Driving a car is part of our daily lives. However, accidents can and do happen. When they do, it can be a life changing event. The costs are more than just financial, as the injuries take a toll on us emotionally and affect our families and friends. Navigating the legal process following a Detroit car accident can be stressful and occurs at the worst of times. It is important to consult with a dedicated and knowledgeable group of injury lawyers who have battled insurance companies for decades.
The dedicated team of Detroit auto accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. have an extensive track record of settlements and victories. Our legal team specializes in representing car accident injury victims, helping them obtain the benefits they deserve and putting the pieces back together. Our office is ready to handle your Detroit car accident injury case.
Why Should I Hire A Detroit Car Accident Lawyer?
The process after a motor vehicle 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’s best for the company, and not necessarily their customers, and you have a situation that create long-term problems.
By hiring a Detroit 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 Detroit car wreck cases with over 40 years of experience. Every day we help our clients obtain much needed no-fault insurance benefits, such as lost wages and the payment of large hospital and doctor bills. We have collected hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients in pain and suffering compensation, to help them put the pieces of their life back together.
How Much Time Do I Have to Sue for a Detroit Car Accident?
There is only so much time the law allows for a person to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, car owner, and any other proper defendants in a case for monetary compensation. This is called the statute of limitations.
Under Michigan law, a plaintiff has 3 years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit against the defendant. If more than 3 years pass, then the injured person forever loses their right to claim compensation from that defendant. Once the lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations is tolled. This means even if more than 3 years have passed since the accident, if you filed a lawsuit before the 3-year time limit, you can still proceed with your case against the defendants.
There are special rules for minors and cases for wrongful death which can extend the normal three-year rule.
The statute of limitations for Michigan’s no-fault PIP benefits that arise from a Detroit car crash is different. In a PIP claim, you have one year from the date a benefit is incurred to file a lawsuit. If the benefit, such as lost wages or a medical bill is incurred, and more than one-year passes, you can lose your ability to recoup that benefit. However, the law in Michigan has changed and it is now possible to obtain benefits that are older than a year.
The statute of limitations for car accident cases in West Michigan is especially important. Talk to an experienced auto accident lawyer so you can find out your rights and see if you still have time.
Given these strict deadlines, it is important to call an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer following a Detroit car accident for legal advice. That way you can find out your rights and get the help you need in getting money and justice what for you have been through.
What Should I Do After a Detroit Car Accident?
A car accident is a traumatic and sometimes life-changing event. At the time, the adrenaline is running and there a lot of things running through your mind. However, it is important to do the following things after a motor vehicle crash to protect yourself and ensure a proper claim can be made for compensation.
Exchange Information – Just like we are taught in Driver’s Education, following a Detroit car accident it is vital to exchange with all other drivers involved in the crash. This includes the full name and telephone number. Write down the license plate numbers of the vehicles as well.
Call the Police – This is so important. Following a rear-end collision or another type of crash, it is your obligation under the law to call the police. Make sure everyone stays until the police arrive. Upon the arrival of law enforcement, make sure you tell them your side of the story so it is included in the traffic crash report the responding officer will prepare.
If for some reason the police do not respond, go to the nearest police station and make a report. Do this as quickly as possible. Many car insurance policies have an obligation that says a person must make a report within 24 hours of a crash. Failing to abide by this obligation can prevent you from obtaining benefits, including pain and suffering compensation.
If you were not able to talk to the police because you were taken away by ambulance, or too injured to talk, make sure you follow up with the police as soon as practicable following the crash.
Take Photographs – By just using your smartphone, you can take photographs that can be really important later on. Photograph not only the damage to your vehicle but the other vehicles as well. This may be the only time you ever observe the other vehicles involved in the crash. If they have significant damage, you will want to highlight this. This is especially true if there is minimal damage to your car.
Take pictures of the accident scene as well, such as where the cars ended up, the weather conditions, lighting conditions, and other information you believe will be important.
Seek Medical Treatment – It is important to see a doctor or hospital following a Detroit car accident. Even if you feel you were not injured, there could be internal bleeding or other hidden dangers that can become suddenly life-threatening. A doctor can rule out possible dangers and make sure everything is fine.
If you are injured, a doctor can help you get better, by prescribing physical therapy or referring you to a specialist for further medical evaluation.
How Do I Get A Copy of the Police Report?
There are a few different ways to get a copy of the police report following a car accident in Detroit. One way is to go the police statement and pick up a copy of the report. Currently, the 3rd precinct in Detroit contains the records department, which includes all police reports made within the city limits. The address for the 3rd precinct will have a copy of the report. The address for the 3rd precinct is 2875 W. Grand Blvd, Detroit MI 48202.
Another method is to purchase the police report online. The Michigan State Police created the Traffic Crash Purchasing System as a way for the general public to purchase police reports from almost all law enforcement agencies in the state. The cost is $10.00 per report and allows the user to purchase and download the report online.
What Should I Tell the Insurance Adjuster After the Accident?
Following a Detroit car accident, it is important to contact your auto insurance company following the crash. The insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster, or claims representative, to handle your claim.
There may be a few different insurance adjusters assigned to handle the accident. This is because an auto accident can involve a few different types of coverages. For example, one adjuster may be handling the “property claim”, or the vehicle damage caused by the crash. Another adjuster is the “medical adjuster”, and their job is to pay Michigan no-fault benefits, such as the payment of medical expenses and lost wages following a crash.
In addition, an auto insurance adjuster from a different insurance company may also be calling you. This adjuster may be the “liability” adjuster, and this adjuster helps to assess whether to pay – or not pay – compensation for the pain and suffering their policyholder or driver caused.
With so many people calling it can get confusing really fast. So what should you do in these situations?
First, it is important to be careful. These insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions to minimize your claim. So when you speak to them, find out immediately what they are calling about. In other words, find out if the adjuster is the “medical adjuster” or the “property adjuster” or someone else. That way you can get a better handle of what they are trying to find out and why.
The property adjuster doesn’t care too much about your injuries. They tend to focus more on the damage and how to get the car repaired. On the other hand, the medical adjuster doesn’t care much about how the car will get fixed, but cares greatly about injuries and medical treatment.
After you find out who you are talking to, make sure you explain the severity of the crash and the pain you are experiencing. Don’t hold back. Now is not the time to downplay the accident because you can bet the insurance adjuster will do that already. If you are hurt, tell them you are hurt and why you believe you need to see a doctor. By providing that information early on, you are giving yourself a break for later on.
Make sure you get the full name of each adjuster you are speaking with, as well as the claim number. In addition, you do have a duty to provide basic information to your own insurance carrier about how the crash occurred, as well as your injuries and treatment.
If a liability adjuster calls from the other person’s car insurance, I would not speak to this adjuster. These adjusters are looking for any way to downplay your injuries so they don’t have to pay a settlement.
In addition, it is important to never sign any papers the insurance adjuster sends to you without first consulting with a lawyer. Even the most mundane document could be an attempt by the insurance company to get out of paying anything in the future, whether it is future medical treatment or pain and suffering compensation.
What Compensation Can I Get From a Detroit Car Accident?
A person injured in a Detroit car accident can obtain two forms of compensation, “economic” and “non-economic” damages.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for the pain and suffering one has to endure following a Detroit car crash. Under the law, in the state of Michigan, the owner and driver of the at-fault vehicle is responsible for paying for the injuries he or she causes, so long as they are at least 50% at-fault for causing the accident. This is called a negligence claim. The auto insurance carrier for the at-fault parties pays these damages.
Examples of non-economic damages an injured person can collect include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of society and loss of companionship;
- Depression and anxiety;
- Loss of quality of life; and
- Mental suffering
Michigan is a no-fault state. This means you can obtain benefits from a car insurance company for injuries caused by an accident, even if you are at-fault. These benefits are also available to those not injured while in a car, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders.
Michigan no-fault benefits following a Detroit car accident are paid for by the applicable car insurance carrier. The Detroit car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. can help you determine which company is responsible for these payments.
The no-fault benefits available to persons injured in a car or truck accident include:
- Medical Expenses – this includes hospital bills, doctor’s bills, rehabilitation expenses, surgical bills, prescriptions, out-of-pocket costs as well as other medical expenses that health insurance is not responsible for paying.
- Lost Wages – 85% of lost wages for up to 3 years from the date of the crash. This includes self-employed individuals or those who are paid under the table.
- Replacement Services – Family members or friends who are completed household chores, such as laundry, cooking, and other household chores
With the change in the Michigan no-fault law, which now has caps on PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, at-fault drivers and owners are also responsible for medical bills, lost wages and other benefits not covered by the PIP no-fault carrier.
Can I Get Compensation If the Other Driver Is Uninsured in Detroit?
Even if the other driver that caused the accident does not have auto insurance, an injured person can still obtain compensation following a car accident. This can be accomplished by filing what is known as an uninsured motorist (UM) claim through a car insurance company.
Uninsured motorist benefits are insurance coverage sold to policyholders that protect the policyholders, their family members and even passengers when an uninsured driver or vehicle causes a crash. By turning to your own car insurance, or the auto insurance of the vehicle you occupied, you can still obtain compensation for your injuries.
Uninsured motorist benefits provide a way to obtain pain and suffering compensation following a crash. In some situations, it will pay for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. These claims are similar to a regular negligence claim.
UM coverage is not mandatory and so not every insurance policy has it. However, given the high number of motorists in Detroit without mandatory auto insurance coverage, every person who drives a car or truck in Detroit and Wayne County should purchases UM coverage. It is relatively inexpensive and comes in handy when a crash occurs.
What Are Common Causes of Detroit Car Accidents?
Car accidents and truck accidents in Detroit can occur for any number of reasons. Wayne County has some of the busiest freeways, streets and city roads in the entire state. This creates an opportunity for serious crashes. The most common causes for these accidents include:
What Are Common Injuries from Detroit Car Accidents?
Because of the busy traffic conditions in Detroit and surrounding communities in Wayne County, the car and truck crashes that occur can be very severe. This is especially the case with heavy traffic on I-75, the Lodge, I-94 and I-96, as commuters and other drivers rush to get to their destinations. Some of the more common injuries resulting from car wrecks in Detroit include:
- Broken bones and torn ligaments;
- Traumatic brain injury, also known as a closed head injury;
- Whiplash, including low back and neck pain;
- Herniated and bulging discs in the back and neck;
- Injuries to the joints, including shoulder (torn rotator cuff) or knee (torn meniscus, ACL);
- Fractured hip or pelvis; 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 Detroit car wreck 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.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
Determining the value of a car crash in Detroit is not a cut and dry issue. There are a number of factors involved in figuring out what a proper settlement amount should be. Each case is different.
The most important factor are the injuries. A person who broke their leg and required surgery typically has a case that is more valuable than a person who injured their low back but only required some chiropractic visits and pain medication. However, again each individual is different and under the law, the defendant must “take the plaintiff as they find them.” This means if a person was more susceptible to injury because of age or pre-existing conditions, he or she is still entitled to compensation.
Another important factor is insurance. Except in very rare situations, auto insurance companies are only on the hook to pay the value of the insurance policy. So if an at-fault negligent driver caused a massive crash resulting in bad injuries, and this driver only maintained the state minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury (BI) coverage, that is all the auto carrier has to pay for that claim.
Other factors that are important is the jurisdiction and the plaintiff filing the claim. The value of a case in metro Detroit tends to be higher than the value of a case in more rural areas, although again this is not always the case. The reason for this is juries in more urban and suburban areas tend to give higher awards.
Last, the plaintiff matters too. Insurance companies, judges and juries will size up the plaintiff filing the lawsuit. If the plaintiff comes across as crass, belligerent and just not likeable, then that can significantly decrease the value of a case. On the other hand, if the plaintiff is likeable then the case value increase. Remember, juries want to give money to people they like.
What Are the Costs to Hiring a Detroit Car Accident Lawyer?
At the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. there is never a charge for attorney fees or costs unless we win your case, whether by settlement or through a jury verdict. This is known as a contingency fee agreement and this is guaranteed.
At the outset of our representation, we will send you a copy of the fee agreement so you can have it for your records. The amount of our fee is 33 1/3% of the total recovery, after costs. This is the standard charge for personal injury attorneys as set forth by Michigan law. The attorney fee and costs are never charged to our client until we have the settlement check in hand.
It is our policy to constantly meet with our clients and to keep them informed. We are always just a phone call or email away.
Detroit Car Accident Injury Lawyers – Wrongful Death
When a car accident results in a fatal injury to the driver of a passenger, the family can 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 other damages. The Michigan wrongful death act covers these cases.
To file a wrongful death lawsuit following a Detroit 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 Wayne County to allow this person to act as the PR. The probate court will issue Letters of Authority, which provides 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 Detroit usually involve a thorough investigation by local enforcement, such as the Wayne 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 that has handled a lot of wrongful death lawsuits in Wayne County, including Detroit car accident fatalities, 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.
Wayne County Car Accident Statistics
Wayne County is the busiest county for Michigan motorists in the state. No county has heavier traffic and more vehicles running through its streets, highways and freeways on a daily basis.
The county has multiple interstates, including I-94 (Ford Freeway), I-96 (Jeffries Freeway), and I-75 (Fisher Freeway). Multiple state roadways traverse through the county as well, including Woodward Avenue, Gratiot Avenue, Grand River Avenue, Michigan Avenue, 8 Mile Road and Fort Street. The Southfield Freeway runs through the middle part of the county and I-275 runs through the western part. The Lodge Freeway connects Southfield and the suburbs to the north with downtown Detroit.
In 2018, the county reported 54,072 crashes resulting in 16,578 injuries and 164 fatalities. These figures were the most of any county in Michigan. Some other statistics related to accidents in Wayne County include:
- Alcohol-related accidents – 1,422 crashes, resulting in 897 injuries and 63 fatalities.
- Bicycle accidents – 368 crashes resulting in 270 injuries.
- Deer accidents – 413 crashes resulting in 10 injuries.
- Distracted driving – 2,802 crashes were from distracted driving, which caused 1,082 injuries.
- Drug-related accidents – 396 crashes, resulting in 281 injuries and 38 fatalities.
- Fleeing the Police – 131 injures, resulting in 85 injuries and 3 fatalities.
- Motorcycle accidents – 432 crashes, resulting in 362 injuries and 14 fatalities.
- Pedestrian accidents – 771 crashes, resulting in 663 injuries and 51 fatalities.
- Truck or bus accidents – 3,468 crashes, resulting in 750 injuries and 15 fatalities.
Detroit Medical Facilities:
Detroit Receiving Hospital
4201 St Antoine
Detroit, MI 48201
DMC Sinai Grace Hospital
6071 W. Outer Drive
Detroit, MI 48235
Beaumont Oakwood Hospital
18101 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, MI 48124
Beaumont Hospital – Grosse Pointe
468 Cadieux Rd.
Grosse Pointe, MI 48230
Henry Ford Hospital
2799 W Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202
St. John Hospital
22101 Moross Rd.
Detroit, MI 48236
Beaumont Hospital – Trenton
5450 Fort St.
Trenton, MI 48183
Beaumont Hospital – Grosse Pointe
468 Cadieux Rd.
Grosse Pointe, MI 48230
Children’s Hospital of Michigan
3901 Beaubien St.
Detroit, MI 48201
Important Detroit Car Accident Contacts and Emergency Information:
Detroit Police Department
1301 3rd Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
Wayne County Sheriff’s Office
4747 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
Detroit Public Safety Headquarters
1301 3rd Street
Detroit, MI 48226
Dearborn Police Department
16099 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Livonia Police Department
15050 Farmington Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
Detroit Police Department – 3rd Precinct
2875 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit MI 48202
Detroit Department of Public Works
2 Woodward Ave #611
Detroit, MI 48226
Wayne County Clerk Records Division
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Taylor Police Department
23515 Goddard Rd.
Taylor, MI 48180
Westland Police Department
36701 Ford Rd.
Westland, MI 48185
36th District Court
421 Madison St.
Detroit, MI 48226
19th District Court
16077 Michigan Ave.
Dearborn, MI 48126
25th District Court
1475 Cleophus Pkwy.
Lincoln Park, MI 48146
Detroit Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. have passionately represented clients involved in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents in Detroit for over 40 years. Our compassionate and skillful team of Detroit 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. We have a representation of honesty and integrity throughout the profession. Please call us toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free consultation. And as part of our Lee Free Guarantee, we never charge a fee until we win your case.