain is severely injured in the medulla region, your basic life functions (such as breathing, heart rate, and swallowing) can be impeded. This can be lethal without appropriate life support.
Even if a brain injury does not immediately threaten your life, it can permanently change the course of your life. Cognitive impairments can leave you unable to work in the job you held before the accident—or hold any type of job at all. Victims of serious brain injuries might require intensive occupational, speech, and vocational rehabilitation services for years to come. All of these expenses are directly related to the negligence of the driver who caused the accident, and can thus be compensated in a personal injury lawsuit.
Internal or External Bleeding
Bleeding—whether it is internal or external—can quickly become a life-threatening condition if it is not treated right away. Internal bleeding can be more difficult to identify, as there are not always obvious signs. Only medical professionals who are trained to monitor blood pressure and read diagnostic imaging can identify internal bleeding.
Serious internal bleeding might require surgery. It can impede the function of vital organs, such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. All of these organs depend on the oxygen fed to them by normal blood flow. Without normal blood flow, your vital organs will stop functioning properly.
Musculoskeletal Damage and Soft Tissue Injuries
While life-threatening injuries do not occur in every car accident, less serious injuries are far more common. These injuries cause pain and suffering, something you have the right to be compensated for as you endure the result of someone else’s negligent driving—even if your life is not in danger.
Damage to your bones or muscles results in musculoskeletal injuries. These can be mild, such as bruising and tenderness. They can also be serious; complicated bone fractures, for example, can require surgery and rehabilitation to heal properly. Soft tissue injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be quite painful—even when they are mild. Anyone who has ever sprained an ankle knows of the pain and inconvenience even a minor injury can have.
Experienced, Aggressive Car Accident Attorneys for Traverse City Injury Victims
Car accidents can permanently change the course of a victim’s life, and you have the legal right to be compensated for all the injuries and losses you suffer at the hands of a negligent driver.
The experienced Traverse City car accident attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers have extensive experience in defending the rights of injury victims. For years, Traverse City car accident victims have trusted our team to help them through a difficult time. Call now at (231) 649-2720 or contact us for your free initial consultation.