Do I Have an Auto Accident Case if I Only Have Minor Injuries?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Michigan, you need to know your rights and how to recover any losses. The state’s no-fault insurance scheme can make this complicated. If you make a misstep at an early stage, you may prejudice your claim, causing you to miss out on compensation to which you may have been entitled.
You need good legal advice to fully understand which benefits you may qualify for and get the compensation you deserve. The car accident lawyers at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. have the experience and knowledge to guide you through the steps you need to take.
What Happens if I Have a Minor Auto Accident?
If you have a minor car accident, like a slow-speed rear end, you may get out of the car with just a few cuts, scratches, or bruises. Even if your injuries and the damage to your car are minimal, it’s a mistake to only file a claim through your auto insurance and walk away.
There are steps you must take following an auto accident in Michigan, regardless of how minor or severe the collision. If you are involved in a crash, here are the actions to take in the minutes and days after:
- Call 911: Michigan law requires the police to be notified if someone has been injured in a car accident per Michigan Vehicle Code section 257.622. The police officer attending the accident has to write a police report on the causes and results of the accident. This is a valuable piece of evidence as to who was at fault and what injuries each party sustained. An ambulance may also attend. If so, inform the paramedics of all your injuries so they may be recorded at the scene or shortly afterward.
- Take photos: Capture images of the scene of the crash, the vehicles involved, and any injuries you sustained on your smartphone.
- Collect driver information: Obtain the contact details of the at-fault driver. Also, take down their car license number and insurance details.
- Get witness statements where possible: If there are any witnesses at the scene, collect their contact details and, if possible, ask them to write a statement at the time. It is always better to take statements while the events are fresh in the witnesses’ minds.
- Go to your doctor and seek medical attention: It does not matter how minor you think your accident injuries may be. Your doctor will record your injuries which is valuable evidence in any personal injury claim. They may also be able to diagnose if you have suffered more serious injuries than you suspect and determine what medical treatment you may require in the future.
No-Fault Insurance PIP Benefits
If you are an accident victim, you are required to file a claim with the vehicle owner’s auto insurer under the no-fault law; in most cases, that will be your auto insurer.
This claim will cover losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and other allowable losses. However, under this legislation, you cannot make claims for pain and suffering against the at-fault driver unless you reach certain thresholds regarding the severity of your injuries.
It is, therefore, vital to have all the evidence possible regarding the injuries you sustained in the accident. If in the future serious physical impairments or disfigurement manifests, you will need this evidence to prove your claim. The at-fault driver’s insurers will claim they are not liable. If you do not have this evidence, your claim will most likely be rejected, and you will not get the compensation you need and deserve.
Pain and Suffering
To file a lawsuit for pain and suffering, you must meet certain criteria. This requirement is that you have suffered permanent serious disfigurement or serious physical impairment.
If the injury you sustained does not meet this threshold, you will be unable to file a claim. However, you should still seek medical advice because some injuries, such as head injuries, can take months or years to manifest themselves.
So, if your injuries reach the required threshold in the future, you will have the evidence to prove they were the result of the auto accident. If this occurs, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for non-economic damages, provided you file your claim within the statute of limitations.
Statute of Limitations
In Michigan, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations, including:
- When the victim was under 18 at the time of the accident
- The victim was considered insane at the time of the accident (and therefore couldn’t understand their rights)
- The liable party left the state, preventing the plaintiff from serving them
Though three years may seem like a long time, contact a car accident lawyer immediately following an accident to ensure you submit your claim on time.
Even if you do not have a claim for personal injury, you may still have a claim against the at-fault driver for the damage to your car. You should be aware of these restrictions:
- You may only recover damages up to $1,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance
- The at-fault driver must be more than 50% to blame for the accident
- You must file your claim within three years of the accident
- You must provide the at-fault driver’s insurer with a copy of the police report and a written estimate for the cost of repair to your vehicle
Work with a Car Accident Attorney in Michigan
If you have been involved in an auto accident and want advice on your rights and how to file a car accident claim, the personal injury lawyers at Cochran Kroll Associates, P.C. can help.
Our car accident attorneys have many years of experience dealing with Michigan auto accident claims and the expertise to help you understand the law and the procedure to pursue your claim successfully.
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.