Motorcycle accidents in Michigan can present special challenges for crash victims and their lawyers: Under Michigan’s No-Fault insurance laws, a motorcycle is not considered a motor vehicle. Still, there are exceptions that allow a person injured in a motorcycle accident to recover No-Fault insurance benefits and compensation for pain and suffering. Our motorcycle accident lawyers can help you.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Michigan, you may be asking yourself, “Do I even need a lawyer in my situation?” Having the right car accident lawyer makes an enormous difference, not only in higher settlements, but in protecting your legal rights. Know the clock is ticking after a car accident. Michigan has a very strict one-year time limit for auto accident victims to recover important No-Fault insurance benefits like medical bills and wage loss.
The state of Michigan has minimal load restrictions for semi-trucks. For this reason, truck drivers and trucking companies take every opportunity to pass through our state. They leave torn up highways in their path. Even worse, when they fail to follow the proper safety precautions, they can cause serious accidents. We are committed to holding them accountable for their negligence. When you choose Moss & Colella to handle your case you are choosing a top law firm to handle your case.
Under Michigan law, if you are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, whether you are a driver or passenger, you are entitled to make a claim for Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits. MCL 500.3114. In most cases, PIP benefits are paid by your own automobile insurance company regardless of who may be “at fault” for the accident. Under this “No Fault” law, the injured person may be entitled to the following PIP benefits:
In order to obtain your PIP benefits, you must file an “Application For No Fault Benefits” with your automobile insurance carrier within one (1) year of the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within the one year time period, you could lose your rights to certain benefits.
Once the claim has been made, your auto insurance company has 30 days to pay benefits. If the insurance company fails to pay the benefits as required, it may become liable to you for interest (12% per year) and attorney fees. As a practical matter, insurance companies usually do not start payment of benefits until between 60 and 90 days of the accident. After the benefits begin, pending any suspension or termination of the benefits, you can expect to receive your benefit payments on a 30 day basis.
In the event that the insurance company fails, neglects, or refuses to pay your PIP benefits, you should retain a lawyer immediately to assist you. While there are certainly instances where a person can be ineligible for benefits, i.e., operating an automobile without the requisite insurance coverage required under Michigan law [MCL 500.3101], often times, the insurance company is simply trying to save money by denying your claim. If you have questions about the legitimacy of a denial of benefits, you need to call the experts at Moss & Colella, P.C.! We will quickly analyze your case and provide you with the answers and representation you need to obtain the benefits you are rightfully entitled to.
In addition to PIP benefits, a person injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident may also be entitled to compensation for “pain and suffering.” To obtain money damages for “pain and suffering” the injured person must make a claim against the driver(s) responsible for causing the accident. This is typically referred to as a “third-party” or “negligence” claim. A negligence claim is one that is asserted against the at fault driver and their insurance company. To recover money for “pain and suffering,” the injured person must establish the following:
Under current Michigan Supreme Court case of Kreiner v Fischer, 471 Mich 106 (2004), in order for an injury to be considered a “serious impairment,” it must contain these factors: 1) an objective manifestation of injury, i.e, diagnosed by objective medical testing, 2) effecting an important body function, 3) substantially impairing the persons ability to lead his or her normal life. Today, these factors are decided by the Court, however, this case is under Supreme Court review and the criteria for “serious impairment” may be amended.
It is important to note that insurance companies do not deal fairly with unrepresented individuals. Therefore, it is very important to hire an experienced trial law firm to represent you. Often times, automobile accident cases can produce very substantial money settlements and verdicts, however, if you choose the wrong lawyer, the results can be disappointing.
Moss & Colella P.C. has been representing victims of car accidents in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb County as well as across the state of Michigan for over 3 decades. We are experienced, knowledgeable and tough trial lawyers who will fight hard and win for you! So if losing is not an option and you can’t afford to lose, please call us at 1-1800-MUST WIN (1-800-687-8946) to schedule a FREE consultation today. The phone call is free and the advice is free – and you will not pay a fee unless we WIN your case.
III. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits
In some cases, a person may become injured in an automobile accident, by another driver who does not have automobile insurance on his/her vehicle. In that case, if your automobile insurance policy includes Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, you may bring a claim against your own insurance company to recover money for your “pain and suffering.” This is referred to as a UM claim. In order to recover money under the UM provision of your policy, the following requirements must be met:
(1) Your automobile policy includes UM coverage;
(2) The driver responsible for the accident did not have insurance at the time of the accident (uninsured);
(3) The uninsured driver was negligent;
(4) You were injured;
(5) Your injuries were caused ( or aggravated) by the accident;
(6) The injuries constitute a “serious impairment of an important body function” and/or “permanent serious disfigurement”;
(7) Damages (losses, out of pocket expenses, excess economic damages, pain and suffering and other non-economic harms resulting from the accident).
While there are a number of factors that can bear on the value of a UM claim, the amount of UM coverage is a primary consideration. Most individual automobile insurance agents will recommend UM coverages starting from $20,000.00 up to $500,000.00. However, if you pay a slightly higher premium, you may obtain UM coverage in upwards of a million (1,000,000.00) dollars. Our firm strongly suggests that UM coverage be purchased in an amount no less than $100,000.00 to adequately insure you and your family, if you are involved in a serious accident.
In many policies, the period for which to make a claim for UM benefits is shortened to 1 year (and in some cases 6 months). Currently, our firm has been granted leave to the Michigan Supreme Court to challenge these “shortened” limitations periods. Idalski v State Farm
However, until the Idalski case is heard and decided by the Supreme Court, it is important to recognize that you may have a limited time to file your claim. If you have any questions about your policy, coverage, or limitations, please call our office to schedule a free consultation. We are experienced, knowledgeable and tough trial lawyers who will fight hard and win for you! So if losing is not an option and you can’t afford to lose, please call us at 1-1800-MUST WIN (1-800-687-8946) to schedule a FREE consultation today. The phone call is free and the advice is free – and you will not pay a fee unless we WIN your case.
Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Benefits
In some cases, a negligent driver may be underinsured. A driver is underinsured if his bodily injury liability coverage is inadequate to cover the nature and extent of the injuries caused by his or her negligent or careless driving. Under Michigan law, a driver is not required to carry more than $20,000.00 in bodily injury coverage. Therefore, if a driver who is carrying the minimum insurance coverage causes an accident that results in serious injury or death, the maximum amount the injured party could receive from threat driver’s insurance company would be $20,000.00.
However, many automobile insurance companies offer Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) benefits. Under a UIM policy, a person who sustains a serious injury due to the negligence of an underinsured driver, may make a claim to his own automobile insurance company to recover the difference. For example, if a person is seriously injured in an automobile accident with a driver who is covered under the minimum insurance limits of $20,000.00 and the injured person has $100,000.00 in UIM coverage, the injured person can collect the $20,000.00 from the negligent driver’s insurance company and up to $80,000.00 from his/her own automobile insurance company.
Like Uninsured Motorist (UM) claims, many auto insurance companies require the policy holder to provide “notice” of a UIM claim. Some policies require notice within 1 year of an accident or less. Moreover, many prominent auto insurance companies in the State of Michigan attempt to contractually shorten the 3 year limitations period on these claims. While our firm is fighting to change this law, it remains in effect today. Therefore, it is crucial to review your policy and consult an attorney as soon after an accident as possible.
If you are injured in a auto accident, you are entitled to make a claim for non-economic damages commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.” But recovering money for your pain, suffering and injuries is not the only compensation you may be entitled to. The negligent driver may also be responsible for excess economic loss. In cases involving death, the estate of the auto accident victim can pursue a wrongful death claim against the at fault motor vehicle driver. Injured auto accident victims must be very careful in how they approach a potential liability claim because, in most situations, the insurer of the motor vehicle involved in the accident will be “wearing two hats.” In other words, the insurer will be responsible for payment of no-fault PIP benefits to the injured auto accident victim and will also be the insurer defending the auto accident victim’s liability claim. In these situations, the auto accident victims must exercise extreme caution in his or her dealings with the motor vehicle insurer. Hiring our firm immediately following an accident will prevent a costly mistake which could jeopardize the value of your case.
If a car is physically damaged as a result of being struck by another car, truck or other motor vehicle as defined in the Michigan No-Fault Law and that motor vehicle is insured with Michigan No-Fault insurance, the vehicle owner will not be able to recover any compensation for collision damage to the vehicle – not even so called “mini-tort” damages that are available to automobiles. However, if the motor vehicle causing the damage to the car did not carry the required Michigan No-Fault insurance coverage, then the owner and/or operator of the uninsured motor vehicle is personally liable for the damage to the car.
In situations where a automobile was “reasonably parked” at the time the collision damage was sustained, the vehicle owner would be entitled to make a claim for “property protection insurance benefits” from the insurer of the motor vehicle causing the damage to the parked car. These property protection insurance benefits consist of the repair costs or replacement value of the car, less depreciation, plus the value of loss of use of the car.
For more information about what an experienced auto accident attorney can do for you, e-mail us or call us at 1-800-MUSTWIN (1-800-687-8946). Our law firm provides strong representation in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases for people in Detroit, throughout Michigan, and in selected cases across the country. We will immerse ourselves in your case. Our team consists of investigators and experts experienced in serious automobile accidents. Moss & Colella has obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our automobile accident clients. We will do what it takes to obtain the compensation you are owed. If you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in serious personal injury, we are here for you. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, we are ready to stand by your side.
We know what it takes to get results.
Our record for success is the reason other attorneys turn to us when they need help. They send their clients to us because they know that we are not afraid to go to trial. We have the energy, the knowledge and the creativity to win even complex automobile accident cases.
If other lawyers trust us enough to handle their cases, shouldn’t you?
Contact us today to tell us about your car accident case and find out what we can do to help.
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