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Michigan Pedestrian Accident Attorney Eric Steinberg
Sharing the road is important. There are all sorts of vehicles grabbing a piece of it. But these drivers have an obligation to those most at risk: pedestrians. It is vital to keep the safety of those outside of vehicles in mind because if an accident occurs, the consequences for them will be the most dire. In fact, according to the NHTSA, There are around 75,000 pedestrian accidents in the United States each year resulting in over 4,000 deaths. In short, a pedestrian is killed every other hour, and pedestrian injuries occur every seven minutes.
In accidents like this, injuries are suffered from the vehicle striking the pedestrian. But they are also suffered at the secondary point of impact – that is, when the pedestrian hits the ground or another object as a result of the collision. Here are injuries seen from pedestrians being hit by cars:
Fractures and breaks to the lower body where impact occurred – tibia, femur, pelvis, etc.
Pedestrian Accidents Usually Caused by Driver Error
Most pedestrian accidents are caused by the driver of the vehicle, leaving little room for the pedestrian to avoid the incident. Often, there can be more than one factor contributing to a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Some of the more common driver errors causing pedestrian injury include the following:
Failing to Make A Full Stop at Intersections
Driving Under the Influence and Distracted Driving
Turning through crosswalk without looking
Running a red light
Poor visibility due to weather conditions or obstacles such as parked cars
Inexperienced or new drivers are responsible for more accidents than any other age group. Two-thirds of all serious crashes involving teenagers are caused by one of three critical errors: failure to appropriately scan for hazards, driving too fast for road conditions, and distracted driving.
What to do if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident?
Call the police
DO NOT leave the scene before the police arrive
Get witness information
Do not make any statements
Get anyone who is injured somewhere safe from other traffic. Do not administer medical treatment unless they need emergency CPR. Get help – police and, if needed, an ambulance. Call your insurance company and inform them of the accident. If you may face criminal charges, get a criminal attorney ASAP. Be honest. Do not lie to the police because it will hurt you down the road.
Exchange contact information, but do not admit fault under any circumstance. Do not speak to their insurance company. Your insurance company will handle these communications.
Who is at fault?
The person who did not act with a reasonable standard of care is considered negligent. Both parties, the driver and pedestrian, can be considered negligent. For instance, the driver could be speeding while the pedestrian was jaywalking. The police report will determine who is at fault, though this may be disputed by the insurance companies.
States have different rules regarding “contributory negligence”, but in Michigan this is covered under no fault laws. As such, determining who was at fault is less of a concern for everything is covered under personal injury protection (PIP) and the injured pedestrian does not need to determine fault to collect PIP damages.
How do I prove negligence?
Negligence is the failure to act in a way that a reasonable person would be expected to. For instance, if a reasonable person would have stopped, seeing that there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk, one who fails to stop and subsequently hits a pedestrian would be considered negligent. Courts look at numerous aspects when determining negligence. A few that can help prove that a driver was negligent are:
Distracted driving – texting, eating, applying makeup, playing with radio, etc.
Failure to yield
Disobeying or ignoring traffic signals
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Driving in a way not conducive to weather conditions
Drivers have a higher duty of care towards children, as they are the demographic most at risk of being struck by a vehicle. Drivers must be wary in areas with high concentrations of children, such as schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods.
On the flip side, pedestrians can be considered negligent as well. It can be ruled that they contributed to their injuries and are not entitled to a full settlement. Pedestrian negligence can arise from:
Ignoring crosswalk signals
Failing to use crosswalks – jaywalking
Appearing in front of a vehicle, not giving the vehicle time to stop
Disrupting the flow of traffic
Not using the sidewalk
Walking while intoxicated
Drivers are unlikely to be charged with anything if the pedestrian was intoxicated.
Pedestrians and Michigan No-Fault Law
In Michigan, pedestrians are entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, also known as first-party benefits, under the Michigan No-Fault Law. Pedestrians involved in accidents with motorcycles are an exception to this rule, as motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” under the law.
PIP benefits cover reasonably necessary medical expenses related to the accident, up to three years of lost wages, replacement services (to cover household chores or childcare the victim can no longer complete), attendant care such as in-home nursing, medical mileage, out-of-pocket costs and vehicle and/or home modifications.
To determine whose no-fault insurance will cover a pedestrian’s injuries, the No-Fault Law outlines “priority” rules. These rules govern which car insurance company is obligated to pay no-fault benefits. . In Michigan car accident cases involving a pedestrian, there are five levels of the order of priority and they are listed below. If the individual listed does not have a no-fault insurance policy, then the legal responsibility moves to the insurer of the next person on the list.
No-Fault insurer of the pedestrian victim
No-Fault insurer of the a resident relative (spouse, parent, sibling)
No-Fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
No-Fault insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle involved in the accident
Michigan Assigned Claims Facility
Sources of evidence
Medical records – Make sure you have all information from any treatment you received. This creates an unbreakable link between the accident and the injuries sustained
Medical bills – These will back up your medical records and are used in conjunction with other factors to determine your settlement.
Police report – This can be great evidence for you. It should include diagrams and the officer’s impression of who caused the accident. It lists any tickets that were doled out, evidence that courts find very compelling. The police report will also include witness information.
Pictures – Make sure you document everything with pictures. It will help corroborate your story.
Witnesses – Those who saw the accident from a different vantage point can provide important evidence in your favor.
Other party statements- If the other party admits fault or makes a statement like “I didn’t see you” shortly after the crash, this can be used against them. Make sure you document it.
Clothes – This is often overlooked. Your clothes may have paint or marks on them that can help your case, especially if you are seriously injured.
Motor vehicle handbook – This lists state laws that can be pointed out to prove the driver was in violation. It can be found online.
What compensation am I entitled to?
If you are injured in a pedestrian accident, you have a case for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one you are also entitled to wrongful death which, in addition to everything already listed, covers funeral and burial expenses and loss of consortium.
Medical bills – includes hospital bills and any ongoing treatment
Lost Income – will the injured party have to miss work? If they are severely injured or killed, potential future earnings will have to be calculated
Loss of enjoyment of life – are there any hobbies the injured pedestrian can no longer participate in, such as golf, swimming, or picking up their grandkids?
Avoiding pedestrian accidents
Of course, the best way to handle a pedestrian accident is by avoiding it in the first place! Defensive driving means that you are aware of your surroundings at all times, both other vehicles and any pedestrians who may enter into your realm of responsibility. Be extra cautious in school zones and other places with children as they tend to dart. Obey speed limits and be careful making turns in cities, as there is usually a much higher number of pedestrians and crosswalks. Pedestrians are the most vulnerable and it is your duty as a driver to be cognizant and responsible.
Pedestrians can do their part, too. In many instances, there is not much a pedestrian can do to protect himself or herself from a motor vehicle crash. However, there are steps you can take to safely walk while in the presence of moving cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and recommends the following safety steps/precautions:
Walk on a sidewalk if available, and if not, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
Avoid using distractors like phones or radios.
Never assume a driver sees you or is going to obey traffic laws. Be vigilant and alert about your surroundings.
Cross at crosswalks or other places on the road where drivers expect to see pedestrians.
Avoid darting out across a road or crossing from between two vehicles.
Stay off of freeways, restricted-access highways and other pedestrian-prohibited roadways.
Avoid dark clothing, especially if traveling at night. Bright, especially fluorescent, clothing will ensure you visibility in the day.
Reflective clothing and/or carrying a flashlight is highly encouraged at night.
Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Other pedestrian accidents
Not all pedestrian accidents involve vehicles. Premises liability imposes a standard of safety that property owners must uphold. If the owner knew about a dangerous condition and failed to rectify it, they can be liable for any incidents that may then occur. A common example would be a slip and fall case. To learn more about these and other types of pedestrian accidents, visit our personal injury page.
Contact Us Now About Your Pedestrian Accident
Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg are Michigan pedestrian accident experts, including wrongful death cases. We have represented pedestrian accident victims for over 40 years. If you have been injured as a pedestrian in a car crash, we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation and benefits you deserve under the law.
Working with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you deserve can be frustrating and confusing. We can help. Please call The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg and speak to our pedestrian accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your pedestrian accident case.
Avoid These Common Farm Equipment vs. Motor Vehicle Collisions
Apples. Corn. Cows. Soybeans. Pork. Milk. The list goes on as Michigan farmers are producing a wide range of foods, plants, and livestock – to be specific they grow more than 300 different types of commodities requiring big farm vehicles and massive equipment to travel on highways and narrow county roads alongside other vehicles. All drivers need to be aware and patient of these huge farm convoys since there can be more than enough room for everybody to share the road safely by following a few simple rules.
With the help of Michigan State University we took a closer look at the two most common causes of traffic collisions involving farm equipment.
Farm Equipment is Big and Slow, Triggering Rear-End Collisions
If you approach slow-moving farm equipment, you will likely see flashing lights ahead or a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign on the back, the first step should be to slow down safely and stay alert. Since most farm equipment usually travels around 15-25 miles per hour, it only takes less than seven seconds for a car traveling at 55 mph to crash into the back of a tractor 300-400 feet away. Don’t be distracted. You could end up in a rear-end collision with these giant pieces of steel and the outcome is often fatal for drivers. So, slow down, stay aware and be patient to wait for an opportunity to safely pass. The farm tractor or equipment operator will probably already see you coming and will try to help you pass.
Staying Alert and Watching For Swing Turns
Farm trucks and other heavy equipment is more than often larger than the width of one lane. They require the driver to swing heavy left or the right to make a turn. Watch for blinkers on the tractor, hand-signals from the driver or the presence of a field entrance or farm driveway, and then wait to see if the farmer is turning before you make any decisions to pass. Drivers should not assume that the equipment is moving over to allow them to pass but rather stay aware and well behind the farm equipment. This will only take a few seconds and require your patience. Once the turn is complete, the road will be clear and safe for you to continue your travel.
Farmers Should Also Travel Safely
Farmers and farm equipment operators are also responsible for roadway safety and should take steps to enhance farm machinery visibility for other drivers and their passengers. Before traveling on public roads, farmers need to:
Lock brake pedals and double check, adjust and fix mirrors to ensure good lines of sight.
Make sure that all warning flashers, lights, and slow-moving vehicle signs are working and easily visible.
Tires should be inflated to the maximum recommended pressure for long-distance travel.
Just like operating any big machinery or driving equipment, don’t be distracted.
Help Motor Vehicle Accident Victims, Farmers and Their Families
If you have been injured, or a loved one killed, in a collision between a motor vehicle and farm equipment, we can help. Please call Lee Free and speak to our farm truck and car accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your accident case.
If you are the unfortunate one injured in some type of accident and you believe you are not at fault, it is a good idea to come prepared to talk with an experienced lawyer about the incident. Although a good lawyer will have his or her own list of questions to ask you, coming with information about how the accident happened, photographs, supporting documents about any medical treatments or conditions you have since been diagnosed with, insurance information and any notes you have been taking regarding life after the accident will only help. A lawyer will want to know everything that you know about the event and how it has impacted your life.
You can use this checklist as a starting point for your meeting and get a sense of the useful evidence needed to make your claim. A lawyer at the Law Offices of Lee B. Steinberg, P.C., will be able to use this checklist and help consult you on further documentation you might need and how you could obtain it to make your case.
Accident reconstruction reports
Private investigation reports
911 dispatch call recordings
Reports by other law enforcement agencies
Photos, video, or audio taken at the scene
Take photos and video of the scene
Photos of injuries
Photos of property damage
Photos of people present
Road/scene condition photos
Statements and notes
Your journal or notes
Calendar of events of how life has changed or been disrupted since accident
Initial doctor’s examination
History and research
Evidence of past violations or safety concerns
Vehicle or machinery service history
Clothing worn during the incident
Damaged items, even small ones
Any communication from insurance companies
Your insurance card
Other party’s insurance information
Bills and invoices
Several W2 forms (showing wages lost)
Michigan Personal Injury Lawyers
To get the full compensation for your injuries, you need an experienced team willing to fight for you. Insurance companies have professionals on their side to help them pay out as little as possible for each claim. You should have legal professionals working for you to ensure you receive a fair result. The team at the Law Offices of Lee B. Steinberg, P.C. will travel to clients throughout the state and fight to win their case. The dedicated team of Michigan personal injury attorneys and trial lawyers are not afraid to go the extra mile. We only handle personal injury cases and we only represent individuals, not insurance companies or big corporations.
Our law firm handles a wide variety of Michigan negligence cases. Some of the more common cases are the following:
Let us help you today. Gather your personal injury checklist and please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about Michigan personal injury law.
Flint Car Accident Lawyers – Settlement for Davison Woman
The Genesee car accident lawyers from the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. are proud to announce the settlement for a Davison, Michigan, woman involved a car wreck. The accident occurred at the intersection of State Road and Lapeer Road in Davison.
Our client, who was driving a Nissan, was violently struck by a man operating a Chevy Silverado. Without warning he pulled in front of her vehicle while she was traveling northbound on State Road. At the time of the accident, the at-fault driving was attempting to make a left-hand turn into a parking lot.
The crash caused significant damage to both vehicles. Neither car was drivable from the scene. The damage to our client’s vehicle was quite extensive, with the front end of the car completely demolished. The Davison Township Police Department responded to the scene. After performing an accident investigation, the officer put the driver of the Chevy Silverado at-fault for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
Incredibly, following the accident the at-fault driver changed her story, claiming our client somehow veered into her lane and struck her vehicle while she was sitting in the left lane. The defendant maintained this story despite the fact the Davison Township PD found her to completely at-fault for causing the horrible car wreck.
The Flint car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. hired an accident reconstruction expert to rebut the defendant’s story. After reviewing the police report, deposition transcripts, photographs of the accident scene and vehicle damage reports, the expert (a former Michigan State Police trooper) came to the conclusion the defendant was fully responsible for the crash.
Our client’s injuries were very serious, and necessitated a four day stay at Hurley Hospital in Flint following the car wreck. X-rays of her right leg showed a Grade II open trimalleolar fracture and dislocation of the distal portion of the right ankle. While at Hurley, she underwent an open reduction internal fixation of the right ankle, which included implanting pins, screws and other hardware to stabilize the multiple fractures of the right ankle area.
After discharge from the hospital, she remained bedridden for the next six weeks. Because she was 33 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident, she underwent a C-section a few weeks after the accident. Fortunately, the baby was not injured.
Over the next couple months, our client’s right ankle remained very painful, swollen and weak. Doctors discovered one of the screws was contributing to the pain so another surgery was performed to remove the screw. Nine months later, her treating surgeon removed all the hardware along with a partial excision of the bone along the tibia and fibula.
Our client also sought treatment with a neurologist for post-concussion syndrome and continuous headaches. She had psychotherapy services and had memory problems that were all new from the car accident.
At the present, our client still works with a therapist to improve her memory, mood impairment and concentration. She lost her job as a result of the accident, which was especially hurtful from both an emotional and financial standpoint. She also still sees her treating orthopedic surgeon for the right ankle because she will have ongoing pain and swelling from the car accident.
Besides being pregnant, at the time of the Davison car accident she also had an 18-month-old daughter. Because she was bedridden and recuperating from the car accident, her husband was forced to help her perform basic care and perform all the household chores. She also couldn’t participate in family activities with her husband like she used to, including camping, hiking and playing with the kids.
We are very happy for our client’s settlement. It will allow her to financially move on with her life with her young family.
State of Safety Report Gives Michigan a “C” Grade for Falling Short on Road Safety Practices
The National Safety Council prepares an annual report that reviews safety practices for each state’s road safety, home and community safety, and workplace safety risk factors. With preventable deaths in the United States at an all-time high, 146,000 fatalities each year to be exact, the report evaluates safety policies and legislation that could help reduce preventable deaths.
Although numbers were dropping steadily for decades, this report indicates we are in the midst of the deadliest spike in roadway fatalities in 50 years. An estimated 40,200 people died on our nation’s roads in 2016, making motor vehicle crashes the second leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. These deaths are primarily driven by distraction, speed and alcohol, and are largely preventable.
Michigan Ranks OFF TRACK for implementing Drunk Driving safety measures. National Safety Council, The State-of-Safety Report, 2017.
Michigan Needs Improvement
Michigan was ranked lowest or “OFF TRACK” with just one or zero indicators in place to prevent road injuries and fatalities related to drunk driving, child passengers, seat belts, speeding, and vulnerable road users. You can view Michigan’s full report here.
According to the report, drunk driving (.08 BAC) crashes account for about 10,000 traffic fatalities each year or approximately one-third of all roadway deaths. It is believed impairment truly begins with just one drink.
The 2015 Michigan Annual Drunk Driving Audit reported that alcohol and drug related fatal crashes remain a significant traffic safety issue for the state, with approximately 38.7 percent of the total fatal crashes involving the impairments.
Knowing you can cause tragedy to a person and their family, or to yourself, by choosing to drink and drive should be enough to stop you from doing so. If not, a review of the penalties for an alcohol-related driving offense in Michigan may help discourage you.
Sadly, an average of three children younger than 12-years-of-age are killed in traffic crashes every day. One-third of the children killed were not buckled up, despite requirements in all 50 states for restraining infants and children in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
Children younger than age four to ride in a car seat in the rear seat if the vehicle has a rear seat. If all available rear seats are occupied by children under four, then a child under four may ride in a car seat in the front seat.
A child in a rear-facing car seat may only ride in the front seat if the airbag is turned off.
Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8-years-old or 4-feet-9-inches tall.
Children must ride in a seat until they reach the age requirement or the height requirement, whichever comes first.
More Americans buckle up today than ever – around 90 percent, and this basic lifesaving technology saved nearly 14,000 lives in 2015. Statistics from the National Safety Council show that people who buckle up are 45 percent less likely to die and 50 percent less likely to be moderately injured in a car crash.
Michigan only has a primary seat belt law. This means passengers ages 8-15 need to buckle up while traveling in all seating positions. Drivers and front seat passengers need to be buckled up at all times. 50 percent of fatalities occur among people who are unbuckled and the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg suggest you use your seat belt at all times.
Nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States involve excessive speed. In fact, studies show as speed increases, the survival rate in crashes decreases, killing more than 9,000 people every year.
Across the country, speed limits have been increasing, including here in Michigan. Public Acts 445, 446, and 447 have recently pushed the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan State Police to increase speed limits on 900 miles of non-freeways in Michigan to 65 mph, and on 600 miles of freeways to 75 mph.
MDOT and MSP, say under state law they jointly set speed limits that are based on the 85th percentile speed, which is the speed at or below which 85 percent of drivers are currently driving a given section of roadway. For example, if 85 percent of drivers on a section of road are driving 55 mph or less, the 85th percentile speed would be 55. State of Michigan officials say they use this methodology because it is the national standard for setting speed limits, recognizing that the great majority of drivers instinctively drive at a speed that is safe and comfortable based on the roadway design and other factors.
Stronger laws combined with higher visibility and consistent enforcement can help reduce fatalities. State officials involved in Michigan’s speed limit increase say they will continue to watch crash data on these segments of road closely.
Vulnerable Road Users
Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are less protected than people in vehicles making them vulnerable roadway users at greater risk of injury in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.
In Michigan, motorcycle helmets are not required even though head injuries have increased after repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Law. Car crashes involving adult bicyclists have been on the rise for several years, a statistic reflective of the significant increase in the number of adult cyclists, especially in those using bicycles to commute to and from work. Additionally, alarming statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association report says that a pedestrian is killed every other hour.
It is believed by many safety experts that states play a major role in ensuring safe roads by enforcing traffic laws and driver education programs that promote safe practices.
If you or someone you love was injured in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, you or your family may be entitled to compensation to help with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg today for a FREE consultation with one of our experienced Michigan auto accident attorneys: 1-800-LEE-FREE.
Survivor’s Loss Benefits and Who Is Entitled to Them
All Michigan car accidents are scary events. However, Michigan car wrecks involving a fatality are tragic and life changing. Besides claiming pain and suffering compensation under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act, certain individuals are also able to claim benefits under the Michigan No-Fault Law in the case of a motor vehicle accident. These benefits are called Michigan Survivor’s Benefits.
First, to be able to obtain Michigan survivor’s loss benefits, you have to be eligible. And to be eligible for benefits, there must be a dependent.
So What Is A Dependent?
According to MCL 500.3110, a dependent is any one of the following:
A wife is dependent of a husband with whom she lives with at the time of his death;
A husband is dependent on a wife with whom he lives with at the time of her death;
A child under the age of 18;
A child over the age of 18 but physically or mentally incapacitated from earning is dependent on the parent with he lives or from whom he receives support regularly at the time of the death of the parent.
In all other cases, questions of dependent and the extent of dependency shall be determined in accordance with the facts as they exist at the time of death.
The dependency of a surviving spouse is terminated upon death or remarriage. In all other cases, dependency must be determined on a case by case basis with the facts as they exist at the time of death.
These rules are strictly enforced. So if a person dies in a car accident, but is not married and doesn’t have any children, no Estate can be created for the purpose of other family members obtaining Michigan survivor’s loss benefits. On the other hand, a spouse with no children is eligible. In addition, an unmarried person that dies in a car accident but has a child under the age of 18 is also eligible.
Situations involving children over the age of 18 are more complicated. Typically, children over 18 are not considered dependents. However, if proof is submitted that showed the child was financially dependent upon the deceased parent for food, shelter and other things, then a claim can be pursued for survivor’s loss benefits although it will be up to the court to decide if the criteria for dependency has been met.
What Benefits Are Dependents Entitled To?
The no-fault benefits available for a survivor’s loss claim are vast. Under MCL 500.3108, the benefits are divided into two main categories: (1) contributions of tangible things of economic value and (2) replacement services.
First, an explanation as to what “contributions of tangible things of economic value” is required. The most basic item is lost wages. Under the law, survivor’s loss benefits include the wages after taxes the decedent was earning at the time of the car accident. So if the person was working at General Motors or Costco at the time of the accident, a dependent is entitled to the decedent’s wages subtracting the taxes the decedent would have paid. This is available for three years from the date of the car accident.
However, contributions of tangible things of economic value are more than just wage loss benefits. Under the law, it also includes the value of lost fringe benefits. Fringe benefits can include a pension, profit sharing plans, child support, even certain types of loans.
As a result, it is important to evaluate the total income (not just wages and salary) that a decedent was contributing at the time of his or her death.
In addition to contributions of tangible things of economic value, replacement services are also a benefit included in survivor’s loss claims. Replacement services typically include the household chores and other basic tasks the deceased person used to do and must be replaced due to a car accident related death. The amount of replacement services to be paid by an insurance carrier cannot exceed $20.00 per day.
The amount of survivor’s loss benefits payable to dependents and the Estate is subject to a monthly maximum. That monthly maximum is adjusted each year. Currently, the monthly maximum is $5,452.00.
Certain set-offs can be utilized by car insurance carriers in paying survivor’s loss benefits. For example, if a child is receiving monthly Social Security death benefits following the death of a parent from a car accident, the carrier can offset the monthly death benefit from the survivor’s loss benefits it is obligated to pay. Other set-offs can include military benefits and worker’s compensation checks.
Please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) if you have any questions about Michigan survivor’s loss benefits.