With more than 3.2 million registered vehicles on the road in Michigan as of 2016, car accidents occur on a daily basis. Many collisions are called mere “fender-benders” that result in no injuries and little property damage. Other car crashes, even some “fender-benders” result in severe or catastrophic injuries. The worst auto accidents often prove to be fatal.
When motorists are distracted, fatigued, intoxicated, driving aggressively or negligent behind the wheel, they can be held accountable when they cause an accident. The other drivers and passengers who are hurt deserve compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, other out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident in Michigan. If so, you may find it difficult to get the compensation you need and deserve from an at-fault driver or from the insurance companies. You need dedicated, experienced legal representation on your side. You need a car accident lawyer in Michigan who will fight to secure the financial compensation you need for your recovery.
Contact Christensen Law today to schedule a free initial case review. You can discuss the details of your car accident claim with one of our auto accident injury lawyers. You can also learn more about your legal rights and the monetary compensation you may be entitled to. You can reach us by phone or online now.
How a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
When you’ve been in a car accident in Michigan, you do not have to try by yourself to get compensation for your injuries and damages. Instead, turn to a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer from Christensen Law. A lawyer can help you pursue your car accident injury claim by:
- Investigating your accident to secure evidence you may need to build your legal case.
- Consulting with expert witnesses to develop persuasive legal arguments.
- Identifying who was at fault for your accident.
- Helping you understand the claim process and advising you on the best steps to take in your case.
- Contacting insurance companies and filing claims for compensation.
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to reach a settlement with full and fair compensation for you.
- Preparing your case for trial, if it becomes necessary, and arguing in court for the compensation you need and deserve.
Compensation in a Car Accident Claim
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that was another driver’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have experienced because of the accident. These damages may include:
- Ongoing and future medical treatment, such as hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s office visits, prescriptions, physical and occupational rehab, mobility and medical equipment.
- Long-term care costs, such as personal care costs or alterations to your home to accommodate disabilities caused by your injuries.
- Lost wages, if you miss time from work while recovering from your accident.
- Future lost earnings, if your injuries prevent you from earning the same level of pre-accident income.
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and mental anguish caused by your injuries.
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life due to physical disfigurement or disabilities.
- Property damage, including the costs for vehicle repairs or the cash value of a totaled vehicle.
A skilled car accident attorney will be able to review the details of your case to determine how much compensation you may be owed – for no charge.
Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Michigan
When you’ve been injured and suffered damages in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have a time limit on filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Michigan, the time limit on car accident lawsuits is two years from the date of your accident. The time limit on filing a lawsuit may be extended in certain circumstances. For instance, the time limit can be extended if you are a minor or if you were involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver who you could not immediately identify.
If you don’t file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the court may permanently dismiss your lawsuit. If that happens, you will lose your right to seek compensation for your accident.
In addition, if you are involved in a car accident with a government vehicle, you must provide the government with notice of your claim before a lawsuit can be filed. The notice period is significantly shorter than the time limit on filing a lawsuit. You should consult a lawyer to answer questions about the legal requirements of notice.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident in Michigan, take these steps to protect your rights and help strengthen your legal argument in your car accident claim:
- Call 911 or the police. If you or someone else in the accident has been seriously injured, call 911 for emergency medical assistance. Otherwise, contact the local police department (or state police for a highway accident). The officer who comes to the scene will prepare an accident report. This report will detail the officer’s findings and whether anyone was cited or arrested for the accident. Potentially, the officer may have an opinion on who may have been at fault.
- Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver(s). That way, you know who to contact if you later make a claim for compensation.
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene. If possible, photograph or video details of the accident scene. Show the positions of the vehicles after the accident as well as damage to the vehicle, any skid marks, traffic controls at the scene, and the weather, lighting, traffic and road conditions at the time of your accident. Also photograph any of the visible injuries you have.
- Notify your insurance company of your accident. Tell your insurer about your accident, even if you were not to blame. Your insurance policy probably requires you to promptly notify your insurer about any accident as a requirement for coverage under your own policy. Your policy may offer personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- Follow up with your doctor. After your accident, you may not feel any pain or other symptoms of injuries. But a doctor may examine you and identify injuries that you did not notice. Promptly identifying your injuries as soon as possible will allow you to make a stronger claim for those injuries when seeking compensation.
- Speak to a car crash lawyer about your rights and options. A car accident attorney will help you understand the car accident claim process and can begin investigating your accident to build a legal strategy.
Understanding Comparative Negligence in Michigan
If you were partially at fault for your car accident, you need to understand Michigan’s comparative negligence rules. Under the traditional contributory fault rule, an injured plaintiff who was partially to blame for an accident is barred from obtaining compensation. That is not the case in Michigan. The state’s comparative negligence policy allows an injured driver who was partially at fault for an accident to recover compensation so long as they were not more than 50 percent responsible. However, the injured driver’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault.
Let’s say that you were injured in a Michigan car accident and suffered $100,000 in damages. If you were found to be 20 percent at fault for your accident, under Michigan’s comparative negligence rules your compensation would be reduced by $20,000 to reflect your share of fault.
If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you are barred from collecting any non-economic damages for pain and suffering. You are, however still entitled to collect economic damages, but they will be reduced by the share of your comparative negligence.
As you can see, being partially at fault is not the end of your car accident claim. But it is critical that you have a car accident attorney who will vigorously argue to protect your claim under that negligence rule.