How to Determining Liability in a Michigan Car Crash
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car crash in Michigan, you will likely be overwhelmed with handling your recovery and healing and filing your no-fault insurance claim.
Because Michigan is a no-fault state, many car crash victims can get the financial support they need through their car insurance provider. However, auto accident victims with serious and catastrophic injuries are often not offered fair or adequate compensation to cover all their losses and have to pursue a civil lawsuit.
Determining liability and navigating the claims process in a car accident in Michigan is complex. Working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is recommended to ensure you get a fair settlement for your injuries.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows what key evidence to gather to support your claim. They can investigate the accident, pursue a claim on your behalf, and guide you through the legal process.
The Basics of Comparative Fault
You must prove the driver’s liability before you submit your claim by demonstrating the following:
- The driver owed a duty of care to drive responsibly
- They failed to fulfill that duty through negligent behavior
- You sustained injuries and damages as a result
The modified comparative negligence law in Michigan allows the jury to reduce damages based on the percentage of fault. If the court finds you liable for 10% of the accident, you receive 90% of the compensation.
You can claim compensation even if you are up to 50% at fault for the accident. However, as outlined in MCL section 600.2959, you are barred from recovering economic damages if your fault percentage exceeds 51% in an accident. You also do not receive any non-economic damages.
Can I File a Claim for Non-Economic Damages?
You must have a threshold injury to receive damages for your pain and suffering. To prove your threshold injury, you must demonstrate that you sustained a serious or permanent impairment of a vital body function. There must also be a significant change in your quality of life due to your injury.
With the help of your lawyer, you can pursue compensation from the negligent driver’s insurer. The evidence you submit should demonstrate the extent of your injuries and their effect on your life.
Evidence Needed to Prove Liability in a Car Crash
Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. use the following sources to determine who is at fault for the accident:
A police report contains essential details about the other motorist’s negligence. This will help your lawyer petition the case with their insurance company. The report includes information for your lawyer to start investigating your case, such as:
- Type of car collision
- Insurance and contact information of all drivers
- Diagram of the car’s positions in the accident
- Any citations for traffic law violations
- Officer’s opinion of fault in the accident
- Statements from other witnesses, such as other drivers and pedestrians
The report can also include any field sobriety or breathalyzer tests. Your lawyer can use the test results to see if the driver was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time of the accident.
A witness’s account of events can be valuable in proving liability. They may have witnessed the driver driving aggressively or texting before the crash. The attorney can interview all witnesses and ask them if they know other witnesses who saw the accident.
They can also ask the witnesses if they have additional records to support their testimony, such as smartphone video footage and photos.
Your lawyer might use surveillance videos obtained from local businesses to help prove that the other driver was responsible for causing an accident. Video footage can help show what happened before and after the collision. For instance, these cameras might show the negligent driver speeding through a school zone before they hit you.
If other drivers witnessed your accident, your lawyer can use the police report to locate them and find out if they have dashcam footage. Their dashcam videos can identify other drivers who may have caused the accident and contributed to your injuries.
If you suspect the other driver was distracted by their phone, your lawyer can look at their phone records. They can subpoena the other driver’s phone provider and find out if the driver was calling or sending text messages before the accident.
What Other Evidence Can Establish Fault in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you sustained severe injuries after your accident, you could rely on your medical records and bills to prove them. Your auto accident lawyer can highlight the severity of your injuries and the treatments you need to recover.
Regardless of whether you have visible injuries, you must seek urgent medical attention following a vehicle accident to ensure that you receive proper medical care. Many injuries, like brain and spinal trauma, may not be immediately apparent, and without the correct documentation, you may be unable to file a claim.
The lawyer can ask for your medical records, such as:
- Doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries
- Surgeries and follow-up care
- Medical test results such as MRIs and bloodwork
- Documentation of hospital admissions and visits
- Physical therapy notes and documentation
- Out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions and assistive devices
Your lawyer needs to obtain this information to reduce your liability in the accident. For instance, the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster may argue your injuries stemmed from a pre-existing condition. The medical records can show the accident caused your injuries and disprove that other health conditions are to blame.
Expert Medical Witness Testimony
Your lawyer may require an expert medical witness to evaluate your medical records and determine the severity and cause of your injuries. A medical expert witness may offer insight in court into how much pain and suffering, medical treatment, and rehabilitation may cost you.
Why Hire an Experienced Michigan Auto Accident Attorney
Our senior partner, Eileen Kroll, is trained as a registered nurse and can provide medical advice regarding your injury in a car crash. Her healthcare background allows Eileen to review your medical records and explain the treatments you may need, such as surgery and physical therapy, and their projected outcomes.
Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. has the resources and decades of experience to investigate your accident claim and determine liability for the accident. Our attorneys have a track record of helping clients recover damages:
- $80,000 for a Bay City woman who sustained a broken leg from a car accident
- $400,000 in excess of no-fault insurance benefits for a woman with a paraplegic injury
- $3.3 million for an auto accident victim with a brain injury due to a defective roadway
Let an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Help You With Your Claim
If you or a loved one are involved in the accident, speak with the personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. We can help you understand your legal options in a free consultation.
We can help you get compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs through your no-fault auto insurance company. You do not have to prove fault for these claims.
Our law firm can also help you file a claim against the at-fault party in your accident. If successful, a civil lawsuit can alleviate your financial hardship and compensate you for the emotional and physical damages you have suffered.
In the unfortunate circumstances of losing a loved one, we can help you seek support for your loss by filing a wrongful death claim. This holds the person or parties responsible for covering your lost wages, funeral expenses, loss of inheritance, and other damages.
Because every case is unique and must be approached differently, our personal injury attorneys will assess the circumstances of your accident to determine liability in a complimentary consultation.
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 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
RESULTS-DRIVEN TRACK RECORD
Medical Malpractice / Birth Injury
A young couple from Monroe, Michigan, was awarded a $15.8 million verdict as the result of their baby son, Jason, being inflicted with Cerebral Palsy as the result of an error during the final stages of a labor.
Result: $15.8 Million
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death
Oakland County, Michigan
While in the hospital a mother of three was not properly treated for a closed-head injury causing her untimely death.
Result: $1 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Brain Injury
A Livonia pedestrian recovered $1.4 million when he was struck by a commercial van resulting in a traumatic brain injury in Redford, Michigan.
Result: $1.4 Million
Medical Malpractice / Misdiagnosis
Wayne County, Michigan
Patient suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage when a hospital failed to recognize internal bleeding and treatment was delayed for more than 14 hours.
Result: $9 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Tuscola County, Michigan
A Tuscola County jury awarded $3.3 million to a severely brain injured motorist as the result of a defective Michigan highway.
Result: $3.3 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site Injury
A seventeen-year-old construction worker suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall in Flint, Michigan, and was awarded $1.25 million.
Result: $1.25 Million
Wayne County, Michigan
Middle-aged woman suffered severe disfiguring facial burns from a simple surgical procedure.
Result: $1.9 Million
Medical Malpractice / Birth Trauma
Child developed cerebral palsy with developmental delays due to lack of oxygen and brain injury during labor and delivery.
Result: $3.8 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site/Workplace Injury
A Westland construction worker recovered $1.5 million after sustaining a traumatic brain injury while on a construction site in Detroit, Michigan.
Result: $1.5 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Truck Accident
A Marlette, Michigan, family reached a $1.3 million settlement in the traffic death of their 5-year-old son when they were struck by a semi truck.
Result: $1.3 Million
Medical Malpractice/Cancer Misdiagnosis
The misdiagnosis of breast cancer resulted in a Redford, Michigan, woman recovering $225,000.
A construction worker redeemed his worker’s compensation case for $125,000 in Detroit, Michigan.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
A paraplegic woman from Monroe, Michigan, recovered Michigan no-fault benefits including the purchase of a new home and attendant care in excess of $400,000.
Medical Malpractice/Birth Injury
Brighton, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan
A Brighton family recovered $1.3 million and a Detroit family recovered $900,000 as the result of birth injuries and medical malpractice to their children.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Bay City, Michigan
A Bay City grandmother was awarded $80,000 following an auto accident resulting in a broken leg.