Our top-rated Michigan car accident lawyers can help you if you were injured in an auto accident today or any time in the past.
Choosing the best attorney for your case is your most important decision. It is the difference between winning a great settlement and receiving no settlement at all.
Winning Personal Injury Cases Since 1969
Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. is the smart choice for your case. Since 1969, our award-winning lawyers have represented accident injury victims with the highest degree of integrity and compassion.
We have the experience, knowledge, and skill to win your case. We settle more than 97% of our car accident cases for the maximum amount of compensation before ever going to court. We will do the same for you.
Why Should I Hire a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Today?
If your motor vehicle accident was today or in the past, it is smart to call an experienced car accident lawyer now.
It is important to have a lawyer begin an investigation as soon as possible after the crash. This is necessary to locate and interview eyewitnesses, photograph and examine the vehicle, and take pictures of the area of the accident. As time goes on, it is more difficult to find witnesses that can help your case and evidence, like surveillance video on nearby buildings, can be deleted.
Your insurance company may also be underpaying your no-fault benefits and you may not even know. There are strict time deadlines for filing insurance and personal injury claims. If you miss a deadline, your case will be destroyed forever. A delay may forfeit rights to a settlement in the future.
If you are unsure about hiring a lawyer, just call us to just learn more about your legal rights. There is absolutely no cost to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
We will answer all of your questions and tell you our opinions about your case, and if you hire us, we will start working immediately.
What Should I Do After a Michigan Auto Accident?
There are several things that you should do immediately after a car accident, which include:
- Notify the police of the accident, especially if they do not come to the accident scene.
- Provide the investigating officer with your driver’s license, proof of insurance, & vehicle registration.
- Make sure there is a written police report made after the accident.
- Get the driver’s license number and license plate number of the other vehicles in the crash.
- Take photographs on your phone of damage to your car and other vehicles.
- Get the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of all witnesses to the accident.
- Report the accident to your own auto insurance company after the accident.
- Request an Application for No-Fault Insurance Benefits from your insurance agent.
- Contact our experienced attorneys to begin pursuing your claims.
Do I Need to File A Police Report?
Michigan law requires drivers to report any accident involving a motor vehicle that causes more than $1,000 in property damage, results in death or injury, or damages an unattended vehicle or other property.
The accident must be reported but the driver may not be required to file a written report. However, many insurance policies require a written report to be filed within 24 hours of an accident in order to qualify for insurance benefits.
How Do I Get A Copy of My Police Accident Report?
You can get a copy of your traffic crash report (UD-10) from the police agency that investigated the accident.
For accidents investigated by the Michigan State Police, you can purchase your report online through the Traffic Crash Purchasing System. If you choose us as your law firm, we will get it for you.
When Should I Contact My Insurance Company?
You should contact your insurance company immediately after the accident to report any damage to the vehicle or personal injury claim. You will want an adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle and to assist you in arranging repairs.
If you were injured, you will need to file an application for no-fault insurance benefits with your own insurer. You should report all claims quickly so the insurance company does not try to deny your claims later on because they were not reported in a timely manner.
Many insurance policies require that you file a written police report and notify the insurance company within 24 hours of the accident. If you do not, you can lose your rights to certain benefits.
Your agent will tell you more about your coverage, including your property damage deductible amount and if you have car rental coverage. The agent should also arrange for a repair estimate and may even recommend a body shop to fix your damaged vehicle.
If you were injured in a Michigan accident, you are required to file an application for no-fault insurance benefits. This form preserves your right to payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits.
Our lawyers will help you with this process from start to finish. We will send the forms directly to the insurance adjuster and follow up to make sure all of the bills get paid.
Most Common Types of Automobile Accidents
While a car crash can happen from any number of circumstances, there are some common types throughout Michigan. These include, but are not limited to:
The pie chart below shows the distribution of car crash hazards from drivers in Michigan in 2018. Being unable to stop with clear distance is the leading hazard, accounting for 35% of all accidents. Speeding, both too fast and too slow, is responsible for more than 15% of all hazard accidents.
- Unable to stop in distance: 34.89%
- Failed to yield: 22.52%
- Speed: 15.15%
- Other: 6.57%
- Improper lane use: 6.53%
- Careless/negligent driving: 5.77%
- Disregard traffic control: 5.00%
- Improper backing: 3.58%
These incidents result in minor to severe and even fatal injuries. Proving liability and damages requires the help of our skilled car accident attorneys.
How Our Lawyers Help You After a Michigan Car Accident
The Michigan no-fault insurance laws are confusing. You need to know your rights after a Michigan car accident. When you choose us for your car accident case, we will:
- Get the accident report, witness statements, and full police investigation file.
- Get all of your medical records, hospital records, and treatment records.
- Deal directly with your auto insurance company adjuster for you.
- Provide you with advice on your Mini-Tort property damage claim.
- Submit all of your claims for medical bills, lost wages, and other no-fault insurance benefits.
- Communicate with the insurance adjuster to make sure all benefits have been paid.
- Determine the insurance policy limits for every possible insurer.
- File a lawsuit against the negligent driver that caused your accident.
- Sue the negligent driver and vehicle owner for your pain and suffering compensation.
- Negotiate with the insurance adjusters for you.
- Get you the best car accident settlement for your pain and suffering.
Should I Talk to an Insurance Adjuster After My Car Accident?
You should be very careful speaking to an insurance adjuster after your car accident.
Adjusters are trained to interrogate you and get information that could destroy your claim. They often record phone calls without your knowledge and then use those recordings to deny your benefits.
Some insurance adjusters can be helpful after an accident and it is OK to speak to them. This includes the property damage adjuster for car repairs and the no-fault insurance adjuster assisting you with your claims for medical bills and lost wages.
If you fail to cooperate with them, it can delay you from receiving payments under your policy.
However, you should never speak with the insurance adjuster for the driver that caused the accident. Those adjusters are looking for ways to avoid paying you a settlement.
You may accidentally say something that will ruin your case. An adjuster may even offer you a personal injury settlement, but be cautious because they will never offer you fair compensation and will rarely tell you the actual amount of insurance coverage available to pay your settlement.
Also, you should never sign any papers without having a lawyer review them first. You may be signing away your rights to important benefits forever. Once you sign away your rights you cannot get them back.
Who Pays the Property Damage to My Vehicle?
Michigan has the mini-tort law that determines who is responsible for paying the property damage to the vehicle involved in an accident. This is determined by the type of collision coverage on your vehicle and who was at fault for causing the accident.
In most cases, the driver that caused damage to your vehicle is responsible for only paying a maximum of up to $1,000.00 to you for a property damage claim. If your vehicle was hit by another car while it was parked and unoccupied, then you are not limited to the $ 1,000.00 maximum.
Michigan Car Accident Statistics
There were 312,798 total motor vehicle crashes in Michigan in 2018. This resulted in 75,838 reported injuries and 974 fatalities. This means that one out of every 10,263 people was killed in an auto crash and one out of every 181 was injured in an accident.
These numbers are staggering considering the improved safety of vehicles and the modern safety features that come standard on most vehicles.
The counties with the highest number of crashes were Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent, Genesee, Washtenaw, and Saginaw.
Alcohol was a factor in 9,786 and drug use in 2,636 crashes. The total number of people involved in accidents was 630,173 in 538,170 vehicles.
The bar chart below shows the number of car accidents in the state of Michigan from 2009-2018. The total number of car crashes each year has stayed consistent throughout the last decade, only increasing by 7.5% from 2009 to 2018.
- 2009: 290,978
- 2010: 282,075
- 2011: 284,049
- 2012: 273,891
- 2013: 289,061
- 2014: 298,699
- 2015: 297,023
- 2016: 312,172
- 2017: 314,921
- 2018: 312,798
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents oftentimes result in very serious and sometimes permanent injuries. Many times, the victim does not even realize the seriousness of the injury until days, weeks, and even months after the crash.
The most common types of injury after an accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), closed head injuries, and concussions.
- Damage to the spinal cord causing paralysis and quadriplegia.
- Herniated and bulging discs to the cervical neck and back.
- Broken and fractured bones, including ribs, the pelvic bone, and sternum.
- Arm and hand injuries, including degloving.
- Knee and leg injuries, including a fractured hip.
- Shoulder injuries, including a torn rotator cuff or labrum.
- Nerve damage, including paresthesia and loss of sensation.
- Scars and serious disfigurements.
- Psychological and emotional trauma.
- Whiplash and soft tissue damage.
Our legal team will get all of your medical records, reports, and x-rays to prove the full extent of your injuries. We provide these materials to the insurance adjuster along with our settlement demand letter to increase the amount of your compensation payout.
Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering Compensation?
Yes. You can sue the driver that caused the accident for your personal injuries suffered in the collision.
A driver who violates the traffic safety laws is deemed to be fault for the crash and legally liable for your injuries. Many times, the police do not actually witness the accident and issue a ticket to the wrong driver.
We can help you overcome this issue through our investigators interviewing other eyewitnesses, inspecting the damage to the vehicles, and by performing a more detailed investigation than the officer.
You can also sue the owner of the vehicle driven by the at-fault driver. Many times, the driver is not the owner of the vehicle and there may be multiple insurance policies available that add up to a much higher settlement.
If the vehicle was owned by a business or corporation, there may be a large commercial policy to pay your settlement.
When you sue the at-fault driver and owner of the vehicle for personal injury compensation, you can claim money damages for your pain and suffering, psychological damages, disability, and scars caused by the accident. These settlements are completely separate from your Michigan no-fault insurance benefits, so most injured accident victims get all of their medical bills and lost wages paid in addition to receiving a large personal injury settlement.
Can an Injured Passenger Sue the Driver for An Auto Accident?
Yes. Injured passengers can sue all drivers that were negligent in causing the accident. This includes the driver of the vehicle that the passenger was riding in at the time of the crash and all other vehicles responsible for causing the crash.
Many times, the injured passenger is a relative, co-worker, or friend of the negligent driver.
In passenger injury cases, the claim is made by the passenger against all at-fault drivers. There may be multiple drivers that were negligent and caused the passenger’s injury and all of them are legally responsible for the injuries.
Claims are often filed by one spouse versus another spouse, a child versus a parent, and a friend versus a friend. The insurance policy provides for coverage to any innocent person harmed by the negligent driver and an injured person should still pursue a claim, even if it is against a family member or friend.
An injured passenger should not feel any apprehension or personal guilt about filing a claim against a family member or friend. The claims are made against the insurance company and will not have a negative effect on the at-fault driver. Passenger injury claims often result in significant money settlements and should be pursued by the injured passenger.
Factors That Determine Michigan Car Accident Settlements & Compensation
There are a number of factors that determine the amount of a Michigan car accident settlement. Every case is different, so there is no set formula to determine the right amount of the settlement. There is also no “average settlement” or “typical settlement” for injury settlements.
Accident victims can claim a compensation payout for these types of damages:
- Pain and suffering: You are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering from the time of the accident, to the present and even going into the future.
- Fright and shock: This includes fright and shock just before and during the accident.
- Psychological injuries: Similar to emotional trauma, PTSD and depression from the psychological trauma of the crash and the painful emotions of going through the recovery process.
- Scars and permanent disfigurements: Significant money compensation can be recovered from scars, especially on the face, neck, and arms from the accident itself or surgical scars.
- Disability from work and activities: Losing time from employment, recreation, hobbies, and other activities can be devastating to your lifestyle.
- Loss of income and wages: Past, present, and future.
- Bystander claims: Witnessing a family member injured in an accident.
- Death: Filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Claims are made for the pain and suffering of the victim from the time of accident until death, for loss of companionship of the surviving family members, and for economic losses suffered by the family due to the death of a family member.
How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering Damages?
The amount of pain and suffering damages is determined by a number of factors including the seriousness of your injuries, the type, and length of medical treatment, and how the injuries have affected your ability to lead a normal life.
Other factors include the insurance policy limits, whether there was an excess loss of income and the permanency of your injuries.
Our attorneys will evaluate the impact that the accident has had on your life and work hard to get you the highest possible pain and suffering settlement.
Examples of Michigan Car Accident Settlements
- $15,000,000 auto negligence settlement for passenger became a quadriplegic.
- $7,000,000 fatal car accident settlement in an Oakland County car accident.
- $6,872,931 jury verdict for a Dearborn rear-end car accident causing herniated discs.
- $5,000,000 auto negligence settlement in an Interstate 475 crash near Flint.
- $2,325,000 auto crash jury verdict for passengers hit by a propane truck.
- $1,750,000 settlement in an auto accident lawsuit causing a fractured spine.
- $1,500,000 Macomb County auto accident settlement.
- $1,000,000 auto injury settlement for a truck driver injured in a T-bone auto accident.
- $950,000 settlement for a rear-end accident near Port Huron.
- $500,000 wrongful death settlement for a wrong-way crash in Lansing.
- $450,000 settlement in an Ann Arbor traumatic brain injury lawsuit.
We have won settlements and jury verdicts for thousands of crash victims over the last 50 years.
The surest way to achieve a high settlement is to hire the best personal injury lawyers for your case.
Do I Need A Lawyer to Settle My Auto Injury Claim?
You do not need a lawyer to settle your own car accident claim, but you should be aware of many serious mistakes that you can make without an experienced attorney on your side.
Firstly, the insurance adjuster may not disclose all of the potential insurance policies or limits that might apply to your claim. You may also not know the real value of your case and this could result in you settling for substantially less money than you could receive otherwise.
Secondly, there are potential liens that you might be responsible for paying back out of your settlement that you do not know about but will have to pay back at a later date.
Finally, you could be jeopardizing your no-fault insurance benefits by signing a Release when you settle your liability claim. This could have devastating consequences.
Insurance studies have shown that injury victims actually receive substantially larger settlements when they hire a lawyer for their case, even after paying the attorney fees. This is because insurance companies know that they cannot get low-ball settlements with experienced attorneys who know and understand the value of an injury.
One study showed that the majority of accident victims who hired a lawyer believed that they received a much greater settlement than if they tried to settle their own case.
How Do I Determine the Amount of My Accident Settlement?
There is no calculator or written schedule to determine the proper settlement amount for an auto accident case.
You may come across some methods on other lawyer websites to estimate your settlement, but these are outdated and no longer used by law firms or insurance adjusters. Additionally, those formulas were never used for Michigan accidents because of our unique no-fault insurance system.
Factors used to determine the amount of a settlement include the seriousness and permanency of the injuries and the effect of the injuries on the injured person’s life.
Other factors include the type of length of medical treatment, the amount of lost income, and the insurance policy coverage available for the accident, such as the policy limits for the negligent driver and whether other types of coverage, like whether the uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage existed at the time of the accident.
Our accident injury attorneys rely on our significant skill and experience to win our clients the highest possible settlements. We settle 97% of our cases for the maximum amount before ever going to court.
Insurance companies and their lawyers know our reputation for winning cases at trial and expect to pay our clients higher settlements than they pay to other law firms. This is one reason why we routinely get our clients higher settlements than most Michigan law firms.
How Long Does It Take to Get A Settlement From A Car Accident?
The length of time that it takes to get paid a car accident settlement is different in every case.
Some cases settle quickly because the injuries are substantial and the insurance policy limit is low, so the adjuster will pay the entire policy right away. However, most cases can take up to a year or more after the accident to get a settlement check because the victim is still recovering and the future effect of the injuries is unknown.
Beware of lawyers promising quick settlements.
In most cases, you should receive your settlement check within 30 days of signing the Settlement Release Agreement and sending it back to the insurance adjuster or defense attorney.
Cases involving minor children or wrongful death may take slightly longer because a court hearing must be held to have the settlement approved by the judge.
How Much Time is There to File a Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit?
Under Michigan law, the deadline to pursue legal action for personal injuries from an auto accident is three years from the date of the incident. This is known as the statute of limitations. While there may be exceptions — such as if the claimant was a minor at the time of the accident — any claim made after this timeframe may face dismissal.
Additionally, a claim for first-party no-fault insurance (PIP benefits) must be filed within one year of the date of the accident. Similarly, any lawsuit demanding payment for unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and other benefits must be filed within one year of the date that each bill was incurred or became payable.
There are also important deadlines for filing uninsured motorist claims and notifying the insurer about a potential claim. Similarly, strict deadlines apply for cases involving dangerous and defective roads.
Because these claims have differing and sometimes short deadlines — and because some of them have no exceptions to these time limits — it is important that an injured person seeking compensation act quickly.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire A Car Accident Attorney?
It does not cost anything to hire our top-rated car accident lawyers. We do not charge any fees to start your case and only get paid when you receive your settlement check. This is called a contingency fee agreement.
Under this arrangement, we also pay all of the case expenses for you and get a percentage of the settlement at the very end of the case when your check is received. The laws in Michigan set the maximum car accident contingency fee at 33.33% of the net settlement.
Be cautious of law firms that send you mail offering to handle your case at a lower percentage. Many of those will not help you with your no-fault insurance claims and are just looking to make a fee on a quick settlement.
You need a firm that will help you from start to finish and be available for questions after your case settles, not a firm that will collect a quick fee and ignore your calls.
Call us now to get started on your case. We have been in business for over 50 years and have the skill, experience, and integrity you need on your side to get the best possible outcome.
Michigan Car Accident References and Resources