Almost all of us use a car, truck or motorcycle on a daily basis. Vehicles are our main mode of transportation to get to work, visit friends, go to the store, get to a fun destination and just about everything in between. Most drivers in the state of Michigan, including the Bay City area and surrounding communities such as Essexville, Pinconning, Kawkawlin, and Auburn pay attention to fellow drivers and obey the rules of the road.
However, sometimes this does not happen. And when it does, horrible injuries can result. The law in Michigan protects accident victims and all individuals injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident in a number of ways. It is important to find an experienced, compassionate, yet aggressive law firm that will protect your rights and obtain justice on your behalf.
Our legal team of personal injury lawyers specializes in representing car accident injury victims, helping them obtain the benefits they deserve and putting the pieces back together. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to handle your Bay City car accident case.
Why Should I Hire A Bay City Car Accident Lawyer?
The process after an auto accident can be confusing and frustrating. Between trying to get the car repaired, worrying about ambulance and medical bills, wondering about future medical treatment, lost wages and other expenses, it can be overwhelming. Combine these emotions with a car insurance company and insurance adjusters who are trained to do what is best for the company, and not necessarily their customers, and you have a situation that can create long-term problems.
By hiring a Bay City car accident law firm that is skilled and adept at dealing with insurance adjusters, you can remove this stress and obtain a much better outcome. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. are experts in handling personal injury cases involving Bay City car crashes and we offer free consultations. Every day we help our clients obtain much needed no-fault benefits, such as lost wages and the payment of large hospital and doctors’ bills. We have collected hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in pain and suffering compensation, allowing them to move on in the best way possible.
What Steps Should A Person Take After a Crash in Bay City
Getting involved in a car accident is a stressful situation. There is a lot going on, and it can be difficult to handle everything. However, there are certain things every person involved in a car accident should do. The following are some helpful reminders:
Exchange Information – Immediately after the accident, exchange information with the other individuals involved in the crash. Get the names and telephone numbers of everyone involved. This should include car insurance information.
Contact the Police – Make sure to call the police or local law enforcement from the accident scene. Make sure nobody leaves until they arrive. When a responding officer gets to the scene, be sure to explain to them what happened and give your side of the story. If you are taken away by ambulance before you can tell your story, contact the police soon after so you can file your report.
Take Photographs – Don’t forget to take photographs of the accident scene. Pull out your cell phone and take photos. These photos should include where each vehicle is located post-crash, the license plates of all vehicles, and the vehicle damage of all vehicles. Insurance carriers place a lot of weight on vehicle damage when they determine what they think a case is worth. Therefore, it is important to highlight the vehicle damage not only for your car, but the other vehicles involved.
Get Medical Attention – Go to the hospital, urgent care, or your family doctor after a crash. Even if you are feeling well, it is important a medical professional checks your vitals and does a physical examination. Sometimes what seems like a minor ailment could be life threatening. A simple 10-minute appointment can make all the difference.
How Much Time Do I Have To File a Lawsuit After a Bay City Car Accident?
The time to file a lawsuit in Michigan is called the statute of limitations. Under the law, a person only has so much time to file a lawsuit against a proper defendant. Once that time passes, the plaintiff forever gives up his or her right to file a lawsuit against the defendant.
Under Michigan law, a person has three (3) years from the date of the accident in Bay County to file a lawsuit. Once the three years has passed, the plaintiff cannot file the lawsuit against the defendant. When a lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations is tolled or stopped.
There are some exceptions to this three-years statute of limitations rule. For examples, minors can sue for damages up to one year past their 18th birthday.
What No-Fault Benefits Can I Get Following a Bay City Crash?
If you are injured in a car or truck accident, even if you are a pedestrian or a passenger, you are probably entitled to no-fault benefits, or personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. These benefits are available even if you caused the crash, hence the term “no-fault” law.
The benefits available to individuals injured in a car accident in Bay City and the surrounding areas are numerous. They include the payment of all medical expenses, including hospital bills and doctors bill, up to the PIP coverage limit. Michigan no-fault benefits also include the payment of 85% of lost wages, the payment of out-of-pocket costs, replacement services and attendant care provided by family members or friends.
Michigan no-fault benefits are an important part of a Bay County car accident claim. The amount of benefits available depend upon the applicable policy at the time of the crash. The insurance carrier responsible for the paying no-fault benefits, such as Geico or Progressive Insurance, also depends upon different factors.
It is important to contact an experienced and knowledgeable Bay City car injury attorney to find out the specific benefits available for you and how you can obtain these benefits.
What is an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
Unfortunately, many Bay County motorists do not maintain auto insurance. When an uninsured driver causes a car accident, it can be difficult to obtain compensation from them for the injuries they have caused. Most uninsured drivers are not collectible.
However, an uninsured motorist (UM) claim makes it possible to obtain compensation for pain and suffering and other damages the uninsured at-fault driver created.
In an uninsured motorist claim, a car insurance company pays the compensation caused by the uninsured driver. Usually, this is the auto insurance carrier for the injured person. For example, if a person injured in a crash had uninsured motorist coverage through State Farm, then State Farm would be responsible for paying the damages up to the coverage limit on the policy.
Still, even if you do not have auto insurance, or do not have UM coverage on the auto policy you purchased, you may still be able to make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits if you are injured in a crash.
Very often, the auto insurance for the vehicle the injured person occupied pays UM benefits for all individuals occupying the car during the crash. For example, if you did not have auto insurance but was injured in a car wreck caused by an uninsured driver, and the car you occupied has Allstate Insurance, then Allstate Insurance will pay your uninsured motorist benefits claim subject to any conditions in the policy.
Am uninsured motorist claim works in much the same way as a standard negligence case. First, the injured person must prove the at-fault driver was at least 50% at-fault for causing the crash. The plaintiff must be injured and show the injuries were caused by the accident. Last, the plaintiff must also show he or she has a “threshold injury” – or that the car accident generally affected the plaintiff’s ability to lead a normal life.
How Do I Get Compensation After a Bay City Car Accident?
When a car crash occurs, there are two types of claims you can file for compensation. The first is a no-fault claim. This claim is paid by an auto insurance carrier, such as your own auto carrier, and pays for such benefits as hospital bills, doctors’ bills, lost wages, prescriptions, gas mileage, out-of-pockets costs and the care individuals provide following an accident
A no-fault claim is also known as a PIP or personal injury protection claim. These benefits are payable even if you are at-fault for causing the Bay City car accident. Hence the term “no-fault” law. This claim is also called a first-party claim.
Another claim that can be filed following a car accident is a negligence claim. When a person is injured in a car accident, the person who is at-fault for causing the crash must pay the damages that arise out of the crash. Under Michigan law, this can include non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of society and loss of companionship;
- Anxiety and depression;
- Loss of quality of life;
- Mental suffering.
These cases are also known as third-party claims.
Medical expenses and lost wages not covered by the PIP case can be asserted through a negligence claim. For example, most Michigan policies no longer have unlimited PIP coverage. As a result, once the PIP coverage has been used up by the injured person, that person can assert outstanding medical bills and future medical expenses against the negligent driver in a third-party case.
What Are Common Injuries From a Bay City Car Accident?
Traffic on the roadways in Bay City and Bay County can move really fast. This is especially the case on I-75, M-13, M-25, and on city roads such as Center Road and Wilder Road. Injuries from a car accident can vary. Some of the more common injuries resulting from car wrecks in Bay City include:
- Back pain and neck pain;
- Herniated and bulging discs in the back and neck;
- Broken bones, such as broken femur, tibia, or arm;
- Broken hip or broken pelvis;
- Injuries to the joints, including shoulder (torn rotator cuff) or knee (torn meniscus, ACL);
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or closed head injury (CHI);
- Headaches; and
- Scarring and disfigurement.
The severity and duration of these injuries can vary. Some resolve within a short time frame. Others can be permanent and lifelong. The Bay City car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. are experts in explaining to the insurance company, the judge, and the jury how injuries impact the injured person and their family.
What are the Common Causes of a Bay City Car Wreck?
There are a lot of different reasons for car accidents and truck accidents in Bay City. Due to the nature of the area, the crashes can be very serious and catastrophic. Some of the more common causes of Bay City crashes include:
- Running a red light or running a yellow light;
- Drinking and driving;
- Running a stop sign;
- Running a yield sign;
- Making an illegal turn, such as a U-turn;
- T-bone collision;
- Texting and driving.
Who Are Proper Defendants in a Bay City Car Accident Case?
There can be multiple defendants in a Bay City car accident case. The most obvious defendant is the driver who broke a rule, such as running a red light, and caused the accident.
However, there are additional defendants in many car accident cases. For example, under the Owners’ Liability statute, MCL 257.401, the owner of a vehicle is liable for any damages caused by the negligent operation of that vehicle, so long as the vehicle was operated with the owner’s consent and knowledge. As a result, the owner of the at-fault vehicle is also a proper defendant in many Bay City car accident cases.
In addition, if an employee of a company caused a crash, then the company who entrusted the negligent employee to operate the vehicle and cause the crash can also be included in a lawsuit. The company is responsible for the negligent acts of any agent or representative, like an employee, and therefore can be liable for any injuries that a person caused.
Bay City Wrongful Death Lawyers
When a car accident results in a fatal injury to the driver of a passenger, the family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver and owner. These cases involve compensation for the pain and suffering preceding the death, loss of companionship, loss of society and another damages. The Michigan wrongful death act covers these cases.
To file a wrongful death lawsuit following a Bay City car accident, an Estate will have to be set up. To do this, a personal representative for the Estate must be appointed. Typically, family members will agree on a personal representative (PR). The personal representative will then file paperwork with the probate court in Bay County to allow this person to act as the PR. The probate court will issue Letters of Authority, which provide the personal representative the authority to make decisions on behalf of the Estate, including the filing of a lawsuit.
Wrongful death cases from a car or truck crash in Bay City usually involve a thorough investigation by local enforcement, such as the Bay County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police.
The investigating officers will analyze the accident scene, take necessary measurements, conduct field sobriety tests and blood tests, interview witnesses, take photographs and bring in accident reconstruction experts to evaluate why and how the crash occurred.
An experienced law firm who has handled a lot of wrongful death lawsuits in Bay county will also begin an investigation into the accident immediately. This investigation will include hiring an accident reconstruction expert to prove why the at-fault driver caused the crash and how he or she caused the crash. The investigation will also include talking to witnesses to establish liability and to demonstrate the pain and suffering the deceased endured.
In addition, if the deceased person had a dependent, such as a spouse or a child under the age of 18 years-old, the surviving family members may file a claim for Survivors’ loss benefits from the no-fault car insurance company responsible for paying PIP benefits. The benefits from these claims include 3 years of lost wages, replacement services for 3 years, and other potential income losses.
Bay County Car Accident Crash Statistics
Although Bay County is not the biggest county in Michigan, because of the fact it encompasses a large freeway, large state roadways, open rural roads along with city traffic, the number of violent and dangerous car crashes tends to exceed its size on a per capita basis.
According to the Michigan State Police in 2018, the county reported 3,078 crashes resulting in 781 injuries and 11 fatalities. Some other statistics related to accidents in Bay County include:
- 135 crashes involved alcohol, with 78 injuries and 4 fatalities.
- 13 bicycle and car accidents, with 11 injuries
- 561 deer and car crashes with 15 injuries
- 203 accidents involving distracted driving, with 82 injuries
- 44 motorcycle crashes resulting in 47 injuries, with 3 fatalities.
- 17 car-pedestrian accidents, resulting in 16 injuries.
- 75 accidents involving a truck or bus, resulting in 23 injuries
Important Bay County Accident Contacts and Medical Facilities:
Bay City Police Department
501 3rd St.
Bay City, MI 48708
Bay County Sheriff’s Department
501 3rd St.
Bay City, MI 48708
Essexville Police Department
1107 Woodside Ave.
Essexville, MI 48732
Pinconning Police Department
208 N Manitou St.
Pinconning, MI 48650
Auburn Police Department
101 E Elm St.
Auburn, MI 48611
McLaren Bay Region
1900 Columbus Ave.
Bay City, MI 48708
Bay County Health Department
1200 Washington Avenue
Bay City, MI 48708
Bayside Health Center
3884 Monitor Rd.
Bay City, MI 48706
Bay City Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. have passionately represented clients involved in car accidents for over 40 years. Our compassionate and skillful team of car accident lawyers and legal professionals work hand-in-hand with our clients to achieve the most favorable results for them.
It is our commitment to our clients that sets us apart. Please call us toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free phone consultation. And as part of our Lee Free Guarantee, we never charge a fee until we win your case.