Michigan Car Accident Lawyers
In 2019, there were 314,376 reported car accidents in Michigan. In these accidents, almost one thousand people were killed — and nearly 75,000 people were injured. If you or a loved one is dealing with the trauma and aftermath of a car accident, you may need resources to help aid with recovery. Working with experienced Michigan car accident lawyers will help ease the process of managing a car accident injury claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Table of Contents
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When one person experiences an injury after an accident and another person may be legally responsible, the legal dispute that arises is a personal injury case. Over the course of a personal injury case, the various involved parties (including insurance companies, the defendant, the plaintiff, and attorneys) will work to determine both liability and a settlement that makes sense.
Generally speaking, there are two different routes that personal injury lawsuits can take:
- Formal personal injury lawsuits. If a private individual — typically the victim in a personal injury case — files a civil complaint against the person they believe responsible for the injury, that legal action is known as a lawsuit. The suit itself may argue that the person allegedly responsible for the incident exhibited negligence or otherwise acted irresponsibly in a manner that led to the victim’s injury.
- Pre-suit settlements. If the parties involved can come to an agreement without filing a lawsuit, that is known as a pre-suit settlement. Typically, this will involve one party paying another an agreed-upon sum of money. Working with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer can help make it more likely that you’ll come to an agreeable compromise.
Rear Seat Passenger Auto Accident
A woman suffered serious neck and back injuries in the back seat of a car after taking the direct impact of an oncoming vehicle that T-boned her passenger side rear door at high speed.
PIP: Pedestrian Hit by Negligent Driver
A man was hit by a negligent driver as he was walking out of an office supply store. He sustained an injury to his shoulder requiring multiple surgeries, an injury to his neck requiring fusion surgery, and other injuries to his head and back. Despite the fact that he was hit as a pedestrian, his own auto insurance company refused to pay virtually any of his no-fault benefits which were guaranteed under his contract and under state law. Moss & Colella pursued the case all the way to trial, without the insurance company making a single offer. The winning verdict included all of the benefits the client was owed, plus interest.
3rd Party Auto
Woman was rear-ended on Woodward Avenue by a semi-tractor trailer vehicle resulting in traumatic brain injury along with cervical and lumbar disc herniations.
Negligence: Backseat Passenger
An in-home caregiver riding as a backseat passenger on the way to a client’s funeral was hit broadside while crossing the street into the cemetery. The client suffered injuries including a traumatic brain injury and spine injuries requiring surgery. Moss & Colella was able to obtain settlements from the driver of the vehicle in which she was riding as well as the driver of the striking vehicle.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Michigan has a set of laws known as the statute of limitations that answer this specific question. According to Michigan’s personal injury statute of limitation, you have three years to file a car accident lawsuit to recover “damages” for bodily injury or wrongful death.
Michigan Compiled Laws Section 600.5805 states:
Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of limitations is 3 years after the time of the death or injury for all actions to recover damages for the death of a person or for injury to a person or property.
What is Personal Injury Protection/No-Fault Benefits?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP; also known as “no-fault” insurance) is a specific type of insurance coverage that will pay the medical bills for you and your passengers after a car accident occurs. PIP also covers wage loss, attendant care, replacement services, and transportation. If you are a passenger in someone else’s car, or if you’re hurt in an accident while biking or walking, your PIP may cover the resultant charges.
PIP differs from liability insurance in that PIP will cover your medical expenses regardless of fault (hence the name), whereas liability insurance will cover the victim’s bodily injury or wrongful death damages if you’re at fault for the accident.
Some states require PIP insurance; Michigan is one of them. More specifically, Michigan has provisions that govern how PIP coverage and health insurance must work together. Depending on the specifics of your case, your health insurance may cover your hospital medical bills, while PIP coverage may cover lost wages, death benefits, or home care expenses.
Seat Belt Laws in Michigan
To help mitigate the danger of a car accident, Michigan does have a Seat Belt Law in effect. Under this law, law enforcement can issue tickets for motorists who haven’t clicked their seatbelts.
Michigan’s Seat Belt Law states:
- Passengers between the ages of 8 and 15 must buckle up at all times.
- Drivers and front-seat passengers must be buckled up at all times.
- Children under the age of 4 should be in the rear seat, if possible, in a rear-facing car seat. If they must be in the front seat, the airbag must be turned off.
- Children between the ages of 4 and 8 must be buckled into a car or booster seat.
I HIGHLY recommend David Moss; he exceeded my expectations numerous times, and I feel fortunate and blessed to have worked with him and his team. Moss & Colella attorneys have relentless perseverance and dedication for everyone they represent.
If this firm takes your case, it's in exceptionally experienced hands. The hands of attorneys who care about your well-being and the outcome of your litigation!
When I got into a car accident, my life changed. David and Ryan understood how this change affected my livelihood and mobility. They handled my case professionally, and I couldn't be more thankful for all of the sincere guidance and help provided throughout this process.
Thanks so much for everything!!!
Common Types of Car Accidents
While it’s tempting to lump all collisions together, there are several types of distinct car accidents. They include:
- Head-on collisions
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Intersection accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Rear-end accidents
- Road construction accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
- T-bone accidents
Frequent Causes of Car Crashes
There are many reasons car crashes might occur. The most common causes include:
- Driver inattention — due to conversations with other persons in the car, for example, or a driver’s attempt to multitask behind the wheel by sending a text or making a call
- Distractions — looking away from the road at a sign, something on the side of the road, something in the car, or even a cognitive distraction that causes the driver to ‘zone out’ while driving. Distractions may not necessarily be the driver’s fault; glare from the sun or an oncoming vehicle’s headlights can also distract.
- Fatigue or drowsiness — Most American adults don’t get enough sleep, which directly relates to motor and visual coordination, particularly during repetitive tasks such as driving. This can lead to devastation on the road.
- Alcohol or drug impairment — Persons under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance may have lesser awareness, reduced reaction times, or a bent towards taking more risks than necessary.
- Speeding — How quickly cars are going when they crash has a large impact on the resulting collision. The faster they’re going, the more powerful the force. In addition, cars that are going very fast may be more likely to lose control on bad roads.
The Most Common Car Accident Injuries
Wondering what could happen after a collision? Some of the common injuries you may be able to expect include:
- Bruising or contusions
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
Importantly, you don’t need to be in a dramatic t-bone crash to sustain serious injuries. Even if somebody else collides into your back bumper (in a common type of rear-end collision), you may be at risk of tendon damage, herniated discs in the neck and back, stress fractures, sprained wrists, or in some cases, a closed head injury.
It’s key to note, as well, that not all of these injuries are immediately evident. It will always be a good idea to get your injuries examined by a doctor.
What Should I Do After A Car Crash?
The shortlist includes ensuring you’re safe, documenting the scene, and contacting authorities! After you’ve been involved in a collision, consider the following action items:
- Make sure that everyone involved appears immediately okay. Your first priority is safety. If anyone is in critical condition, call for medical assistance at once.
- Contact the police. Even if the accident is minor, it’s important to get it on the official record.
- Collect the information of all parties involved. You’ll need the name, phone number, driver’s license, and insurance details of all drivers.
- Take pictures of all of the vehicles involved. Get detailed shots of any new damage. (If there are any witnesses, it may be a good idea to get their contact information, too.)
- Call a tow truck, if necessary. The police may be able to point you in the direction of a nearby collision repair center.
- Call your doctor. Even if you believe that you are unharmed, it’s in your best interest to get checked out. Having an immediate medical record may help you later. Importantly, many insurance companies will notice whether you sought a doctor within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time after the crash. Since this is the case, getting medical attention within 72 hours of the event is key.
- Call a Michigan personal injury attorney. Determining liability and damages in a car accident case can happen quickly. Making sure you have a professional on your side will help you pursue a good outcome.
If you’re in a hit-and-run, you’ll still need to call the police and get a report started. Give the police as much information as you can about the other vehicle, and then follow the rest of the above steps as needed.
Filing a Police Accident Report
With the assistance of the police, filing a report should be straightforward. You or the police should gather the following information and ensure it’s in the report:
- The precise location of the accident (including the distance to the nearest intersection)
- The number of vehicles and people involved
- The precise time of the crash
- An initial estimation of the property loss amount (for the purposes of the report, this may just be a note that the amount is under or above some monetary threshold)
- The weather and condition of the road at the time of the crash
- The names, contact information, and license information of the drivers involved in the crash
Getting Insurance Involved
Immediately after the crash, you may start receiving calls from the responsible driver’s insurance company and even your insurance company. While initiating a conversation with the insurance company and the adjuster assigned to your case will be important, it’s equally important to make sure that your report is accurate. In many cases, auto insurance accident adjusters will attempt to bait you into admitting fault or saying things that may jeopardize your claim.
Therefore, it is very important to speak to a Michigan car accident attorney before making statements to an insurance company. Your attorney will be able to help you handle all of the tense conversations and the paperwork, which will allow you to focus less on negotiations and more on recovering with your loved ones.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
As you determine the proper amount of damages to include in your settlement, some costs will be easy to identify. For example, it’s common to ask for a settlement to cover medical bills, ongoing recuperation expenses, funeral bills, and loss of wages due to disability.
Your attorney may recommend including pain and suffering as part of your damages. Pain and suffering is dependent upon the amount of the “at fault” driver’s insurance coverage, the nature and extent of your injuries, and damages along with verdict and settlement research. It is always best to consult with an attorney to assist you in assessing a fair value for your pain and suffering damages.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Personal Injury Settlement?
While every case is different, it can take up to a year or more to settle a personal injury claim. After the personal injury claim is completed and a settlement awarded, you may choose between a lump sum and a structured, ongoing settlement payment.
If you choose the lump-sum payment, you may have to wait an average of six weeks before you see the money. Even then, it may be customary for your attorney to cash the check, put it in a safe place, make sure all of your medical bills are paid, and negotiate any debts, liens, or ongoing payments on your behalf before the money hits your bank account.
If you opt for a structured series of payments, your attorney will be able to help you determine the best course of action. In addition, there will be legal fees. Many personal injury lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis, which means they will take payment when you receive your settlement (not before!). The portion a lawyer will receive out of your settlement varies widely. When you first reach out to a Michigan car accident attorney, this should be one of the questions you ask.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
While there is no law requiring you to hire an attorney, you may find that it’s in your best interest. After you or a loved one is in an accident, you’ll find that you want to focus on recovery and spend time with your loved ones. Working with an attorney allows you to pursue strategic legal action while keeping your stress levels low — which is good for your health during a difficult time.
You may indeed be able to negotiate a settlement without an attorney, but your chances of achieving maximum compensation rise significantly when you’re working with a professional. Not only will you have an easier time managing the logistics of the claim, but a seasoned personal injury attorney will have a nuanced understanding of the various arguments you’ll need to employ to best make your case.
Even if the car crash wasn’t your fault, you’ll find that navigating a personal injury claim can be a minefield. Insurance companies and the team supporting the defendant will be waiting for you to say anything that negates your claim. Ultimately, you could be left without a penny while experiencing collision-related pain. Working with an attorney is an excellent way to reduce the chances of this unfortunate outcome.
What Happens After You Hire Us
Once you hire a reputable Michigan car accident attorney, we’ll get to work! At our firm, we’ll start by sending out representation letters to all parties involved to ensure that we receive and can handle all relevant paperwork — and you don’t have to deal with any unwanted correspondence. Then, we’ll help you collect evidence, determine a compelling argument for your case, come up with a settlement figure, and work towards maximum compensation. We look forward to assisting you and your family with all the support we can provide during this difficult time.