Car Accident Lawsuit FAQs & Mistakes That Can Ruin a Case
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
After a car crash, you will want to know how to get compensation for your losses. You will also want to know what you need to do to support your claim.
The personal injury lawyers at the law firm Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. can offer you legal advice and help you understand the car accident claim process. We can guide you through the dos and don’ts of handling a car accident lawsuit.
FAQs About Michigan Car Accident Lawsuits
While each car accident has its own characteristics and facts, there are some common questions and answers regarding car accident cases in Michigan.
What are the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents?
Michigan State Police statistics show that in 2020 there were 245,432 accidents on Michigan’s roads. These motor vehicle accidents accounted for 1,010 fatalities and 44,417 injuries. Some of the most common causes of accidents were:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol: Many accidents in Michigan occur because of a driver operating a vehicle after consuming more alcohol than the legal limit. According to State Police figures, driving under the influence was responsible for 326 fatal accidents in 2020.
- Distracted driving: In the U.S., distracted drivers cause approximately 2.5 million car crashes every year. Motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers kill approximately 9 people per day and injure more than 1,000. Behavior that causes distracted driving includes driving while eating or drinking, reaching for an object in the car, talking to passengers, texting, or speaking on cell phones.
- Drowsy driving: This caused around 100,000 accidents in 2019, according to figures from the NHTSA. They also estimate that in 2013 drowsy driving resulted in 71,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.
- Reckless driving: Negligence is responsible for 33% of the 6 million car accidents on U.S. roads every year.
What is the no-fault auto insurance law in Michigan?
Michigan is one of the 12 no-fault auto insurance states. This means that if you are involved in an auto accident, you file a claim with your auto insurer. The insurance company then pays your medical bills, lost wages, and attendant allowance. You have, however, given up your right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver except in certain circumstances.
Even though Michigan has no-fault auto insurance laws, it may be worthwhile consulting a car accident attorney if you are an accident victim. An attorney can ensure you get all the no-fault compensation benefits to which you are entitled, all the benefits under your auto insurance that are payable to you and deal with the insurance adjusters.
When can I file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver?
Under MCL 500.3135, you may file a lawsuit for non-economic losses against an at-fault driver if your injuries meet strict criteria. This section says that the at-fault driver may be liable if their action causes serious disfigurement, serious body function impairment, or wrongful death.
You will have to prove your injuries pass the MCL 500.3135 threshold test. Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to receive the settlement amount you deserve.
What will I have to prove to win damages?
To prove your case, you will need to present evidence that demonstrates:
- The negligence of the at-fault driver caused the accident
- You were injured as a result of the accident
- The at-fault driver’s negligence caused your injuries
Common Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Case
It is easy to make a mistake that can have a big impact on your claim. How successful you are in pursuing your case depends on what you do in the period between the accident and receiving a settlement.
The insurance company will be watching to see if you slip up or if they can push you into making an error that jeopardizes your claim. Actions you should avoid are:
Failing to file a police report
Following an accident in Michigan, it’s critical to call the police so they can accurately document the details of the crash in a formal police report. If you fail to file a report, the insurance company can argue that the accident was not that bad and you were not seriously hurt.
Ensuring there is legitimate evidence of the accident recorded by law enforcement gives you something to fall back on if your claim is challenged at a later date.
Waiting too long to seek medical care
If you wait to seek medical care for your accident injuries, the insurance company may claim you weren’t seriously injured. There will also be no official medical record of your injuries and medical treatment to support your claim, making it more challenging to win your case.
A claims adjuster will have a more challenging time disproving your injury when there is official documentation of the injuries and how your doctor has been treating them.
Discussing your case on social media
Unguarded comments on social media have ruined many cases. The insurance company will be reviewing all your social media posts for anything that will prejudice your claim. Avoid posting anything about your accident, injuries, or details of your case.
Accepting an early settlement offer
The insurance company adjusters may try to approach you with a lowball offer hoping you will accept. They realize you’re under financial stress due to your mounting medical expenses or time off work and will attempt to use this knowledge to coerce you into settling for less compensation than you deserve.
By accepting this offer, you could lose thousands of dollars in compensation.
Consult an Attorney So You Avoid Making a Mistake That Can Ruin Your Case
Even with Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance laws, dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be complicated. The law and procedure around filing and pursuing a claim for personal injuries are challenging to navigate alone.
To safeguard your legal rights, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. The auto accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. have an impressive record in achieving car accident settlements and awards for our clients.
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.