Michigan Car Accident Injury Attorneys – Frequently Asked Questions
A car accident is one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. Although many accidents are minor, some can cause life changing injuries. The Michigan car accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm fight for the money compensation and justice our clients deserve.
The harm our clients experience goes beyond medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. We want to ensure our highways and roadways in Michigan are safe. We aim to prevent future wrongdoing. This means holding individuals accountable when they cause a crash. It also means making sure the car insurance company pays the no-fault PIP benefits and pain and suffering they are obligated to pay following a collision.
Review our Frequently Asked Questions below and check out our driving related blog posts. If you need a free consultation from an experienced Michigan car accident attorney, fill out the contact form or give us a call. We will explain your rights in detail. We are experts in Michigan car accident law, having handled thousands of claims for individuals across the state. We have obtained hundreds of millions for our clients.
With over 40 years of experiences, our Michigan car wreck injury attorneys know how to fight for you and help get your life back on track. Remember, you don’t pay a cent until we win or settle your case.
Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) and let us help you with your car, truck, or motorcycle accident case.
Car accidents are scary and frightening events. The confusion and adrenaline rush can cause individuals to forget to do even simple things. However, there are basic steps every person should take following a Michigan car crash.
First, make sure everybody inside the car is accounted for and responding. If somebody is seriously injured, provide aide to them as quickly as possible. Every car should have at least a basic first aid kit, which includes bandages, blankets, band aids, adhesive tape and antibiotic ointment.
Second, call 911. Let the 911 operator know if anybody is injured so medical personnel can come to the scene as quickly as possible.
Next, make sure the police are called to the accident scene. It doesn’t matter what the severity of the accident is, call the police so a proper police report is prepared by the local authorities. When the police arrive, make sure you provide your side of the story to the responding officer.
While at the car crash scene, exchange information with the other drivers. Get their name, address, telephone number and auto insurance information.
Take photographs of the accident scene on your cellphone. This includes takings pictures of the vehicle damage to not only your vehicle, but the other vehicles as well. Take pictures of the license plates of all the vehicles in the crash too. If necessary, take video of the accident scene to preserve evidence for later use.
Following a crash, the responding police officer will complete what’s known as a Traffic Crash Report, or UD-10 Report. This report will contain the name, address and telephone numbers of all parties involved in the accident. It will include car insurance information, whether an ambulance was called to the scene, how the accident occurred, where the accident occurred, and who was at-fault for causing the accident and why.
All of these pieces of information are important. The auto insurance company for the other driver will use the police report to decide whether to accept responsibility. Your own auto insurance carrier will want the police report to evaluate the insurance claim and the payment of Michigan no-fault benefits that are available to the individuals injured in the crash.
These steps are only the beginning. It is important to also speak to an experienced and knowledgeable Michigan car accident attorney who can answer any question you have and point you in the right direction. The Michigan car wreck injury attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm handle Michigan car collisions throughout the state.
We have litigated cases against virtually every insurance carrier that sells policies in Michigan. We know what tricks they pull and what games they play. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we can assist you on your case.
Yes. Always contact the police following a Michigan car crash. This is important no matter the severity of the accident.
First, a police report is necessary to quickly make a claim for vehicle damage with your insurance company. Under the Michigan mini-tort law, you can obtain up to a $3,000 for vehicle damage from the other driver so long as the other driver was at-fault for causing the accident. The police report is typically used by the car insurance carrier in determining whether to pay the mini-tort claim.
Second, a police investigation is important so the proper person at-fault for causing the accident is identified and cited by the authorities at the time of the accident. Even if a ticket is not given to the at-fault driver, the police will assign a hazard action to the at-fault driver. The hazard action assigns negligence or fault. This information is later used by the insurance company in deciding whether to accept liability for car accident injuries. Without the report, it can be much more difficult to quickly obtain compensation.
Most importantly, the police can analyze and evaluate how the accident occurred. The police can obtain the name, address, telephone numbers and insurance information of the individuals involved in the auto crash. They can talk to witnesses and put their information in the police report. They can obtain video surveillance of the area. A responding officer may take measurements of skid marks, record vehicle damage information or take photographs of the accident scene. All these items are important pieces of evidence that can be very important in a claim for Michigan no-fault benefits or in a negligence lawsuit.
Getting a police report after a car accident is very important. The report provides you with most of the details stemming from the car crash. This information is vital in making insurance claims and obtaining PIP benefits, such as lost wages and the payment of medical bills.
After every car accident, the responding police officers will complete what’s known in Michigan as a Traffic Crash Report, or UD-10 Report. This report details all the pertinent facts surrounding the accident. This includes the names, addresses, telephone numbers of all motorists involved, the names and details of passengers, the make and model of the vehicles, whether an ambulance was called, auto insurance information, plate information as well as vehicle damage.
In addition, the report contains a narrative section, which details how the incident occurred and who was at fault. A hazard action will be assigned. If a driver is assigned a hazard action of “00” or none, then the driver is not at-fault. However, if a number is listed then some form of fault was assigned to the driver.
The police report provides a wealth of information. This information is then used by the car insurance companies in deciding whether to pay compensation. For example, under Michigan’s mini-tort law a person may receive their deductible up to $3,000 from the other driver for the vehicle damages caused by the crash. However, if you were placed at-fault for causing the accident, the other person’s insurance carrier may not make a mini-tort recovery available.
The other driver’s insurance carrier will also use the police report to determine fault for purposes of paying pain and suffering compensation. Under Michigan law, the other driver must be at-least 50% at-fault for causing the accident for the plaintiff to obtain pain and suffering compensation. If you are more than 50% at-fault, you cannot recover money compensation for pain and suffering.
The police report is the first point of reference insurance companies use when making a liability determination. Because of this, it’s important to get a copy of the report. Make sure to review it to fight any negative things about the report that are incorrect. You can do this by calling a knowledge Michigan car accident law firm who will fight for your rights.
Unless you are involved in the most minor of fender-benders, you should always seek medical attention following a Michigan car accident. Even if you feel fine at the car accident scene, a medical professional can evaluate you and make a sound determination as to whether you are medically okay or not.
Car accidents can cause serious internal injuries, including dissections and internal bleeding that don’t present themselves right away. An accident victim who thought he or she was fine immediately following a car accident can find themselves in a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition merely a few hours later.
Obviously, the costs of treatment are high. But under the Michigan no-fault law, a car insurance carrier is responsible for paying auto related medical treatment. So even if you don’t have health insurance, or your health insurance is limited, your medical bills will be covered by the auto insurance carrier up to the PIP coverage limit.
It is the best practice to ask for an ambulance while at the accident scene so medical personnel can make a quick evaluation. At the very least, you should schedule a doctor’s appointment with a family doctor or visit an urgent care as soon as possible after the accident. While at the doctor’s office, medical testing such as blood work and imaging scans can mean the difference between life and death. These imaging studies can include x-rays, CT and MRI. It is always the best policy to get checked out by a medical professional.
Getting injured in a car accident is an extremely unpleasant and frustrating experience. Sometimes the injuries prevent the accident victim from working. In these cases, the stress is magnified as the bills pile up.
However, the Michigan no-fault law provides an avenue for quick relief. Under the law, the no-fault insurance carrier responsible for paying the no-fault PIP claim (usually your own car insurance company) is obligated to pay 85% of lost wages. So long as you provide proof of wages, as well as a disability script from a doctor disabling you from employment due to the car accident, the car insurance carrier must pay lost wages within 30 days of receipt.
Proof of wages can be done in several different ways. Providing pay stubs for a few months prior to the car accident gives the insurance company a baseline for your rate of pay, hours worked, overtime worked and other wage information. Often, the auto insurance company will want your employer to complete a Wage, Salary and Employment Verification Form.
Ask the car insurance company to provide you with this document immediately. Take the document to human resources or your boss to get it completed as quickly as possible. Getting the verification form completed by your employer can often be the biggest hold-up in getting your wage loss claim paid.
Calling and emailing the car insurance adjuster handling your claim to check on the status of the claim is important. In the claims process, the squeaky wheel often gets the grease. Wage loss benefits are available to the Michigan car accident victim without regard to fault. So even if you caused the car accident, you are still entitled to wage loss benefits.
In addition, it is important to contact any short-term disability (STD) insurance carrier or long-term disability (LTD) carrier you may have to inquire about wage loss after a car crash. Some employers provide STD or even LTD to employees as a benefit. Entitlement to such policies involve the completion of an application as well as detailed medical notes from a treating physician. These notes describe the injured person’s medical conditions and reasons for disability from work. It is important the injured person gets this documentation completed as quickly as possible to ensure prompt payment of disability payments.
Typically, the Michigan no-fault insurance carrier responsible for paying wage loss benefits will get to set-off any STD or LTD payments paid by another insurance carrier. For example, if you are entitled to receive $100 in no-fault wage loss benefits, and you are receiving $65 in STD payments following a car accident, the auto insurance company may only have to $35 in wage loss benefits.
It is important to check your own insurance policy to find out if this set-off is required. If you have a no-fault policy that is coordinated for wage loss with a disability carrier, then the set-off is probably mandatory. It your policy is not coordinated for wage loss, then there not be a set-off and you can keep the whole thing.
The Michigan car accident injury lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm handle Michigan car wrecks throughout the state. We specialize in Michigan lost wage cases. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we can assist you and walk you through the process.
When a person is injured in a car accident in Michigan, they are covered by the Michigan No-Fault Law. This law provides a list of benefits available to people injured in a car, truck or even a motorcycle accident. These includes include the following:
- 85% of lost wages for up to 3 years from the date of the crash
- Payment of hospital bills and medical bills up to the PIP limit
- Payment of prescriptions and medical mileage
- Household chores or replacement services
- Attendant care
- Home modifications
- Professional nursing care
These benefits are different than money for pain and suffering. Under Michigan law, almost everyone is entitled to PIP benefits. This includes individuals who are at-fault for causing the crash. So even if a person is drunk driving, or ran a red light, he or she can obtain no-fault PIP benefits for the injuries they have. Pain and suffering compensation is only available to people who are 50% at-fault or less for causing the wreck.
The Michigan No-Fault Law makes it clear which auto insurance carrier is responsible for paying no-fault PIP benefits. Under MCL 500.3114 and MCL 500.3115, the law sets the order for which auto insurance carrier must pay a claim. This is called the “order of priority.” In general, the order of priority is the following:
- The personal car insurance carrier for the person injured in the accident.
- The car insurance carrier of a resident relative
- The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP)
This order does not change whether you are inside (occupant) a car when the crash occurred or outside the vehicle (non-occupant). Under the old law, there was a difference. But not any longer.
To help illustrate the order of priority, I will provide an example. Let’s say a person is a passenger in their friend’s vehicle when the friend loses control of his car in a bad snowstorm. The passenger breaks her leg. At the time, the passenger had her own auto policy with State Farm Insurance. In this situation, State Farm must pay the medical bills and no-fault benefits. This is true even if the car insured by State Farm was not involved in the crash.
But let’s say the passenger does not have auto insurance. However, she lives with her mother who is insured with Allstate Insurance. As stated above, the next car insurance in the order of priority is a resident relative (parent, child, sibling, spouse). Therefore, Allstate Insurance must pay the no-fault benefits of the passenger. This is the case even though the vehicle Allstate insures is not involved in the accident.
But let’s say the passenger does not have her own auto insurance policy and does not live with a relative who has car insurance. In this situation, she must turn to the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) for the payment of her no-fault benefits. The MACP is an organization run by the auto insurance industry and monitored by the State of Michigan. After completing an Application for Benefits, the MACP will assign a car insurance company to pay the no-fault benefits for the passenger.
The order of priority can change if a transportation vehicle is involved. Transportation vehicles include things like buses, taxis, limos, and other similar rides. The order of priority also changes if an employer provided vehicle is involved in the crash or a person is using an Uber of Lyft car when the collision occurs.
Finding out the correct car insurance company to pay a Michigan no-fault claim as early as possible is so important. It makes the difference in getting much needed lost wages or not. If you have any questions about which car insurance company must pay your medical bills or lost wages, give the Michigan no-fault lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm a call. The phone call is free, the consultation is free, and we never charge a thing until we win your case.
The amount of Michigan no-fault benefits available to an injured person depends on the amount of PIP coverage that applies to the accident. Under the old law, all PIP policies were unlimited. This meant the auto insurance company had to pay all costs related to a car accident, with no dollar limitation.
But that changed in July 2020 when car insurance companies in Michigan were allowed to sell policies with limited PIP coverage. Now individuals can purchase PIP coverage amounts that have a cap. The policies available typically have the following converge limits:
- Unlimited PIP
- $500,000 in PIP
- $250,000 in PIP
However, there are certain individuals who can purchase even less PIP coverage. Certain Medicaid beneficiaries are eligible to only buy $50,000 in PIP medical coverage.
Still others can opt-out of PIP coverage entirely. These people are those with “qualified health coverage”, as defined by MCL 500.3107d(7). They include folks with Medicare Part A and Part B, or people with private health insurance that “does not exclude or limit coverage for injuries related to motor vehicle accidents” in any way. To opt-out of PIP coverage, the auto insurance carrier must receive documentation that proves the applicant is in fact entitled to opt-out.
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means the auto insurance company may be obligated to pay your medical bills from the car crash. This type of coverage is called PIP (personal injury protection). The car insurance company must pay PIP even if you are at-fault for causing the crash.
In most situations, private health insurance is the primary payer for Michigan car accident-related treatment. This is because almost all car insurance policies are coordinated policies, meaning the car insurance carrier coordinates with private health insurance policies. In this situation, the car insurance company is secondary for paying car accident medical care.
However, there are various exceptions. First, state or federal government insurance is always secondary to PIP coverage. This means Medicaid, Medicare and VA insurance will not pay Michigan car accident medical bills when PIP coverage is applicable. Instead, the Michigan car accident insurance company responsible for paying the claim is primary and obligated to pay all hospital, doctor and rehabilitation bills from the car wreck up to the PIP coverage limit.
Second, if the car accident insurance claimant had an uncoordinated policy (the car insurance company did not coordinate with private health insurance), or no health insurance policy at all, then in those situations the car insurance company is primary to pay car accident treatment.
Sometimes private health insurance is secondary, even if the car insurance carrier claims it is secondary too. Many private health insurance carriers like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, United Health Care, HAP, Priority Health are self-insured ERISA plans.
In these situations, federal law preempts state law. When this occurs, the specific policy language of the private health insurance plan controls. If the policy specifically says the health insurer (Aetna, United Health Care, etc.) is a secondary payor for purposes of auto accidents, then the no-fault carrier will be primary for payment. This is true even if the car insurance is a coordinated policy.
Medical expense coverage is one of the most important questions following a Michigan auto accident. Medical bills can be enormous and understanding who is responsible for paying them is important to know as early as possible.
If you have any questions about medical expenses following a Michigan car wreck, please give our office a call at 1-800-533-3733 (1-800-LEE-FREE). Our dedicated team of Michigan no-fault lawyers can answer your questions and help determine who must pay your medical bills
Owning up to causing a car or truck accident can be a difficult thing to do. If you were at-fault for causing the accident, then admitting fault to the other drivers and the police is not only the morally correct thing to do, but also your legal obligation.
However, if you were not at-fault for causing the car accident, it is vital to explain to the responding police officers at the accident scene how you did not cause the accident and why.
Make sure you tell the police officer in detail how the accident occurred and why another motorist was at-fault. If there are witnesses to the accident, get their names and telephone numbers. Ask them politely but sternly to stay at the accident scene so they can give their opinions to the police. It is also important you keep the personal information of witnesses so they may be called at a later time, such as for a deposition or trial.
If you were too injured to talk to the police at the scene, make sure you follow up with the police as quickly as possible. This means contacting the police from the hospital if necessary. It is very important they get your side of the story. Without it, they may put you at-fault for causing the crash. This can make it much more difficult to receive pain and suffering compensation for an accident you did not even cause.
Last, never admit fault to the police if you did not cause the accident. Sometimes police officers can assert blame to a driver even if that motorist did nothing wrong. Looking to finish the report and move on to the next call, the police officer may become intimidating and demand that you admit fault.
Don’t back down. If you are innocent, and did not cause the accident, stick to your guns and explain again and again why the other motorist was guilty.
Often police interrogations at accident scenes are recorded by police surveillance video. These interrogations can be one sided, but the audio surveillance will show this. In addition, the video will show that right from the start, you were adamant about your innocence and why the other motorist did something wrong. These initial impressions from the accident scene plays well for a jury.
Medical records are an important piece of evidence for your Michigan car accident injury claim. They provide details as to your injuries, the diagnosis, the types of medical treatment you received and why such treatment was needed.
They also highlight whether your treating physicians relate your injuries and disabilities to the car accident. This is vital because if your own treating physicians will not relate your injuries and the need for treatment to the car accident, your ability to get compensation for your injuries is greatly compromised.
If you wish to obtain medical records, you can do so by simply contacting the hospital or doctor’s office you sought treatment from. Typically, you will have to fill out an authorization or some other form to get the process started. When getting your medical records, also ask for any imaging studies (x-rays, CT scans and MRIs) we well. Medical records should be provided to you on a CD or through an Internet link. In addition, make sure your medical records include any disability slips and referrals your treating physicians completed.
Most injured claimants do not get their own medical records. Medical records are typically ordered by your attorney. Copying charges can be quite expensive. Hospitals and doctors use independent medical copy services to provide medical records to attorney offices and charge accordingly. However, if you wish to obtain your own medical records, you may do so.
Yes. Proving how bad the vehicle damage is following a Michigan car wreck is important. It shows the insurance company how violent the car accident was, what needs to be repaired and how extensive the damage is.
A simple car repair estimate can go a long way to demonstrate to the insurance company and jury the significance of the crash. This can increase the value of your case. In addition, under Michigan law, the person at-fault for causing the car accident is responsible for paying some of the vehicle damage. This is called a mini-tort claim.
Under mini-tort, the at-fault driver must pay the deductible for the property damage, up to $3,000. If the at-fault driver did not have maintain mini-tort coverage, then a claimant can go after the at-fault driver for the full amount of the vehicle damage in small claims court or district court. However, most insurance policies include mini-tort coverage.
Sending the car insurance company a vehicle damage report or collision estimate helps make the mini-tort payment process move quickly. It provides the best evidence of the vehicle damage costs and the need for the at-fault carrier to pay the claim.
Last, it demonstrates to the insurance company and jury how serious you take the car accident. Many jurors get upset when they found out the accident victim didn’t even get a collision estimate. Some may think how bad could the accident have been if the victim didn’t even bother to get their car checked out? By getting a collision estimate done, you put those doubts to rest and show the insurance company, judge, and potential jury that you take your car accident seriously.
Under Michigan law, your own car insurance company is responsible for paying the vehicle damage following a car crash. This type of coverage is called collision coverage. Collision coverage is not mandatory. Not everyone purchases it because it is expensive. If you purchased collision coverage, then a repair estimate will be performed and the insurance carrier will pay for vehicle repairs, minus your deductible.
If the repair costs are more than the value of the car or truck, the car insurance company will total the vehicle. When this happens, they are obligated to pay the net present cash value of the vehicle.
However, if you only have PLPD (personal liability and property damage), and did not purchase collision coverage, then your own car insurance will not pay for vehicle repairs. The car insurance company for at-fault driver who caused the vehicle damage is only responsible to pay up to $3,000 in damages for the vehicle repair. This is a called a mini-tort claim.
To obtain a mini-tort recovery you must prove the other driver was at-fault. In addition, the at-fault vehicle must have the mini-tort coverage as part of his or her car insurance coverage. Most car insurance policies include mini-tort coverage.
It is important to check your car insurance periodically to make sure you have the protection you think you have. I have had many clients call me and tell me they “have full coverage” when in fact they did not. If you don’t have full coverage (collision coverage), then you are very limited in the compensation you can get for your damaged car or truck following a crash. This is true even if you did not cause the wreck.
A lot of Michigan car accidents involve severe car damage. When this happens, the vehicle will need to be repaired or the insurance company will total the car or truck. Obviously, this leaves the motorist without the use of that ride. The stranded motorist will need to turn to an alternative form of transportation, such as a rental vehicle. Are people involved in a Michigan car crash entitled to a rental vehicle? The answer is it depends on whether your purchased rental car coverage for your own policy.
When a crash occurs, the other person’s car insurance is not applicable for the payment of a rental car. Even if the other guy ran a red light and caused all the vehicle damage that disabled your own car, their insurance company does not have to supply a rental car. Instead, a claimant must turn to his or her own insurance carrier. If the person has purchased rental coverage, then the insurance company will pay for a rental car.
Typically, car rental coverage varies by the amount of time it will cover a rental car. In addition, the amount of coverage per day will also vary. For example, some policies may allow $75 per day in rental car coverage, while others allow much less. Some Michigan car insurance policies will pay for a car rental for 3 weeks or longer, while others have much shorter coverage periods. It all depends on what coverage the policyholder purchased.
Filing a car insurance claim is very easy. The quickest way is to simply call your car insurance carrier and report what happened. Most Michigan car insurance companies are open 24 hours per day with representatives accepting new claims.
When you call the insurance carrier to report a claim, make sure you explain in detail how the accident occurred. If you were injured in the accident, tell them your injuries. Be as detailed as possible. Don’t be afraid. It is important the Michigan no-fault insurance company handling your medical claim understands from the outset your injuries and impairments. If you fail to disclose injuries at the beginning, the adjuster can be more difficult later on.
When you do make an insurance claim, make sure you get a claim number. This claim number is the key identification for all insurance representatives who will handle your case. Without it, they can’t identify you and future conversations with them will be frustrating.
In addition, the claim number is like your medical insurance card when making a medical, no-fault PIP claim. If you are injured in a car accident, and need to seek treatment, every medical provider you see should get your health insurance information, as well as your car accident claim number.
Under the Michigan no-fault law, the auto insurance carrier is responsible for paying auto related medical treatment that regular health insurance does not cover (up to the PIP limit). With your no-fault claim number, the medical provider can charge the car insurance company so you don’t get stuck with the bills.
Another way to file a claim is to call your insurance agent. The agent will then take down the information you provide to him or her and then call the insurance company to report the claim. I am not a fan of doing this for the simple fact the insurance agent may not be as detailed as the injured person would be. The insurance agent may forget to include important facts, such as injuries and medical treatment.
Some insurance carriers do allow you to report a claim online. In fact, most national carriers have this option. However, I do not recommend this. Speaking live with an insurance claims representative is important. First, you can easily clarify the details of the accident and your injuries over the telephone than with a computer.
Second, you will get a claim number immediately from the claims representative, which is important. In addition, you can ensure the claims representative has your correct information and can answer your questions about what to do next.
For example, if the insurance company has a preferred collision shop to repair your vehicle, getting that information over the telephone quickly is important. Or perhaps you have rental insurance on your car and want to get a rental vehicle as soon as possible. Getting this set up is much easier over the good old-fashioned telephone than online.
Another way to file a Michigan no-fault claim is have your attorney do it for you. Filing a claim does involve questions and information. Our office has a trained and professional staff that can do all this work for you. We can get a claim number, get an open claim letter, get billing information and get the application process started immediately.
If you have any questions about getting a Michigan no-fault accident claim started following a Michigan car wreck, please give our office a call at 1-800-533-3733 (1-800-LEE-FREE) so we may answer your questions and begin the process. The phone call is free and we don’t get a fee until we win your case.
Car accidents involve a lot of documentation and paperwork. It also includes important conversations with various insurance adjusters who often don’t have your best interests in mind. In addition, the laws in Michigan involving car collisions are complex. Frankly, every person should contact an attorney following a Michigan auto accident to get some advice and ensure he or she is doing the right thing.
There are numerous benefits that many people are not aware they are entitled to following a car accident. The insurance claim adjuster handling your claim will often not explain these benefits to you.
For example, individuals injured in a car accident are entitled to 85% of their gross wages, reimbursement of out-pocket-costs and gas money and payment for all medical expenses related to the car accident. Family members who help care for the injured person are entitled to get paid for their work.
Many auto insurance companies straight up fail to appraise claimants of these rights. By contacting a lawyer early on, you can educate yourself as to what information the insurance company is looking for. Armed with this information, you can then better communicate with the insurance company if you wish to do so.
Also, the insurance carrier for the at-fault vehicle is always working to downplay its responsibility. They want to pay as little money as possible for your injuries. To accomplish this, they will hire doctors to do medical record reviews or independent medical examinations (IME) to minimize your injuries and disabilities from the car accident. They may hire experts to dispute liability. They may even blame you for the accident.
Getting an attorney on your side early on can help turn the tide. For example, we work with a number of experts to ensure our client’s case is presented in the best way possible. We meet with treating physicians to better understand the nature of our client’s injuries and the prognosis for recovery. We meet with experts to ensure any junk the insurance company throws our way is rebuffed.
Deciding on whether to hire an injury lawyer following the accident is an important decision. Although the thought of searching for and contacting a Michigan car accident lawyer can be overwhelming, lawyers provide a valuable and important role right from the outset of a case.
If you have any questions about a Michigan no-fault car accident case, please give our office a call at 1-800-533-3733 (1-800-LEE-FREE) so we may answer your questions. The phone call is free and we don’t get a fee unless we win your case.
Typically, the statute of limitations for a Michigan car accident is three (3) years for a pain and suffering claim. This means you have 3 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit in court within three years, you forever forfeit your right to sue the at-fault parties and obtain compensation.
However, the statute of limitations for a Michigan no-fault claim is one (1) year. A claimant seeking no-fault benefits, such as lost wages, the payment of doctor’s bills, hospital bills, reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs and other no-fault benefits has one year to file a notice of claim with the car insurance company responsible for paying the benefits.
Also, the claimant has one year from the date the benefit was incurred to file a lawsuit to protect access to that benefit. This is known in the industry as the “one-year back” rule. In other words, if a benefit (such as lost wages or a hospital bill) is incurred on December 2, 2021, the plaintiff must ensure the no-fault insurance company pays that benefit by December 2, 2022. If the car insurance fails to do so, the plaintiff must file a lawsuit by December 2, 2022 to stop the clock. If the plaintiff fails to file the lawsuit, the plaintiff loses that right to get any benefits incurred on December 2, 2021 or any dates before.
The statute of limitations on Michigan no-fault claims is a “rolling” statute of limitations. It is a 1-year deadline that keeps rolling to the next day. Recent changes in the Michigan No-Fault Law have limited 1year-back rule. You can get around this statute of limitations if the claim was never formally denied by the insurance company. But this gets complicated, and it is important to call an experienced Michigan auto accident injury to find out your rights.
There are some special rules on the timing of lawsuits involving governmental defendants, such as the Michigan State Police, county workers and city workers. Minors get additional time to file a lawsuit.
Because the statute of limitations is so important, it is important anybody involved in a Michigan car wreck contact a powerful Michigan car accident injury lawyer so he or she can explain your rights. If you have any questions about a Michigan no-fault car accident case, please give our office a call at 1-800-533-3733 (1-800-LEE-FREE) so we may answer your questions.
There are no hard and fast rules on how long a Michigan car accident lawsuit takes. Every case is different, with differing parties, witnesses, injuries and other factors that affect the speed of a case.
However, in Michigan most cases conclude within two years of the filing of the lawsuit. The lawsuit process is rather complex. After a lawsuit, or Complaint, is filed in court, the defendant has approximately 28 days to answer the complaint. When this occurs, a period known as “discovery” begins. During discovery, the parties exchange information and get to understand the other side’s beliefs as to why they are not fault for the accident or why the plaintiff is or is not entitled to compensation for her injuries.
Discovery includes taking depositions of the parties, witnesses and experts. It involves getting written questions, known as interrogatories, answered. It also involves exchanging medical information about the plaintiff’s injuries.
When a lawsuit is filed, every judge in Michigan issues a scheduling order, which dictates how long discovery will last. The scheduling order may also give dates as to when settlement conferences will occur. Discovery usually lasts from six to ten months, although the parties can ask the judge handling the case for more time if needed.
Once discovery is completed, something called case evaluation occurs. Case evaluation is when the lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant argue their case to a panel of three lawyers (a plaintiff attorney, a defense attorney and a neutral attorney). The panel is provided detailed briefs with exhibits by the attorneys prior to the case evaluation hearing. The hearing typically takes place in a small conference room. The attorney for the plaintiff will submit exhibits demonstrating the client’s injuries and why the client is entitled to compensation. The defense attorney will submit documents arguing for the exact opposite.
Only attorneys attend case evaluation. At case evaluation, the attorneys for the party’s involved in the case argue on behalf of their clients for a specific award. Each side gets approximately 10-15 minutes to argue on behalf of their client to the panel. After arguments conclude, the panel will come up with a case evaluation award that day. The award is non-binding, but if both parties accept the case evaluation award, the case settles for that amount. The parties have 28 days after the case evaluation to decide to whether accept or reject the case evaluation award.
If case evaluation does not settle the case (and is rarely does), then typically the judge will order a settlement conference. At the settlement conference, the judge will try to arrange a facilitation or some other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process to get the case settled. Judges are very busy people and would rather see the parties work out their differences than go through a prolonged jury trial.
A trial date is usually set at the settlement conference. Trial dates can be anywhere from 2 months after case evaluation to 6 months or longer. The length of lawsuits can vary wildly. Some cases are more complicated than others and thus will take longer. Often, the venue of the case can have a dramatic impact on how long a lawsuit will take. Some jurisdictions in Michigan can move quicker than others.
The No-Fault Law, also know as PIP, which stands for Personal Injury Protection, allows for certain benefits if you are involved in a car accident. Even if you’re not at fault. That’s why it’s called the no-fault law. Now what are these benefits? These benefits are the payment of medical expenses that are related to the car accident. It involves 85% of your gross wages. It involves the payment of out-of-pocket costs like prescriptions as well as medical mileage, like gas money to and from doctor’s offices. You get reimbursed for that. It involves the payment of what’s called replacement services where somebody – and it can be a family member, mom, daughter, anybody – is doing the chores for you. They get reimbursed for the time that they are putting in doing the chores at home. There’s also something called attendant care. Which is more personal care to someone injured in a car accident. Let’s say they need help getting dressed or need help in the bathroom or need help changing bandages. All these more personal care type items also get reimbursed by the no-fault carrier for the person doing it. All these benefits come under the umbrella of the Michigan No-Fault Law.