How to Get Auto Accident Compensation
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Auto accidents are part of our daily lives and the lives of millions of other Americans. Around 2.5 million Americans have to visit the emergency room each year as a result of auto accidents, and with visits costing an average of $3,300 and each hospitalization costing around $57,000 over that person’s lifetime, then the total cost to the nation is huge.
If you have been involved in a car accident and have sustained injuries, how do you go about ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to? And what are the common reasons for so many accidents?
Causes of Car Accidents
Given there are in excess of six million car accidents in the U.S. every year, what are the main causes behind them?
Being distracted while driving is by far the most common reason for car accidents across the nation. Distractions can include things such as eating or drinking while driving, rubbernecking at an accident or something on the side of the road, or speaking to passengers in your vehicle.
But the main cause of distracted driving accidents is using a cellphone. It is quite shocking to think that only 20 states have banned all cellphone use by drivers. Michigan’s current state laws prohibits all texting while driving but only prohibits talking on your phone for some drivers.
Drivers who are on a level I or II graduated license are prohibited from talking on handheld cellphones but can use voice operate phones that have been integrated into their vehicle. That same prohibition generally applies to drivers of school buses and commercial vehicles too.
These bans on use do have some exceptions such as when reporting an accident or hazard on the road, when the person thinks they are in imminent danger, or if they are reporting another type of crime. If you are cited by police for an infraction of any of the cellphone laws, it may have some effect on your auto insurance or injury claims.
Exceeding the speed limit is the second most common factor involved in auto accidents. If your speeding was a contributing factor to an accident, then this can leave you as the primary at fault driver and open to a claim being made against you for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. It will also affect your own car insurance as your premiums will likely rise.
The maximum speed limit in Michigan is 75 mph and 55 mph on roads that do not have a speed limit posted. Sadly, speeding is far too common on Michigan’s roads and highways, even in bad weather.
Traveling at excess speeds means you have less control over your vehicle if something happens and it takes longer to slow down if a sudden hazard or obstacle appears in the road. A citation for speeding will not only incur a fine but also points on your license and even if not involved in an accident, these citations can lead to the driver’s insurance company increasing premiums or even dropping coverage for repeat offenders.
Driving under the influence is another major, and irresponsible cause of auto accidents. Driving while drunk is a behavior that peaks especially at weekends and on holidays. As with the other 49 states, Michigan’s threshold for driving after consuming alcohol is .08 BAC (blood alcohol concentration).
Many people do not understand what BAC actually equates to with regards to what they drink. A simple way of understanding it is that .02 BAC is about one “standard” drink, so about 12 fl. oz. of beer or 5 fl. oz. of wine. However, this can vary according to people’s body weight and metabolism. And given that even one drink will have some effect on your reaction times and concentration, perhaps a simpler way of looking at it would be to not drink at all when driving.
And it’s not just alcohol that is a problem. In 2016, drugged drivers caused 127 crashes that led to 141 deaths. Being drunk or under the influence of narcotics are high risk factors that may not only cause accidents, but will also lead to you facing criminal charges.
Reckless driving is something that can often happen in conjunction with drunk or drugged driving but sober drivers can also drive recklessly. Tailgating the driver in front, changing lanes without checking for other traffic, swerving across the highway, and showing off are all examples of reckless behavior while driving.
Rain is a very common cause of accidents in the U.S. With slippery road conditions, it can be harder to brake and easier to lose control when something goes wrong. These road conditions can often be exacerbated by poor vehicle maintenance such as worn tires or brakes.
And with Michigan winters, snow and ice are also two major hazards to the state’s drivers. When weather conditions are poor, the best advice is to reduce speed and increase your concentration.
Getting What You are Entitled to
With Michigan’s no fault insurance laws, the normal procedure is for blame to be shared 50-50 and for your own no fault insurance coverage to cover most expenses such as medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. In the aftermath of any accident, always follow the important basic steps such as collecting contact information, insurance information, and recording the scene of the accident.
Where there is provable liability on the part of another driver, such as when they test positive for alcohol or drugs or where police reports identify that they broke state or local laws such as speeding you can pursue a claim against that party. You can claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and for any excess expenses.
You may incur extra expenses related to medical costs, for example traveling to appointments. Medical expenses may not only be about initial treatment: in some cases, treatment may be ongoing for months or even years.
While in some cases, your no fault insurance may be paid out quickly and will cover all your costs, in many others there can be complications or low offers from the insurance adjuster. Having one of the experienced lawyers from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help navigate what can be a frustrating and time consuming process.
We can negotiate with your insurance company for a better accident settlement on your car accident claim. Where there is liability on the part of other drivers, we can negotiate with that party’s insurance company to reach an out of court settlement or, if none is reached, we can pursue any claims in court.
Having an awareness of what causes most accidents and the knowledge of how to deal with them when they happen can go a long way to avoiding being out of pocket. With the experience and extensive knowledge of the team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., ensuring you receive any insurance payments – or third party compensation – you are entitled to becomes a less frustrating process.
In order to evaluate your case, contact our law firm at (866)-779-7331 for a no obligation consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.
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.