Can an Auto Accident Lawyer Provide a Free Estimate for My Claim?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
After an auto accident, it’s natural for you to be overwhelmed by your situation. You will be dealing with the physical aftermath of the accident and the financial repercussions of your injuries. It can be challenging to know what you claim and how much your claim is worth. Every case is different, and the value of your claim will depend on various factors.
A personal injury lawyer can answer your questions regarding what your case is worth and how to move forward with a personal injury claim. Michigan car accident lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can give you a free estimate of the value of your claim based on the circumstances of your case.
What is the Value of Your Auto Accident Claim?
There are two categories in which you claim you can claim compensation for your injuries from an auto accident; economic and non-economic damages. Your auto accident attorneys will calculate your free estimate based on a range of factors under these two types of damages.
What are Economic Damages?
Economic damages provide compensation for quantifiable monetary losses. In an auto accident, these might include:
- Vehicle repair or replacement (These claims are capped at $3,000 by changes to Michigan’s Mini Tort Law and came into effect from 1 July 2020)
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Expenses which you incurred as a result of the accident, such as car rental and taxi fares
To prepare an accurate estimate of your motor vehicle replacement claim, your auto accident attorney will need details of your car, such as:
- Vehicle purchase price
- Pre-accident condition
What are Non-Economic Losses?
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. Two accident victims may suffer the same type of injury, but one can experience more profound pain and suffering than the other. In such a situation, the person suffering greater pain may receive a higher compensation award.
Non-economic compensation will be based on:
- Reduced earning capacity if you are unable to return to your old job
- Attendant allowance
- Serious bodily impairment
- Serious permanent disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma as a result of the accident
If the crash causes the wrongful death of a member of your family, you may be able to claim:
- Pain and suffering of the victim from the accident date to the date of death
- Loss of society and companionship
- Other monetary losses caused by the accident
You may also be able to claim survivor’s loss benefits such as:
- Funeral expenses
- The deceased person’s after-tax income
- The value of fringe benefits enjoyed by the deceased.
How Do Insurance Policy Limits Affect My Claim?
The insurance coverage limits of the at-fault driver and the owner of the car may affect your insurance claim.
The policy limits on your uninsured and underinsured policies may be crucial. In certain circumstances, such as where you have high medical and attendant expenses and the liability of the insurance companies is insufficient to meet the bills, you may end up paying out of pocket.
On the other hand, if the injuries you sustain are classified as serious bodily impairment or serious permanent disfigurement, MCL 500.3135, outlining the threshold for serious impairment of body function, will help your claim. This section states if the accident causes wrongful death or injuries that meet the required level, the driver remains liable for all non-economic loss. This means that Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws no longer bind you or limit your coverage.
Will the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Try to Reduce the Value of My Claim?
Insurance companies will always try to minimize the compensation they payout after an accident. There are several tactics they commonly use to achieve that aim.
They may try to push for an early settlement, knowing you are under financial pressure through loss of wages and accident-related bills. They will send a representative with a lowball offer hoping that you will accept less than you deserve. The offer will be an immediate payment providing you sign a settlement, but you will not receive the full compensation amount that your claim is worth.
Other strategies the insurance company may use to prevent you from receiving a full damages payout are:
- Casting doubt on liability for the accident by saying you were wholly or partially responsible. By doing this under Michigan’s comparative negligence law, they can seek to reduce your damages by the amount of responsibility you have for the accident. If they are successful, they can substantially reduce any payout.
- Casting doubts on the severity of your injuries. They may try to suggest the injuries are from a pre-existing condition, that you have not followed your doctor’s advice, or you have said that your injuries are minor.
- Saying you were to blame for the accident because you were under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.
The purpose of these tactics is to wear you down until you accept a disadvantageous settlement figure. Accident victims often settle early because they want a quick payout. This is usually a mistake as the settlement figures are too low and don’t cover the full potential cost of their damages.
By settling early, you may lose out on thousands of dollars, which may have relieved your financial burden and secured your future. Your legal rights and protections under the law may also be prejudiced by signing a settlement.
An experienced Michigan auto accident attorney will be aware of the insurance company’s aims and tactics. They will also have the expertise to defeat them and protect your rights and entitlement to full compensation.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Estimate of Your Claim
Let the skilled and knowledgeable car accident attorneys at the law firm Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. help you understand your rights following an accident. We can calculate a potential value for your claim, give advice on your personal injury case and ensure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.