Michigan No-Fault Claims

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Michigan No-Fault Claims 2017-07-19T15:55:38+00:00

What is a no-fault law?

Some states have no-fault laws set up. No-fault insurance dictates that your insurer will pay for certain expenses if you get into a car accident, even if the accident was your fault. Put another way: in most accidents in these states, it does not matter who was at fault in the accident because each party’s insurance will provide coverage for their respective costs. Examples of what the insurance will pay for include lost earnings and medical bills.

What is the purpose of no-fault insurance?

In most states, if you are injured in a car accident, you can file a claim against the other driver for their negligence. This usually runs through their insurance company. In those instances, the burden of proof is on you to show that the other driver was at fault. Until you can do that, you won’t be able to collect any damages.

Proving your case can be a tedious and lengthy endeavor. There are photographs to submit, witness statements to gather, police reports review, and any other documents and information the insurance company demands. At this point, the negligent driver’s insurance company could still deny the claim, leaving you to file a lawsuit as your only legal recourse. This headache-inducing process can be expensive, time-consuming, confusing, and above all, stressful. This is why some states have instituted no-fault coverage.

The purpose of no-fault insurance is to reduce time and cost by making any disagreements about who was at fault in an accident irrelevant. As a result, insurance companies tend to pay claims in a more timely manner. The no-fault system also significantly lowers the likelihood of parties filing lawsuits against each other. While there can be extenuating circumstances for severe accidents resulting in higher medical bills, typical accidents tend to move through the insurance and legal system faster in states with the no-fault laws in place.

No-Fault States

In addition to Michigan, a dozen states have some type of no-fault law. Some states have a cap on the benefits you can receive in a no-fault accident, but Michigan does not have any limits. Here is a list of the other states with no-fault laws.

Michigan’s No-Fault Laws

Under the Michigan No-Fault Law, if you are involved in a car accident, truck accident or even a motorcycle accident you are entitled to certain benefits from a car insurance carrier. These benefits are no-fault benefits, though they are often referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits or first-party benefits.

Every auto insurance policy in Michigan is a no-fault policy and contains the right to receive no-fault benefits. The central tenant of the Michigan No-Fault Law is the actual “no-fault” provision found in the law. A person is entitled to no-fault benefits, even if they caused the accident, so long as the person was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers are all examples of people entitled to Michigan No-Fault benefits. It is important to understand that just because you do not personally have car insurance, or don’t own a car, does not mean you can’t receive first-party benefits. Even without car insurance, in almost all situations you are still entitled to no-fault benefits.

With the exception of severe cases, Michigan’s no-fault law prohibits you from going to court following an accident. To warrant a court visit, one party must have suffered death, disfigurement, or serious impairment. There must be concrete medical evidence to support the court claim.

Michigan law does include  a “minitort” provision. This states that you can file a small claims suit for up to $1,000. However, this applies only to property damages and not personal injuries.

What Are the Michigan No-Fault Benefits?

The major benefit under the Michigan No-Fault Law is the payment of all medical bills related to the accident. This includes the payment for all hospital bills, doctor bills and rehabilitation bills. If a medical treatment is related to the car accident, it must be paid by the auto insurance carrier responsible for paying the claim. There is no dollar limit and this is a lifetime benefit.

Another major benefit is the payment of lost wages. Under the law, as long as you are disabled from work because of car accident injuries, the auto insurance company must pay 85% of your gross wages for up to three years from the date of the accident.

Other benefits include the payment of prescriptions and out-of-pocket costs, as well as reimbursement for the personal care that nurses, family members or even friends are providing to you because of your Michigan car accident injuries.

How Do I Get A Michigan No-Fault Claim Started?

To receive first-party benefits, you must contact the car insurance company responsible for paying the claim and let them know you were injured in an accident. Usually, your own car insurance company must pay. If you do not have insurance, we suggest you contact our office at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we can get you started in the right direction. No-fault claims are different from other claims so it’s important to have representation that can guide you through these waters.

To receive Michigan No-Fault benefits, you must first complete an Application for No-Fault Benefits. This application must be completed, signed and returned to the car insurance company handling the first-party claim within 12 months of the car accident. This deadline is compulsory and a Michigan car accident, Michigan truck accident or Michigan motorcycle accident victim cannot receive Michigan No-Fault benefits if the deadline is not met.

Is There a Deadline or Statute of Limitations for Michigan No-Fault Benefits?

Another important detail in the Michigan No-Fault Law is the one-year-back rule. Under this rule, a Michigan car accident, Michigan truck accident or Michigan motorcycle accident victim may not recover benefits owed to them, such as lost wages, if more than one year has elapsed from the time the expense was incurred. In addition, the victim may not recover benefits for any loss incurred more than one year before the date a lawsuit was filed.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg and Call Lee Free are the experts in the Michigan No-Fault Law and have a team of Michigan car accident lawyers dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our Michigan car accident attorneys have been representing individuals injured in Michigan car accidents, Michigan truck accidents and Michigan motorcycle accidents for over 40 years.

Call our office today. You pay nothing unless we win your Michigan car accident case. Let us help you by calling 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).

Ask Lee Free

Q:Do I need to file a claim if the accident was not my fault?
A: This is a common mistake. Yes, you still have to file a claim against your insurance company if you are not at fault in an accident in Michigan.

Contact Lee Free Today!

NO FEE until WE WIN.

Recent Blogs & News

Common Causes of Car Crashes That Involve Farm Equipment

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

What to Bring to Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Lawyer

Accident or Personal Injury Claim Checklist

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.

CHECKLIST

Official reports

  • Police reports
  • 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

  • Witness statements
  • Your journal or notes
  • Victim statements
  • Calendar of events of how life has changed or been disrupted since accident

Medical reports

  • Initial doctor’s examination
  • Second opinions
  • Specialist’s reports

History and research

  • Evidence of past violations or safety concerns
  • Vehicle or machinery service history

Physical evidence

  • Clothing worn during the incident
  • Damaged items, even small ones

Insurance

  • Any communication from insurance companies
  • Your insurance card
  • Other party’s insurance information

Bills and invoices

  • Medical bills
  • Repair invoices

Other forms

  • 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:

Contact Us to Discuss Your Case

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.

Injured Davison Woman Receives Settlement From Car Accident

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.

Michigan Gets Poor Ratings In Driver Safety Report

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. ​

Drunk Driving

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.

Child Passengers

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.

Michigan’s Child Passenger Safety Law requires:

  • 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.

Seat Belts

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.

Speeding

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.

Stay Safe

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.

Wrongful Death and Michigan Survivor’s Loss Benefits

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.

Replacement Services:

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.

Set-Offs:

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.

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