It’s no secret that car crashes can be terrifying and even life-threatening experiences, but the struggle for compensation that comes after the accident often surprises victims. Don’t let your fight for compensation get in the way of your recovery; let an Ann Arbor car crash attorney help you get justice.
After the deafening impact, shattered glass, and screeching tires of a car accident, the struggle is only just beginning for many victims. The physical pain and financially crippling expenses associated with car accident injuries can affect your life for years.
Unfortunately, when you seek compensation after a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you’re not likely to have an easy go of it. Complicated insurance practices, reluctant insurance companies, and the other driver’s lawyers all stand in between you and the financial help you need to recover.
That’s why many motor vehicle accident victims like you choose to enlist the services of an Ann Arbor car accident lawyer from Christensen Law.
Understanding Michigan Insurance Practices
Michigan requires drivers to carry no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. That means you can immediately collect compensation for your medical bills and some other expenses after your accident.
The downside, however, is that PIP insurance rarely covers all the expenses you’re going to encounter, especially if you’ve been seriously injured. Add to that the fact that most insurance companies are looking to offer victims the smallest amounts of compensation possible in the interest of enhancing their profits.
Sometimes, the PIP benefits you’re eligible to receive may be enough to cover your losses. An attorney can help you file a claim with your no-fault insurer so you can receive the maximum compensation allowed under your policy. PIP benefits can provide compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost work wages
- Replacement services
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
However, in certain scenarios, you can pursue compensation that extends beyond what your PIP insurance plan has to offer. If you meet Michigan’s definition of serious bodily injury, you can sue the at-fault driver or party in civil court.
Filing a personal injury claim may seem intimidating, but your Ann Arbor car collision lawyer will help you understand how to seek this additional compensation and can negotiate with the other side on your behalf.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Ann Arbor Car Crash Claim
Once it’s been determined that your injuries are serious enough to sue the driver or party responsible for your injuries by filing a personal injury claim, you’ll need to gather evidence to prove your case.
What kinds of evidence do you need? Evidence in your car crash case may include traffic camera photos or video footage, your photos of the damage to your vehicle and that of the other driver, witness statements, police reports, and your medical records.
Here’s a full list of examples of evidence commonly used in personal injury claims:
- Video evidence
- Witness statements
- Police reports and accident reports
- Accident scene expert analysis
- Medical documentation
- Mechanic reports
- Manufacturer recall information
- A record of how your accident and injuries are impacting your life
To receive the compensation you need to recover, your Ann Arbor car accident injury attorney will need to determine who caused your crash and hold that party accountable. Your lawyer will approach this task by examining all the available evidence.
The more evidence you can give your attorney, the better. And evidence has a way of fading as time passes after a car accident, so it’s best to get started right away.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement After an Ann Arbor Auto Accident
Once you’re confident in the evidence you’ve gathered, you must then show your hand to the insurance company and defendant. Arguing your case is what your attorney does best. We will negotiate the maximum compensation by using the evidence to show that you’ve been wronged and you deserve to be compensated for it.
If the involved insurance companies don’t agree to provide a fair settlement for your losses, we can take your case to the courtroom. Attempting to negotiate with insurance companies on your own isn’t a good idea. Insurers often try to take advantage of victims.
They will do everything in their power to pay you as little compensation as possible. One of the ways they do this is by tricking you into taking some responsibility for the accident. They know they can pay you less if you’re found partially to blame.
Another tactic they’ll use is dragging out the claim process as long as they can, hoping you’ll accept a lesser settlement amount because you need the money sooner rather than later.
Because you aren’t aware of all the legal details or what you should and shouldn’t say during these procedures, you may end up saying the wrong thing and hurting your case. Your Ann Arbor auto crash attorney can speak with insurers for you, and we’ll fight hard to make sure your claim is a success.
Who Might Be at Fault for Your Ann Arbor Vehicle Collision?
It’s not uncommon for one driver to automatically blame the driver of the other vehicle for the car crash, but that’s an overly simplified way of viewing a vehicle wreck. Sometimes, it very well may be the fault of the other driver. Perhaps he or she wasn’t paying attention and smashed right into your car.
In many cases, however, there could be multiple factors that led to the collision. Multiple parties could have played a role, and determining who was at fault can get complicated. As if that isn’t confusing enough, different parties can even be held partially liable, including you. Michigan law calls this situation comparative fault.
It’s perfectly possible for three or more parties to all share the fault for a collision in Ann Arbor. As long as you aren’t assigned 50 percent or more of the blame, you can still sue the other parties for compensation. The value of your claim will be reduced by the percentage of fault that’s found with you, however.
To illustrate the above, here’s an example: Let’s say vehicles A and B were traveling beside each other on the freeway when vehicle A’s tire blew out, causing a large wreck involving five different vehicles, including vehicle B. Who’s to blame?
Was it the driver of vehicle A, whose tire blew out? Was it the mechanic who serviced that tire just yesterday? Was it another car on the freeway that was speeding and didn’t slow down when vehicle A had the blowout? Or was it the driver of vehicle B, who swerved and overcorrected because he or she was texting and driving?
Multiple parties could share some of the blame in that situation. Below is a list of some common factors that lead to auto collisions:
- Drugged driving
- Reckless driving, including speeding
- Poor mechanical work
- Defective vehicle parts
Assessing the Damage
Car accidents are among the leading causes of injury in Ann Arbor and across the United States. As for your crash, you’ll need to document your injuries and property damage to stand the best possible chance of receiving all the compensation you need.
You’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible after your crash. This serves two purposes: It ensures you receive the medical care you need to stay healthy, and it provides documentation of the severity of your injuries.
In addition to compensation for your injuries, your car accident lawyer will help you decide which damages you should seek compensation for. Some common damages car accident victims name in their claims include the following:
- Medical bills
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Property damage
- Lost time at work
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
Let a Car Crash Lawyer in Ann Arbor Help
To speak with a car accident lawyer in Ann Arbor at David Christensen Law, give us a call at 248-213-4900 or fill out the online contact form below. We offer free case reviews, so you can discuss your auto injury case with us without obligation. And if you’re having trouble getting around right now because of your injuries, we’ll come to you.