Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit Claim Time Limits
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Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit Claim Time Limits

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Even a minor car accident can be confusing and frustrating. Dealing with any injuries sustained, notifying your insurance company, obtaining different quotes on any repairs needing done to your vehicle, all of these things take time. And when problems arise, or when there are disputes over liability, that time can increase substantially.

When you have an experienced attorney representing you, these things are less worrisome and your stress is reduced. But what happens if you are trying to deal with everything yourself? What hurdles could you face and what time limits should you be aware of?

First Steps

The first thing all drivers in Michigan should be aware of is what steps to take after the accident occurs. Knowing exactly what to do can alleviate stress and save time.

  • Remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident may in some cases lead to police charges.
  • Get medical help. Call an ambulance if anyones has been injured in the car accident.
  • Call the police. Under certain circumstances, you must call the police. Also call the police when you suspect another driver has been using drugs or alcohol.
  • Collect all relevant information. Make sure you collect contact information of other drivers involved in a Michigan car accident. This includes names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and auto insurance details. Also collect details of any witnesses.
  • Record the scene. If able to, take as many photographs of the accident scene as possible. Details such as position of cars, road conditions, and weather conditions may all help later with your Michigan auto accident case.
  • Always remain calm. It may seem obvious, but after an accident, emotions are running high. People losing their tempers will not help the situation.

Ticking Clock

From the moment the accident happens, you should be aware there are a number of ticking clocks in regard to the different actions you may have to take. Ensuring you adhere to these timeframes can be an essential part of your personal injury claim process.

  • Police. The first clock you face is reporting the accident to the police. While there is not a set time for this per se, the pertinent law says that you must immediately report the accident to police when certain criteria are met. Those criteria are: when any person is injured or suffers wrongful death or when any property damage caused by the accident totals $1,000 or more. It is also worth getting to know whether there are any additional requirements under local ordinance. For example, the City of Detroit has an additional clause that requires an accident to be reported when a car can no longer be driven in its usual manner.
  • Insurance Company. The timeframe for informing your insurance company of the accident you were involved in will usually depend on the company. The average timeframe for reporting the actual accident is around 30 days, but we recommend reporting it as soon as possible, ideally from 24 hours to 1 week. The timeframe for filing your insurance claim will always parallel the state’s statute of limitations. So here in Michigan, that period is three years.
  • Filing a lawsuit. Michigan is a no fault state. That means that in most circumstances, expenses such as medical bills, loss of salary, and repairs to any damage to your vehicle or property will be covered by your no fault insurance benefits. In Michigan, the coverage of your no fault – or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is unlimited, but as of 1st July, 2020, there will be six different levels of PIP insurance available and this will have a major effect on the extent of your coverage. These changes are unlikely to have a major impact on the expensive insurance premiums we pay here in Michigan, although they may have some small effect on our high number of uninsured motorists. In some scenarios, where the liability of another driver can be proven, then you may pursue a third party lawsuit for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In order to pursue any claim, you must file it within three years of the date of the accident.

Filing a lawsuit

Complications & Solutions

In many car accident cases, the process of submitting a claim and receiving the payments you are entitled to will be smooth. But in many other cases, there will likely be one or more complications along the way.

The most likely complication will involve your own insurance company. We are all aware that insurance companies are reluctant to make full payments when it comes to an accident settlement. They will look for any reason, any hidden clause, that means they can reduce their final payment.

Having an experienced law firm such as Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. representing you can aid in getting the compensation you are entitled to. Our law firm can negotiate on your behalf when any initial offer is lower than expected and make sure you are not out of pocket.

The second complication is if you try and make a claim against an at fault driver for non-economic damages. Without an attorney on your side, this can be a challenging process. Our legal team can present your medical records, call on expert testimony if needed, and show to the court – or to the defendant’s insurance company – that they were indeed at fault and are liable to pay damages.

The Takeaway

Many people like the idea of pursuing the car accident claim without the help of an experienced accident attorney. And it is fair to say that in some cases, that is entirely doable, especially in relatively minor accidents such as fender benders. But in many cases, there will be a hurdle that is difficult to overcome without the input of a qualified attorney.

If you have suffered an injury, you want to focus on recovery and returning to work. Our legal team can remove the burden of paperwork and deadlines from your shoulders.

At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we specialize in all forms of personal injury and have represented thousands of clients in car accident cases. If you want to avoid all the stress and worry of coping with your claim alone, take advantage of our free consultation offer and schedule an appointment with us by calling 1-866-MICH-LAW  today.

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.

Steve is a former criminal justice worker. With degrees in psychology and social work, he spent most of his life helping those with addiction issues before switching to criminal justice. He was responsible for writing court reports and advising judges on sentencing. He also supervised offenders, including sex offenders, in the community and carried out risk assessments and probation appraisals. He now lives in SE Asia and is working on his 5th novel.



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