Top Misconceptions About Car Accident Claims in Michigan
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
When you’ve been injured in a car accident, you might wonder whether you should file a claim for compensation. Due to Michigan’s unique car accident laws, filing a car accident claim can be a confusing process with a few common misconceptions.
To understand the truth about misconceptions regarding car accident claims, work with a reputable Michigan attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our car accident lawyers can guide you through the process of filing your claim and explain the legal process to you at an initial free consultation.
Here are a few of the top misconceptions about car accident claims:
No-Fault Accident Laws Are the Same in Every State
While no-fault laws exist in other states, Michigan’s car accident laws are unique. A no-fault insurance policy entitles car accident victims to certain benefits regardless of who’s at fault.
The personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits you receive from your insurance company compensate you for economic losses resulting from the accident. This includes medical bills and lost wages due to time off work for recovery.
Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws protect insured drivers from being sued after an accident. This law has a few exceptions. For instance, if your PIP coverage cannot sufficiently pay for your medical bills, you can sue the other driver. Similarly, if a loved one is killed or seriously injured in an accident, the family can sue for compensation.
PIP Coverage and Bodily Injury Liability are the Same
PIP benefits cover medical bills, attendant care, medical mileage, and lost earnings for car accident victims. Your car insurance company pays these benefits up to the amount on the policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
However, residual liability insurance, also known as bodily injury liability, compensates you for losses incurred by an at-fault driver. Typically, these include compensation for pain and suffering. They can also cover excess economic losses and medical expenses that exceed a victim’s PIP policy. Bodily injury liability insurance covers the cost of future medical treatment and care related to the accident.
Bodily injury liability insurance applies if you are responsible for causing a car accident out of state. It also covers passengers riding in your vehicle. When you are at fault for an accident and your passengers suffer injuries, your auto insurance covers compensation for pain and suffering, excess medical benefits, and lost wages up to the policy limit.
I Didn’t Suffer Any Injuries After My Car Accident, So I Shouldn’t See My Doctor
Many injuries are not apparent right after an accident. However, days or weeks later, you may feel back pain or experience behavioral changes that can be symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Whether you are in a minor car accident or involved in a catastrophic collision with a semi-truck, you should always seek medical attention.
Your doctor can document your injuries and let you know of current and future medical treatments you need, which is important evidence for filing a claim. Your medical records and hospital bills can help your lawyer estimate the total value of damages you deserve for your injuries.
I Can Collect Damages for Pain and Suffering Even if I Have Slight Pain
Simply being in pain does not qualify you for compensation beyond your economic losses, such as medical costs and loss of wages. A Michigan resident injured in a vehicle accident must pass a threshold test before collecting compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
In Michigan, the threshold for a serious injury is when you experience serious impairment of body function that incapacitates an essential part of the body. Your injury must also affect your ability to carry out everyday activities that you completed with ease before the accident. Your lifestyle before and after an accident and the circumstances of the accident determine your threshold for pain.
If the Insurance Company Offers Me a Release, I Must Sign It
In some cases, the other driver’s insurance company may ask you to sign a release form, relinquishing you and your insurance company’s right to sue them. In exchange, you will receive a settlement check.
If you accept an initial settlement offer from your insurance company, the amount may not cover the medical expenses for accident injuries you discover at a later date. If you sign the release without consulting a knowledgeable auto accident attorney, you may lose important legal rights by unknowingly waiving your no-fault insurance benefits.
It Doesn’t Matter Which Accident Attorney I Choose
Substantial research has shown that clients have better outcomes when they work with an experienced attorney. Skilled lawyers, like the team at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., know the legal system and have experience in handling injury cases. Some of the outcomes we’ve achieved for our clients are:
- $3.3 million to a motorist with severe brain injuries due to a defective Michigan highway
- $400,000 to a paraplegic woman in Monroe, Michigan, for a new home and attendant care expenses following an auto accident
- $80,000 to a Bay City grandmother following an auto accident that left her with a broken leg
We can negotiate with the insurance companies and represent you in court if necessary. It’s critical to select a personal injury lawyer who is licensed to practice in Michigan. Local attorneys understand state laws and can give you the representation you deserve.
Ask a Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer for Legal Advice
Speak with an auto accident attorney from a law firm with a track record of success in handling motor vehicle accidents. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we value your case and will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. During your free consultation, we can offer you legal advice based on general information about your claim and help you determine how to proceed.
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.