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 Port Huron car accident can be stressful and occurs at the worst of times. It is important to consult with a dedicated and knowledgeable group of thumb area personal injury lawyers who have battled insurance companies for decades.
The dedicated team of Port Huron auto accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. has an extensive track record of settlements and victories. Our personal injury law firm 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 Port Huron car accident case.
What Should I Do After a Port Huron Car Accident?
Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic event. Because our adrenaline is running, we can often forget to do things that are important and will be helpful later on. It is important to be proactive following a Port Huron car accident, and to do the following things:
Exchange Information – always exchange information with every driver involved in the crash. This includes getting their name, telephone number and auto insurance information. If they refuse to provide any information, make sure you write down the license plate number and try to get the VIN number for the vehicle as well.
Call the Police – It is important you contact law enforcement and make sure all parties involved, including witnesses, stay until the police arrive. That way, the police will obtain the identities and vehicle information of all individuals, take statements, and perform necessary accident reconstruction so an accurate traffic crash report will be prepared.
Take Photographs – We all have smart phones or cell phones that take pictures. So while you are at the accident scene, take photographs of the vehicles involved in the crash. Make sure you get photos of the vehicle damage as this may be the only time you get to photograph the vehicle that caused your accident. Sometimes, there can be very little damage to your car but a lot of damage to the other vehicle. You’ll want to preserve this to show the other insurance company the severity of the accident.
You should also take photos of the license plates of the other vehicles, the traffic signals or stop signs in the area if necessary, weather related evidence (snow piles or ice on the roadway) and other evidence that may be useful in the future that you want to preserve.
Take Video – Again, smart phones are now equipped with instant video camera access. Video can help catch people and vehicles in real time doing things you may need later for evidence. For example, if a traffic signal was not working, taking video right after the accident that shows the signal malfunctioning may be extremely valuable in the future.
Seek Medical Treatment – If you are not feeling well at the scene, call 911 and request an ambulance. You may appear fine on the outside, but there could be internal bleeding or other severe ailments developing that may require immediate medical attention.
Even if you don’t go directly to the ER, it’s important to see your doctor or seek medical care soon after the accident to ensure everything is normal. St. Clair County and the Port Huron area has the benefit of a health delivery system, in particular McLaren Port Huron Hospital. Take advantage of this and make sure your health is cared for.
When this is all done, it is important to call your auto insurance company and let them know about the crash. Ask the insurance representative to set up a claim and to assign a claim number. The claim number will be used to obtain no-fault benefits, such as the payment of medical bills and lost wages going forward.
An experienced Port Huron car accident injury lawyer can assist you in making a claim and ensuring the process moves smoothly and quickly. The lawyer can also help file the necessary paperwork so benefits get paid on time.
Port Huron Bus Accidents
The Blue Water Area Transit system provides bus service six days a week to Port Huron and Fort Gratiot Township. It also provides a dial-a-ride service to Marysville, Burtchville, Ft. Gratiot and Port Huron townships. The system consists of over 85 buses and provides service all over Port Huron. Most of the routes travel through some part of downtown Port Huron. There is also a I-94 express route. For information on the Blue Water Transit system, it contact telephone number is 810-987-7373.
Unfortunately, injuries due to a bus accident happen. Under Michigan law, if a person is negligent in causing the accident, then that person and the company he or she works can be held responsible. This includes Blue Water Area Transit. In addition, under the Michigan no-fault law, the BWAT may be responsible for the payment of no-fault benefits, which can include the payment of medical bills, physical therapy, rehabilitation, lost wages, prescriptions, and other benefits. In 2019, there were 179 truck or bus accidents in St. Clair County.
Filing a claim for compensation from the BWAT following a bus accident can require special legal notice. The expertise of a Port Huron bus accident lawyer can help explain your rights, the requirements and how to navigate the injury claims process.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim in Port Huron?
Following a car accident in Port Huron or St. Clair County, an injured person has three (3) years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If more than three years has passed, then the plaintiff forever gives up his or her right to file a lawsuit for compensation against that defendant. This is called the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is filed before the 3-year anniversary of the car accident, then the statute of limitations is tolled, and the plaintiff may add additional defendants as necessary.
There is a different statute of limitations for Michigan no-fault benefits. Under Michigan law, the plaintiff must provide proper notice of a claim, in writing, to the applicable no-fault automobile insurance carrier. Proper notice must be filed within one (1) year of the Port Huron car or truck accident. This notice explains to the car insurance carrier that a person was injured in a crash and may require no-fault benefits.
In addition, the plaintiff has one year from the date a benefit is incurred to ensure the car insurance company pays the outstanding no-fault PIP benefit. If more than one-year has elapsed, then the car insurance carrier may not be responsible for paying the benefit. This is called the one-year back rule. It is important to contact an experienced and aggressive Port Huron car accident lawyer to make sure your rights and benefits are preserved.
What Are Common Injuries from Port Huron Car Accidents?
Car accidents in Port Huron occur at all times of the day and night. The severity of a crash will naturally vary, and with that the type of injuries that can occur. Typical injuries resulting from a Port Huron auto collision, include:
- Low back pain and lumbar herniation;
- Neck pain and cervical herniation;
- Broken tibia or fibula;
- Broken arms and elbow;
- Fractured pelvis;
- Knee injury, including torn meniscus and torn ligaments;
- Traumatic brain injury, also known as closed head injury;
What Are Common Causes of Port Huron Car Accidents?
Car accidents and truck accidents in Port Huron can occur for any number of reasons. St. Clair County and surrounding areas have a number of busy freeways, highways, country roads and city roads that creates an opportunity for serious crashes. The most common causes for these accidents include:
- Drunk driving;
- Rear-end accidents;
- Head-on collisions;
- Failure to yield;
- Running a red light;
- Hit-and-run accidents;
- T-bone collisions;
- Wrong-way collisions;
Which Insurance Company Pays No-Fault Benefits Following a Port Huron Crash?
When a person is injured in a car wreck, the injured person can obtain Michigan no-fault benefits. This is true even if the injured person was the cause of the crash (hence the name “no-fault”). But which car insurance company pays these benefits?
The answer is it depends on a few different factors. First, whether you are an occupant of a vehicle, or a pedestrian, you always start with your own car insurance first. So if you are injured in a car accident, your own car insurance carrier must pay your no-fault benefits, even if the other guy causes the accident.
If you do not have auto insurance, but a relative who resides with you did – such as a sibling or parent – then the auto insurance carrier for that relative must pay your no-fault benefits. This is true even if you are not listed on the policy.
If there is no insurance at that level, then you must apply for no-fault benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
The MACP is an organization administered by the state but really controlled by the insurance industry. Under Michigan law, the MACP must assign an insurance carrier, such as Allstate or Farm Bureau, to pay no-fault benefits. However, the most an insurance company through the MACP must pay in no-fault benefits is $250,000.
If you are were a non-occupant at the time of the accident – such as a pedestrian or on a bicycle – then the order of priority is the same. Again, the injured person’s own auto insurance pays if that person has auto insurance. If the injured person doesn’t have auto insurance, then the auto insurance of a resident relative must pay the claim. If no insurance exists at that level, then an application with the MACP must be filed and the MACP will assign a car insurance company to pay the claim.
The rules for who pays a claim differ if you are inside an employer owned vehicle. In that situation, the insurance carrier for the employer provided vehicle must pay the injured person’s no-fault benefits. The PIP coverage limits selected by the employer applies to the claim, even if the injured person has higher PIP coverage limits on their own vehicle.
There are also special rules for buses. If a person is injured while riding on the Blue Water Area Transit bus, and the person doesn’t have any auto insurance in the household, then the auto insurance for Blue Water must pay the no-fault claim. Under the old Michigan no-fault law, the amount of benefits the carrier had to pay was unlimited. However, under the new law Blue Water Area Transit must only cover whatever insurance coverage it has purchased, usually $250,000 in PIP coverage.
Why Do I Need a Port Huron Car Accident Injury Lawyer?
Car accidents are not simple events. They involve a lot of stress, both emotionally and financially. Often, they can change your life in a significant and meaningful way. A diligent Port Huron car accident lawyer can navigate the process. We will process your no-fault claim to ensure your lost wages are paid on time. We are experts in getting outstanding medical bills paid as well.
Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys and legal professionals also make sure you are not taken advantage of by the insurance company following a crash. Insurance companies want to delay the claim for as long as possible. Then they want you to settle cheap. You only have one shot at compensation. It is important to not fall into their traps early on the process.
Who is Responsible for Paying Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Many individuals use bicycles to get to work, school or as a mode of transportation in Port Huron. The Blue Water River Walk has a bike trail and there is a beautiful trail along the St. Clair River. However, bicycle accidents can result in horrible, life changing injuries. Who pays for these injuries when they occur?
Under Michigan law, if a motor vehicle – like a car or truck – is operated in a negligent manner and causes an injury to the bicycle rider, then the driver as well as the owner of the motor vehicle are responsible for paying non-economic damages. In other words, the injured bicyclists can obtain pain and suffering compensation for his or her injuries.
This includes damages for things like physical pain, emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of life. If the injured person’s no-fault benefits are exhausted, or if he or she opted-out of PIP benefits, then the injured person can also make a claim for past and future medical expenses from the at-fault driver and vehicle owner.
In some instances, the company that employed the at-fault driver can also be held responsible for the negligent acts of its employee while he or she was within the scope of their employment. Under the law, the bad actions of a negligent driver can be imputed to his or her employer under the principle of respondeat superior. When this occurs, the company that employs the negligent driver can be a proper defendant.
When a motor vehicle is involved in the bicycle accident, a car insurance carrier is responsible for paying the no-fault benefits that result from the crash. This is true even if the bicycle rider is at-fault for causing the crash. The no-fault benefits the car insurance company must pay can include:
- The payment of hospital bills;
- The payment of doctors’ bills;
- The payment for rehabilitation, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy
- The payment of prescriptions and medical equipment;
- Lost wages for up to 3 years;
- Payment to family members for assisting in household chores; and
- Attendant care – payment to individuals who supply personal care to the injured person.
Michigan no-fault claims can be complicated. As a result, it is important to call a Port Huron car accident attorney to help you navigate the system and get your questions answered.
Car Accidents in Port Huron Resulting in Wrongful Death
When a car accident results in a fatal injury to the driver of a passenger, the family can file 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.
It is important to find an experienced and detailed Port Huron wrongful death lawyer who can show the insurance company the life-altering and catastrophic damage caused by the crash. This should include powerful witness statements from loved ones, friends, and other family members. Photographs and videos of the deceased demonstrate in real time the type of person he or she was and is very powerful. Medical experts and medical examiners can also detail the pain and suffering the deceased went through immediately following the accident.
In addition to pain and suffering compensation, 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 claim. This claim is paid by the no-fault car insurance company responsible for paying PIP benefits. The benefits from these claims include:
- Lost wages for 3 years;
- Replacement services for 3 years;
- Tangible things of economic value.
Wrongful death cases from a car or truck crash in Port Huron usually a involve a thorough investigation by local enforcement, such as the St. Clair 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.
St. Clair County Car Accident Statistics
Port Huron is easily the busiest area for car traffic in the thumb region. As a focal point for international travel, an incredible amount of semi-trucks and transportation vehicles cross the Blue Water Bridge bringing goods to and from Canada. Port Huron also has a busy downtown area, with commuters and regular traffic going to various points of destination. The county itself has a population approaching 160,000.
With everything going on, St. Clair County has numerous busy streets, highways and freeways that carry motorists throughout the county and onto different areas of state. Some of the busiest roadways include I94, I69, M19, M25, M136, Lapeer Ave. Huron Ave., Electric Ave., Kraft Rd. and many others.
With busy intersections comes car accidents. In 2018, St. Clair County had 3,726 vehicular crashes. Out of those accidents, 931 resulted in injury with 16 fatalities. Other statistics include:
- 851 collisions with a deer, resulting in 12 injuries.
- 26 bicyclist accidents, resulting in 21 injuries.
- 135 accidents due to alcohol, with 73 injuries and 1 fatality.
- 28 crashes due to drugs, with 22 injuries and 1 fatality.
- 12 accidents with a school bus, resulting in 10 injuries.
- 34 motorcycle crashes, with 35 injuries and 3 fatalities.
- 24 pedestrian accidents, with 28 injuries and 2 fatalities.
- 165 bus or truck accidents, resulting in 37 injuries.
Port Huron Area Medical Facilities:
McLaren Port Huron Hospital
1221 Pine Grove Ave.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Ascension River District Hospital
4100 River Rd.
East China, MI 48054
Lake Huron Medical Center
2601 Electric Ave.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Children’s Health Care
1600 Gratiot Blvd.
Marysville, MI 48040
St. Clair County Community Mental Health
3111 Electric Ave.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Lake Huron Medical Center North Campus
4190 24th Ave #105
Fort Gratiot Twp, MI 48059
Med Express Urgent Care
3550 Pine Grove Ave.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Important Port Huron Car Accident Contacts and Emergency Information:
Port Huron Police Department
100 McMorran Blvd.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Marysville Police Department
1355 Delaware Ave.
Marysville, MI 48040
St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department
1170 Michigan Rd.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Yale City Police Department
111 W Mechanic St.
Yale, MI 48097
St. Clair County Circuit Court
31st Circuit Court
201 McMorran Blvd.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Port Huron District Court
72nd District Court
201 McMorran Blvd.
Port Huron, MI 48060
Port Huron 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 our experienced attorneys 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.