Car crashes are unfortunately common throughout Michigan and can result in severe and even life-threatening injuries. However, if you or a loved one was injured in an automobile crash due to the reckless, careless, or malicious actions of another driver, you may benefit from retaining a compassionate Michigan car accident lawyer to discuss seeking compensation.
The attorney you hire to handle your case should have the experience in—and knowledge of—these specific types of injury lawsuits in order to assess your unique situation and decide how to proceed. It is also important that a potential claimant understands their legal rights, as well as which type of claim and lawsuits they should try to file. This is because there are two types of claims that the victim of a car wreck could pursue.
The first is a no-fault insurance claim to collect any benefits a claimant is entitled to after a crash. The other, however, is a civil lawsuit to try to hold a reckless driver accountable for a claimant’s damages. At Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a dedicated and seasoned attorney could help to discuss your case, review the circumstances of your accident, and work tirelessly to build an appropriate claim on your behalf.
Types of Automobile Accidents
While a car crash can happen from any number of circumstances, there are some types that are unfortunately common throughout the state. These include, but are not limited to:
Any of these incidents could result in minor to severe and even fatal injuries, as well as personal, financial, and professional losses. No matter the circumstances of a crash, however, a victim may have a legal right to pursue compensation for these damages. Determining this liability may be difficult without the aid of a skilled car accident attorney in Michigan.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Wrecks
Car crashes are often the result of a driver’s reckless or malicious behavior in Michigan. However, in other circumstances, a faulty part or defective design may result in an accident. Causes of car crashes include:
Pursuing Compensation Through a Car Crash Lawsuit
Every driver has a legal duty of care toward passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists. Therefore, any driver who violates this duty—or a traffic safety law—may be held responsible for a resulting accident and any associated injuries.
However, for a car crash lawsuit to recover damages, an injured plaintiff must be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not, that negligence occurred, including the at-fault driver’s breach of duty, and the resulting damages. Proving these steps alone may be complex for an underprepared or underrepresented claimant. An experienced Michigan car accident lawyer could help conduct an investigation, work to determine driver negligence, and whether the victim has a viable claim and lawsuit.
Sometimes, for example, a driver of a vehicle does not own the car but is instead borrowing it. Therefore, a person injured in a crash may also be able to sue the owner of the vehicle driven by the at-fault driver. Other times, a car may be covered under multiple insurance policies or owned by a business or corporation, which may elevate potential compensation.
Can an Injured Passenger Sue a Reckless Driver?
Any passenger injured by the recklessness of a driver may have legal recourse to pursue compensation in an auto accident claim. Many auto insurance policies include coverage for any innocent passenger harmed by a driver’s reckless behavior. However, as with other auto coverage, the calculated losses from a crash may not be fully covered by an insurance plan.
When the injured passenger is a relative, co-worker, or friend of the at-fault and reckless motorist, the case may be contentious or awkward for each party involved. In this situation, the guidance of a Michigan car accident lawyer may help to expedite the process and allow a victim to move on with their life.
When a Driver is Involved in a Solo Crash
Sometimes, only one vehicle is involved in a crash. This might be the result of the driver’s own negligence, or because of a deer, defective road condition, or a reckless motorist forced them off the roadway.
However, a person injured in a single-car wreck is still entitled to receive benefits under no-fault insurance. This is true for passengers of a solo-accident, as well. In fact, passengers may be able to make a claim against the driver or owner of the automobile for pain and suffering damages.
Child Injuries in Auto Accidents
When a child is injured in an auto accident, it is important for their parents to understand how to pursue compensation. Regardless of the circumstances of a crash, no-fault insurance covers anyone injured in an accident, including children. For children, this coverage extends beyond those who are passengers to include any child walking or playing outside. In these situations, a parent is able to pursue a no-fault insurance claim on their child’s behalf.
Furthermore, any adult relative living in the same home as a child can usually have their auto insurance coverage extend to the child. Furthermore, a skillful attorney could help to explain to concerned parents how their children might be able to recover compensation for their injuries and accident-associated medical bills. A skillful car crash lawyer could work with the parents of a child who was injured to assess their legal options in Michigan.
What are the Time Limits to File a Claim in Michigan?
Under state 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 and, 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. Due to this, anyone looking to file a claim may benefit from the counsel of a hardworking attorney.
Additionally, certain claims, such as those for uninsured motorists, first-party no-fault insurance, and PIP benefits, must be filed before this three-year period. Similarly, any lawsuit requesting compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and additional benefits must be filed within one year of the date that each bill was incurred or became payable.
Because these claims have differing and sometimes short deadlines—and because some of them have no exceptions to these time limits—it is advisable that any injured person seeking recovery act quickly.
Social Security Disability Benefits and Car Crash Claims
Sometimes, a severely injured plaintiff will suffer extensive losses, even after a successful claim for compensation. Under the No-Fault Act, outlined in Michigan Legislature §500.3107(1)(b), anyone who has suffered a work loss—defined as any income they would have been able to obtain if they were not injured—may be able to recover under this program. Often, a claimant who is disabled for a prolonged period of time is also entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
How a Legal Professional Could Help
After an accident, a victim is often naturally focused on their injuries and the resulting financial, personal, and professional losses. However, as time goes on, evidence may fade, and it could be difficult to find relevant witnesses or obtain supporting documentation, photos, and other information for an injury claim.
Special Needs Hero Nomination
This is why Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. is excited to announce their very first Special Needs Hero Nomination! We need your help finding a local special education teacher or worker that goes above and beyond to help their students learn and succeed. If you know a fantastic special needs teacher or worker that you would like to nominate, visit our nomination page!
Additionally, a person’s own insurance company may try to underpay them, leaving them unaware of the full potential compensation for their circumstances. By working with a seasoned and tenacious legal professional, a person injured in a Michigan car accident could rest assured that they have a valuable ally on their side. An attorney could, for example:
- Obtain an accident report, witness statements, and full police investigation file
- Get a victim’s medical records, hospital records, and treatment records
- Provide a victim with advice on their separate mini-tort property damage claim
- Submit all of an injured plaintiff’s claims for medical bills, lost wages, and other no-fault insurance benefits
- Negotiate and communicate with the insurance adjuster to make sure all benefits have been paid
- Determine the insurance policy limits from every possible insurer in a claim
- File a lawsuit against the negligent driver that caused the victim’s injuries, as well as any other at-fault parties
Call a Michigan Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in a car wreck, reach out to a Michigan car accident lawyer as soon as possible. However, after a crash, you may be traumatized and unable to work, leaving you feeling unsure of how to proceed as you recover from your injuries.
If another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you have a legal right to pursue compensation. A knowledgeable attorney could help investigate every element following a crash and guide you through each step of the claims process as you seek compensation. To begin working on your case, call a legal professional today.
Bikes for Kids Giveaway
The Bikes for Kids Giveaway has come to a close! Ten local kids received a brand new bike and helmet thanks to their parents, teachers, and mentors who nominated them. As bicycle accident attorneys, we understand the importance of wearing a helmet and we hope that this giveaway will teach kids what it means to be a safe bicyclist. These deserving children were selected based on their commitment to their community, their studies, or their current passion for bike safety in general. For more information, visit our event page.
Michigan Car Accident References and Resources