Did a car accident leave you with life-changing injuries and losses? It’s your right under Michigan law to seek compensation for your damages if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and we’re here to help you handle the legal details.
Our attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are Michigan car accident experts, including multi-vehicle accidents, chain-reaction crashes, and wrongful death cases. We’ve represented car accident victims for more than 40 years, fighting and getting hundreds of millions for our clients all over the state.
If you were in a severe car accident and want to understand your legal options, please contact the Michigan car accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm. Call 1-800-LEE-FREE today for a free and confidential consultation.
The Most Common Causes of Michigan Car Accidents
Nationwide, the major contributors to car accidents have remained relatively consistent over the past 50 years. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver error is a factor in 94% of all road crashes.
The top contributors to Michigan car accidents include:
- Excessive speed
- Drunk driving and driving while high
- Driving while tired, also known as drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Aggressive driving
- Texting and driving
- Bad weather
- Slick roads
- Cracked and degraded road surfaces
- Vehicle component failures
Distracted driving has become a much more prominent cause of accidents as the rise of technology has given us more distractions than ever before. Two decades ago, the biggest in-car distractions were radios, passengers, and eating on the road. Distracted driving was a problem, but it didn’t seem to be getting worse.
Then came cell phones, smartphones and other handheld tech devices. Drivers can talk, text, search, and play at the touch of a button. Plus, cars are increasingly loaded with tech-enabled features like GPS location tracking, audible travel directions, backup monitors, and more.
Today it’s quite difficult for the average driver to handle everything that’s vying for their attention in addition to the road ahead of them. As a result, distracted driving accidents have increased substantially, especially among new drivers and teenagers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been tracking distracted driving accidents for decades. According to its statistics, distracted driving deaths were consistently under 2,000 per year until the early 2000s when the use of handheld tech devices became widespread.
Since 2010, there have been 2,800 to 3,500 deaths per year, which is more than double the previous level. Plus, there are now a staggering 400,000 injuries per year due to distracted driving. Every day in the U.S. today, 8 people die of distracted driving – including pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-vehicle users who are hit by cars.
When drivers are distracted, they’re less likely to notice changing road conditions. NHTSA statistics show that 41% of all vehicle crashes involve driver recognition errors, where a driver fails to recognize something that’s happening on the road. One-third of all accidents involve decision-making errors, and 11% involve performance errors where someone fails to operate their vehicle correctly.
Types of Michigan Car Accidents
Just as there are many causes of car accidents, there are also numerous types of accidents. The way a car interacts with other vehicles and objects during a crash can shape the resulting property damage and/or injuries.
Rear-end collisions are accidents where one car crashes into another vehicle that’s stopped in front of it. They are often caused when a distracted driver fails to react to a slowing or stopped vehicle. Beware of rear-end collisions in highway traffic, at intersections and near construction zones. Rear-end collisions have increased dramatically due to texting and driving and cell phone use while driving.
Side-impact collisions often bring severe injuries for drivers and passengers when the side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of a vehicle or a nearby fixed object. These collisions are sometimes called t-bone collisions and frequently occur at intersections.
Sideswipe collisions arise when the sides of two parallel vehicles touch one another. Sideswipe collisions tend to result in fewer personal injuries unless there are compounding factors at play like a loss of driver control, excessive speed, sideswipe causing a rollover, or the involvement of additional vehicles/objects. When these accidents happen between large vehicles at high speeds on the highway, the powerful forces are multiplied and bodily injuries can be severe.
Car Accidents and Michigan’s No-Fault Law
Regardless of the cause, people injured in car accidents are entitled to protections known as first-party benefits under the Michigan No-Fault Law. No-fault insurance coverage is required by law in Michigan and every car owner must purchase a certain level of coverage to obtain license plates.
After an accident, a no-fault insurance claim can cover medical costs, lost wages, and replacement or repair to property that was damaged – all regardless of fault. However, no-fault insurance doesn’t generally cover car repairs.
In Michigan, any basic no-fault insurance policy consists of three parts: personal injury protection (PIP), personal property protection (PPI), and residual liability insurance, which refers to bodily injury and property damage. Let’s look at each of these in greater detail.
PIP protection pays for all reasonably necessary medical expenses. Think of it as health insurance. PIP coverage used to be unlimited, but now people can choose from different coverage levels. Certain eligible individuals can opt-out of PIP coverage all together. However, strongly recommend against doing this. If you lost wages due to the accident, PIP covers up to 85% of that income for up to three years. It also provides a value for household chores you can no longer do, reimbursement of out-pocket-costs and other benefits.
PPI pays up to $1 million in damage someone does to another person’s property, including buildings and surroundings like fences and landscaping. It also covers damage to parked vehicles, but no other car damage.
Residual liability insurance protects the driver if they caused the crash. This is the insurance protection in case you injured someone in an accident. The minimum coverage generally covers up to $50,000 for a person who is hurt or killed and $100,000 for multiple victims.
When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical bills, lost wages, loss of companionship for the survivors, and pain and suffering.
Why a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer is Important
Michigan car accident cases can be complex, so don’t worry if you’re having trouble understanding the information on this page. An experienced Michigan auto accident lawyer provides much-needed guidance on how the law works and how you can use it to your best benefit when filing a claim against the at-fault driver.
Our state’s unusual no-fault system is often confusing for people who have never made a claim, especially if they’re not originally from Michigan. When you add this to the stress and trauma of a car accident, things can spiral out of control very quickly.
This is a situation where you need a skilled, experienced lawyer. It could be a turning point in your life where you’ll regret it later if you don’t handle it correctly and seek the maximum compensation possible. Talk to the Lee Steinberg Law Firm about using Michigan’s no-fault benefits, getting help filing a car accident claim, and seeking the full and fair compensation you deserve under the law. No matter how difficult your case is, we’ll assertively work to get the best possible results.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from minor scratches and bruises to broken bones or even permanent brain damage. The most common injuries tend to include bodily damage that isn’t permanent, but takes significant time to heal and may leave the person with persistent pain.
Car accident injuries often include:
- Broken bones and ligaments
- Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI or closed head injury
- Whiplash, including lower back and neck pain
- Spinal injuries
- Herniated and bulging discs in the back and neck
- Injuries to the joints, including a torn rotator cuff or knee/ACL
- Fractured hip or pelvis
- Scarring and disfigurement
Don’t forget about the possibility of intense emotional and psychological damage. Car accidents are among the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States and the effects on your mental well-being can last for years or even decades. You may need mental health treatment to cope with the effects, and the cost of this therapy could be covered by an accident claim.
The severity and duration of car accident injuries can vary, with some resolving fairly quickly and others becoming permanent and lifelong. The accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are experts in explaining to the insurance company, the judge, and the jury exactly how car accident injuries can impact someone, their lifestyle, and their family.
What Should I Do After a Michigan Auto Accident?
After an auto accident in Michigan, your priority should be your health and the health of injured people around you. Call 911 for urgent assistance even if you do not feel injured immediately after the crash. Then go and seek medical treatment from a doctor or hospital.
Often, traumatic injuries resulting from car accidents can manifest within a few hours or days of the crash. That’s why you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible and establish an early baseline for your injuries.
While you’re still at the accident scene, make sure to exchange information with the other driver and work calmly with the police to provide the basic information they need. However, don’t get into extended conversations or arguments. If someone asks detailed questions, these questions can be referred to your lawyer.
The police will typically look over the vehicles involved in the crash, interview witnesses and review the accident scene. If the accident is serious enough, the police will call in accident investigators to perform full accident reconstruction. Request a copy of their police report.
If you can, take photographs and video of the accident scene yourself. In addition to the vehicles, make sure you photograph any skid marks, debris, and property damage, as well as the damage to your vehicle. Make notes about the weather, road signs, debris, and anything else that could relate to your accident. Also, take photos of the license plates of the other vehicles involved and the vehicle damage to those cars as well.
Next, you should contact an experienced and aggressive Michigan car accident attorney to help file a lawsuit. Insurance companies often send out their accident experts to investigate the crash scene and gather witness statements as quickly as possible. They’ll also pester you for a statement, but don’t give one without talking to your lawyer.
When you’re confused and stressed about what to do next after your accident, turn to your lawyer for advice. It’s the best way to avoid making mistakes and ensure the period after your accident goes as smoothly as possible.
What Damages Are Available in My Car Accident Case?
Depending on what types of damages you have suffered, your total compensation could be huge. Generally speaking, your total damages will include a sum of your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the monetary value of the costs you incurred from the accident. Although car repairs aren’t typically covered in Michigan, other economic damages usually are. Go through your bills and carefully calculate the value of economic damages with the help of your car accident lawyer.
Economic damages may include things like:
- Medical bills
- Therapy bills
- Other property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Your non-economic damages exist beyond the dollars and cents of your accident. While these damages can be harder to calculate and prove, they’re often a large portion of your claim. Give great thought and care to developing a full sum of your non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental suffering
One of the biggest mistakes people make after Michigan car accidents is failing to place a value on their deep suffering that’s directly attributable to the accident. Although terms like “pain and suffering” and “emotional distress” are a little difficult to understand in a legal sense, please discuss it with your lawyer and give it the attention it deserves.
A car accident is a life-changing experience that shakes up your entire life. You can secure high-value compensation for a variety of losses, which helps you heal and move forward with your life.
Helpful Car Accident Resources:
- Michigan Car Accident Attorneys
- Michigan No-Fault Insurance Information
- How to Start Your No-Fault Claim
- ASK LEE: Request Free Consultation Free case evaluation by phone: 1-800-LEE-FREE
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases
The information below will answer many of the most basic and frequently asked questions about Michigan car accidents. However, every situation is unique. Consult with your lawyer at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm for advice that is specific to your case.
Q: How long does a Michigan car accident case typically take?
A: Generally speaking, arranging a settlement takes less time than a case that goes to court. Michigan’s PIP benefits can also take some time to arrange. Your lawyer will likely encourage you to be patient because the payout could be worth it in the end.
In terms of a timeframe, you’re probably looking at months, but not years. If your injuries are extensive or are taking a long time to heal, your lawyer may recommend waiting until the point of maximum medical improvement before moving forward with your case. To get a better idea of the timeframe, call 1-800-LEE-FREE to talk about your situation in a confidential and free discussion.
Q: My doctor urged me not to start a lawsuit yet. Should I wait to see what happens?
A: From a legal perspective, we urge you not to wait to move forward with your case. Your doctor can assess your healthcare situation, but they can’t give you an accurate assessment of a legal situation and may have other motives in mind.
Doctors are trained to focus on your health, and while we respect this enormously, we’re here to preserve your legal rights. Plus, doctors sometimes have competing motivations like preserving their reputations or avoiding consequences with their hospital. You shouldn’t miss your window of time to take legal action based on a doctor’s preferences.
In Michigan, there is a three-year statute of limitations – or time limit – on claiming bodily injury and other damages. Medical bills and wage loss might need to be claimed within just one year. And if you miss the relevant deadline, and you’ll be forever barred from seeking compensation.
Q: What if my accident doesn’t involve another driver, but involves a pedestrian or cyclist or someone else?
A: You can still receive help from the Lee Steinberg Law Firm regardless of who the other party is and, generally speaking, you’re still eligible to receive benefits through Michigan PIP and insurance. Almost every accident claim is worth pursuing unless it’s extremely minor.
Drivers are sometimes afraid of pursuing claims, particularly after accidents that involve pedestrians, but you shouldn’t give up. Although a pedestrian, for example, has the right of way in a marked crosswalk, they aren’t automatically free of fault in all situations.
A Michigan car accident lawyer understands the subtleties and intricacies of the law and can evaluate your situation on an individual basis to gauge your best chances at success. Call 1-800-LEE-FREE for a free discussion about your options.
Q: Did Michigan’s no-fault law change recently?
A: Michigan’s no-fault law has evolved over the years and you might not be familiar with its newest version. Each time the state updates how the law works, it publishes the new information in a PDF at Michigan.gov. But we’ll warn you, it makes for some long and difficult reading!
If you need help understanding Michigan’s ever-changing auto accident and no-fault laws, it’s best to talk to a car accident attorney. Your attorney’s job is to stay current on the laws and provide insight that helps you make decisions using the right information.
Q: What if I’m not sure I can afford a lawyer right now?
A: At the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we take no fees until we win your case. The costs of your legal representation will come out of your award after your case, meaning you owe us nothing upfront.
This makes choosing us an affordable way to get the legal help you deserve, with no worry about making a payment. So don’t avoid making a legal claim merely because you’re concerned about payment. We’re here to improve your financial situation and leave you in the best place possible after your case concludes.
Important Questions to Ask a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
A Michigan car accident case can be hard to handle without the help of an experienced lawyer. But it’s sometimes hard to know whether a lawyer has what it takes to take on your case. Do a Google search for car accident lawyers in Michigan, and you’ll see enough names to make your head spin.
As you decide which lawyer is the right fit for you, ask the candidates questions that are relevant to your case. Any good lawyer should welcome the opportunity to explain how their firm works and what you can expect during the process.
Ask a lawyer questions like:
- How long have you been a lawyer in Michigan?
- How will you help me with a no-fault/PIP claim?
- Can you help me find evidence that backs up my case?
- How will you help me investigate what happened in my car accident?
- Do you have a good reputation with Michigan judges and courts?
- What kinds of results have you gotten for clients in the past?
At the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we have excellent credentials when it comes to representing our clients in a wide variety of car accident cases. We have helped our clients obtain hundreds of millions for their injuries. We’ve been leaders in Michigan car accident law for decades and we understand how challenging it is to be in your situation. We’ll be by your side, helping you plan for a better future.
Please contact the Lee Steinberg Law Firm today at 1-800-LEE-FREE or use our free online consultation form to get in touch with a qualified, experienced car accident lawyer nearest to you in Michigan. You will receive an evaluation of your case entirely free of charge.
Injury Attorney Video Notes
In our no-fault system, when you get injured in an automobile accident, you are entitled to certain benefits from your own insurance company. They include replacement services; that’s paying someone to help cut your grass or watch your child. It includes attendant care, which is hands-on nursing care, and wage loss for up to three years after the accident. And medical benefits, which means they pay for your medical care for the rest of your life as long as it relates to the original injury.