How Fault and Liability is Determined in a Car Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you’re involved in a car accident, it can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. In addition to coping with injuries and paying medical bills and property damage costs, you might also want to file a claim.
Michigan is a no-fault state, meaning all drivers must have no-fault insurance. Because of this law, your insurance company covers many of your expenses regardless of who caused the accident.
However, sometimes you have more expenses than are covered by insurance, or you believe you deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.
An auto accident lawyer at our law firm can help you determine if your evidence is strong enough to prove the other driver’s fault in a car accident, and fight for your right to compensation in court.
Unlike in other states where insurance adjusters and insurance companies determine fault in car accidents, Michigan’s insurance policies are not fault-based. You should file an insurance claim with your auto insurance as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
Your basic no-fault insurance does not cover damage to your car. It also only covers up to 85% of lost income for up to three years. Although it will cover all reasonable medical expenses, if you are disabled as a result of the accident, you might incur other expenses from making your home accessible. A disability could also result in a long-term inability to work. You can sue an at-fault driver if the accident resulted in serious injuries that caused short- or long-term disabilities. In Michigan, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
Your lawyer must prove that the other driver or drivers were at least partially at fault for the accident before you can receive compensation.
Usually, an at-fault driver was negligent in some way. Speeding, running a red light, texting while driving, or driving under the influence are all clear fault cases. Your lawyer uses police reports, expert witnesses, and photographic evidence to prove your claim in court.
There are also cases where you both contributed to the accident. Michigan has adopted a new doctrine of modified comparative negligence. If you were partially at-fault for the crash, you could still receive partial compensation. Instead of receiving your full settlement, the court subtracts a percentage of your award equal to your comparative fault share.
If you had more fault than the other driver, meaning you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are ineligible to receive compensation.
One of the most common ways to determine fault is by proving negligence. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our car accident lawyers are experts in determining negligence. There are a few steps our lawyers follow when proving other drivers’ negligence.
First, they’ll need to prove that the other party involved owed you a legal duty of care. All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and follow the laws of the road.
Then, they’ll show that the driver failed to meet that duty. For example, failing to stop at a stop sign breaks the law and their duty of care to other drivers.
The next step is harder to prove. Our lawyers have to convince the court that the other driver’s failure to meet their duty caused your crash. In some cases, this step is easily proven, for example, when a driver is drinking, texting while driving, or excessively speeding.
Our car accident lawyers show the court that the accident directly caused your injuries and damages. This step, in particular, is more straightforward if you have medical evidence. To help your case, visit a doctor as soon as possible after a car crash.
To receive compensation, you need to have demonstrable damages. These can include medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, or pain and suffering.
Liability can be complicated to determine. Sometimes, there might be multiple drivers involved in an accident. Or a driver might be working, and therefore covered under his or her employer’s insurance.
It’s possible for there to be several liable parties, and you can include as many of them as you like in your lawsuit.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we use our extensive expertise in car accident lawsuits to ensure your case is successful. We know you have many things to worry about after an accident, and we want to help reduce your stress.
We ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines, find the best expert witnesses, and determine who to name in the lawsuit.
Our lawyers are also experts in disability law and can help you apply for eligible benefits.
Call Our Law Firm For a Free Consultation
If you were recently involved in a car accident and believe that the other driver was at fault, call 866-MICH-LAW today to schedule a confidential free consultation.
We work on a contingency fee basis and won’t take a fee until we win your case. Let our car accident lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. review your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
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.