A car accident, even a minor one, is a harrowing experience. When someone (or more than one person) is severely hurt, the consequences are far more devastating. After a crash, most victims are not thinking about their legal rights or the compensation they may be entitled to. However, Michigan has strict filing deadlines for accident claims, and the clock starts immediately. That’s why it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyers as soon as possible.Do You Have a Case?
A knowledgeable auto accident attorney will help you navigate the complex legal process required to recover the benefits you deserve. A lawyer will file all the necessary paperwork, obtain relevant records and documents, interview witnesses and perform a multitude of other services.
Additionally, an experienced attorney will represent you in court if your case proceeds to trial. Most importantly, a lawyer will protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance companies or at-fault driver(s). When you have a good lawyer on your side, your case is far more likely to succeed.
If you are injured in a car accident, there are several reasons to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. First, Michigan has strict time limits, called statutes of limitations, for filing personal injury claims, including car accidents.
If you are injured in a crash, you must file a claim within one year to receive Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits under your No-Fault policy. These benefits include medical bills, attendant care and mileage to and from medical appointments. In addition, you are entitled to 85% of your lost wages and $20/day for replacement services for up to three years.
Further, to file a claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, you have up to three years from the date of the accident. In the event of a serious injury, these damages can reach six or seven figures. However, plaintiffs who miss this deadline will forfeit the right to sue the party who was responsible for the crash, thereby missing out on significant compensation.
In addition, there are exceptions to these deadlines for minors, military personnel, mentally incapacitated individuals, and survivors of individuals killed in a car accident. Knowledgeable car accident lawyers will be able to start your case right away so you don’t miss out on the compensation you’re entitled to.
Finally, it takes an extensive amount of information to build a winning case. A lawyer will need to gather and review medical records, interview witnesses and analyze police reports and other substantiating evidence. It may also be necessary to obtain testimony from physicians and other expert witnesses. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner they can begin – while evidence is fresh and witnesses are still available.
While some plaintiffs choose to handle their own claims, it’s not recommended, especially if you are seriously injured. Here are some of the many reasons why hiring a lawyer for car accidents is the best way to get the settlement you deserve.
Most people are not thinking clearly after a serious car crash. Therefore, you may be more likely to accept a hasty and often low-ball insurance settlement.
This can be true of your own insurance company as well as the other driver’s. Your lawyer will be on your side from day one, fighting to make sure you receive the maximum amount possible.
The Michigan No-Fault system was always confusing, and the recent reforms have made it even more so. Knowledgeable car accident lawyers understand the law and how the new changes may affect your case.
In addition to medical benefits, seriously injured victims are often entitled to considerable compensation for intangible damages such as pain and suffering. However, plaintiffs must meet the new standards for “threshold injuries” in addition to proving the other party was at fault. A skilled lawyer will help you recover the maximum amount of compensation.
Studies show that plaintiffs who are represented by experienced car accident lawyers receive larger verdicts and settlements than those who represent themselves.
Here are some examples of situations where the recent No-Fault reforms may affect the way auto accident claims are resolved.
For those who have chosen to retain their lifetime unlimited PIP medical benefits, their necessary medical expenses will be covered for as long as necessary from their own insurance carrier. However, this is not the case for motorists who choose a limited PIP medical coverage option ($500,000, $250,000, or $50,000 for Medicaid recipients). If someone with limited PIP medical coverage is injured, their insurance will not cover medical bills that exceed the policy limits.
Under the new law, drivers who cause an accident have a far greater risk of being sued. Suppose a motorist causes an accident that seriously injures another person who has limited Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage. It is probable that the victim’s medical bills will far exceed their PIP medical benefits.
In those situations, the injured party is likely to sue the at-fault driver for damages, including the excess medical bills. The at-fault driver could risk losing their savings and other personal assets if they have insufficient liability insurance.
An accident victim may be entitled to non-economic damages, which are awarded in instances of severe bodily injury. Also known as “third-party” damages, the most common of these is known as pain and suffering.
In addition, the law requires a victim to suffer a “threshold injury” in order to sue for non-economic damages. This is defined as “death, serious impairment of a body function or permanent serious disfigurement.”
While there is no “one size fits all” amount, car accident victims can receive settlements as high as several million dollars. These cases usually involve crashes where someone is killed or catastrophically injured. The degree of negligence on the part of the at-fault driver can also play a role. For example, if the accident occurred because the driver was drunk or texting on a cell phone, the settlement is likely to be higher.
It is notable that all settlements, regardless of the serious nature of the injuries, are limited by the amount of liability insurance the negligent driver has, even in catastrophic cases. A case worth a million dollars wont’t settle for that amount if the liability limits of the negligent are less than a million.
A reputable accident lawyer will not charge any up-front fees to take your case. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means they don’t collect their fees (typically one-third of the verdict or settlement) until your case is resolved. In addition, most accident lawyers charge for out-of-pocket expenses such as obtaining and copying medical records. However, in most cases, plaintiffs do not have to pay these costs before they receive their settlement.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right auto injury attorney is simple.Do You Have a Case?
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.
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