The injuries you’ve suffered due to a car accident is just the beginning of what could be a long and challenging process, including your medical care, filing an insurance claim, determining who is at fault, and most importantly, getting closure and moving on.
Taking on the insurance company and the legal process to recover all you’ve lost in your accident can be intense. Automobile accidents can bring up a variety of questions, such as who is at fault? Who pays for damage to my car? Who will pay for my medical bills? How much should I get for pain and suffering? Can I ask the insurance company to reimburse me for lost wages?
An experienced Detroit car accident attorney can help negotiate chaotic and confusing insurance claims and settlements. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means they’ll only get paid if there is a successful resolution to your claim.
If you’re injured in a car accident, then hiring a seasoned Detroit car accident lawyer could ensure a much better settlement.
Detroit, MI Car Accident Causes
A lot of Detroit, MI traffic accidents are caused by the decisions drivers make behind the wheel. In fact, according to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 94% of all road accidents are caused by human error.
At some point, most drivers have found themselves guilty of committing some of the most common causes of traffic accidents. However, improving the awareness of these common car crash causes could further influence drivers to be more cautious on the road. Avoiding the following common causes of car crashes can protect you and other travelers:
One of the main causes of car accidents is distracted driving. When a driver is texting, talking on the phone, grooming, reading, or eating while driving, the brain will divert attention away from the road into these distractions, which can be dangerous. The National Safety Council found that there were 2,841 fatal accidents involving distracted drivers in 2018.
The Center for Disease Control reported that one in three traffic fatalities in the U.S. involves a drunk driver. Drunk driving is responsible for 29 deaths per day. However, educational efforts, ignition interlocks, laws, and mass media campaigns have consistently lessened the toll each year.
The top causes of speeding-related accidents include running late, keeping up with traffic, or unintentionally driving over the speed limit. The World Health Organization reported that speeding increases your risk of accident correlatively, and speeding by less than one MPH raises your risk of crashing by 3% and the rate of fatality by 5%.
Running Red Lights
About 40% of car accidents occur at intersections, and the primary cause is running a red light or a stop sign. Intersections are already dangerous, and failure to adhere to traffic regulations could be devastating.
Reckless and Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving typically includes a combination of traffic offenses that can endanger other drivers or property, including speeding, switching lanes too quickly, blatantly disregarding others’ safety, and purposely failing to take cautionary measures.
Drowsiness and Fatigue
Sleepiness, drowsiness, and exhaustion will impair a driver’s ability to competently respond, react, or discern conditions on the road. As a driver becomes more fatigued, their reaction speed diminishes, increasing their risk of car accidents.
Other Detroit Car Accident Causes
Not every accident is caused by driver error, and sometimes the safest, most defensive drivers become victims. The following factors could have a big influence on whether or not you are involved in a Detroit car accident:
Road and Weather Conditions
Poorly maintained roadways increase the risk of a tire malfunction and cause drivers to brake more abruptly or frequently. Poor roadway conditions sometimes are all that is necessary to cause an accident.
Slippery roads caused by rain, snow, or ice affect your tires’ traction and could cause vehicles to slide off the road or into other objects or vehicles. Fog, water levels, and wind speed have also contributed to weather-related accidents.
Defective Equipment and Vehicles
Manufacturers have become very efficient at assembling hundreds and hundreds of parts to keep cars running safely and smoothly. However, parts are sometimes defective and unable to provide the support necessary to keep your vehicle safe. In these instances, accidents can be caused by these malfunctioning parts. In fact, many wrongful death cases result from defective or poorly assembled parts.
No matter what the causes of your accident, it’s important to take the right steps to protect yourself and your property is involved in an accident. A Detroit car accident lawyer may be a precious resource in your quest to recover and recuperate your losses associated with the accident.
Steps To Take After A Detroit Car Accident
Car accidents are stressful, and sometimes the best way to handle the situation is to breathe deeply while remaining as calm and composed as you can. Crashes typically increase your adrenaline, which can mask your injuries.
Carefully check your body, as well as any passengers in your vehicle, for signs of trauma before doing anything else. In the event of a Detroit car accident, it could be beneficial for your claim if you follow these steps:
1 Contact Emergency Services
Michigan laws don’t require you to report your car accident to the police, but some states do. However, if there are injuries, Detroit car accident lawyers recommend that you call 911.
This call will prompt emergency responders, including paramedics and police, which is extremely important for properly addressing your injuries.
The police will ask you to make a statement. The information you divulge in your statement will be used by the law enforcement officer to create the police report. That police report may be used in your claim to determine who is at fault for the accident, so be clear, concise, and report accurately. It’s important that you do not admit fault to law enforcement, even if you feel partially responsible for the accident.
2 Exchange Information
If you’re physically able, exchange insurance information with the other drivers. It’s essential to collect information from the other drivers, but you want to avoid discussing blame and guilt. Write down anything potentially useful about the other vehicles, including make, model, color, and license plate number.
While exchanging information, you’ll want to check on the well-being of others, but be careful and avoid apologizing for the injuries. Apologizing for an incident can be misconstrued as you taking responsibility for the accident.
3 Gather Evidence
If there were witnesses to your accident and you think their testimony will support your claim, kindly ask for their contact information, including name, phone number, and address. Witnesses may be reluctant to get involved, but their testimony could spell the difference in whether or not you win your claim, so ask anyway.
Safely take pictures or videos of the accident scene. The police may also take photos or video, but don’t let that stop you from procuring your own. Your Detroit, MI personal injury law firm may need the evidence you collect to win your claim.
4 Medical Treatment
Minor injuries like nerve damage caused by whiplash may seem trivial at first but evolve into something more severe. Getting medical attention will help you heal and create an important record of your injuries for your accident claim.
5 Contact Your Insurer
Your insurance policy may have limits on when you can submit a compensation claim, so as soon as it is safe for you to do so, you may want to contact them. Your insurer may ask you follow-up questions about the accident, and your responses should coincide with the information you provided to the police.
6 Speak With A Detroit Car Accident Lawyer
It’s vital to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able, especially if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. Experienced car accident attorneys will begin helping your cause immediately. Also, Detroit Michigan injury lawyers are familiar with those Michigan state statutes that can affect your claim.
Advantages of Detroit Car Accident Lawyers
Seeking legal advice from a car accident attorney after your motor vehicle accident could help you to secure the best possible settlement. In accident cases, Detroit car accident lawyers can advise you on the statutes of limitations that could bar you from filing a lawsuit against the negligent party. For most accident claims, the Michigan statute of limitations is not a factor, as most crash victims file well before the deadline. It is, however, always a good idea to be proactive.
Michigan Statute of Limitations
In many states, you must file your lawsuit within two years of your car accident or be forever prohibited from bringing a suit. Michigan’s civil statute of limitations allows two years for personal injuries, and your car accident lawyers can inform you about any special exceptions to the statute of limitations.
Your motor vehicle accident attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Car accident lawyers can use their experience with similar cases to know how best to mitigate any possible defenses raised by the other side. Once your case begins, your lawyer will play a pivotal role in negotiating, settling, and trying your case.
Levels the Playing Field
Although most personal injury cases settle out of court, the threat of legal action offers strong leverage when negotiating a fair settlement. Having an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law evens the playing field. Insurance companies have vast resources, and a seasoned attorney can help you prepare.
Detroit car accident lawyers have dealt with all varieties of personal injury cases and equally as many insurance companies. They can use their experience to obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim, including gathering police reports, witness statements, medical records and bills, and employment and lost wage information.
Be Your Own Advocate
A Detroit car accident lawyer can organize the evidence and prepare a settlement demand letter for the insurance company on your behalf. If you cannot settle your accident case, your attorney can take care of filing the necessary paperwork to start a court case.
Having someone knowledgeable handling the hard work eases the burden on you.
Detroit car accident lawyers act on your behalf and for your benefit negotiating with the automobile insurance company and in court when trial becomes necessary. Having an experienced and articulate advocate working for you is imperative to obtaining a reasonable and fair resolution in your car accident case.
Negotiating With Others For You
Your auto accident lawyer will be your line of communication with insurance adjusters and all other parties involved. An adept motor vehicle accident lawyer knows how much your case could be worth to conduct negotiations that arrive at the best outcome.
Insurance adjusters hold the money, so it is critical for motor vehicle injury lawyers to foster good communications and good relationships with adjusters. Typically, personal injury lawyers fare better at settling an auto accident than those without an attorney.
Determining Fault in a Detroit Car Accident
Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is normally determined after deciding who was careless or acted negligently. Every collision is different, and determining fault often requires expert experience and a thorough investigation.
Michigan No-Fault Laws
Michigan is a no-fault state, meaning that your car insurance will cover your injuries, no matter who was at fault for the collision. Recovery in a personal injury protection (PIP) claim is limited and won’t compensate you for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, or loss of enjoyment of life.
Some states allow policyholders to file a third-party claim when their injuries and damages meet certain criteria or exceed PIP limits. Michigan’s no-fault laws limit third-party lawsuits to those plaintiffs who suffered severe injuries.
If you’re looking to pursue non-economic damages in your auto accident, you can recover compensation for your entire claim when the accident left you with a disability or severe impairment. You and your legal representation are then assigned the burden to prove that the other party was negligent before you can receive compensation.
Michigan’s Comparative Negligence Law
Following a crash, an injured individual can file for recovery of their damages against all negligent parties. However, under Michigan’s comparative negligence law, the damages awarded to an injured claimant may be reduced to match their portion of liability for a crash.
The portion of liability will typically be determined by the jury. So, if a claimant is found to be 45 percent at fault, they would still recover 55 percent of the awarded damages. For example, if a jury verdict is for $10,000, but the injured person is determined to be 45 percent negligent, the victim would receive a total of $ 5,500.
Settlements and Insurance Companies
The amount of your potential settlement can vary substantially depending on the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred and the facts of your case. Your medical bills, lost wages, and quotes from mechanics will be used to determine the cost of your auto accident and what the insurers are supposed to pay.
It’s very important to remember that the insurers have teams of lawyers and adjusters that will begin evaluating your case immediately. That’s why accident attorneys recommend retaining a personal injury attorney immediately when involved in motor vehicle accidents.
FAQ About Detroit Car Accidents
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident?
The answer is short and simple: You should hire a Detroit car accident attorney when you are injured in a car accident in the state of Michigan. Insurance companies will start working on devaluing your claim as soon as they’re notified of your accident and can be very successful.
When you hire adept injury lawyers, you could gain the upper hand. In lots of cases, it costs you nothing to have a trained professional handle every aspect of your car accident case. After your car crash, sit down for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer to seek the compensation you deserve.
Can I get a settlement for a car accident without a lawyer?
If you’re not injured, comfortable gathering necessary evidence and documents, and prepared to engage in the settlement negotiation process, then you could handle your car accident claim by yourself.
If you opt to handle your claim, then insurance carriers will offer you a minimal settlement just to end things quickly. Some insurers make offers within days after the collision just to take advantage of victims. However, during this time, you are yet to fully understand the extent of your injuries or your need for future medical treatment, and accepting a settlement could be a mistake.
Sadly, many individuals take minimal settlements after executing a release of the negligent party. An unrepresented claimant lacks the experience to properly negotiate with an insurance carrier, and that’s why it’s important to proceed with caution when representing your case.
If you’re looking for the best possible outcome, then you may want to consider a free consultation with a Michigan law professional specializing in the practice areas surrounding your accident. Choose a lawyer with experience recovering non-economic damages like pain and suffering and economic damages like your medical bills and lost wages. Many of the more experienced lawyers handle wrongful death lawsuits, which may be an additional litmus test in your selection process.
Why are police reports important?
Typically after a car accident, a police officer or some other member of local law enforcement will come to the scene, especially when there are injuries. Officers at the scene usually make a written accident report.
Sometimes these police reports offer the officer’s opinion on who violated a specific traffic law and that the violation caused the accident. It may also report that the officer issued a citation. Other times, the report only mentions negligent driving without reporting any violations that caused the accident.
The police report of a traffic law violation that notes careless driving by the defendant will serve as evidence that demonstrates how the other party was at fault.
What are the types of damages in a car accident claim?
Damages refer to the monetary compensation awarded to the victim of a car accident in a settlement or verdict. These damages can be separated into the following three broad categories:
Economic damages are calculable costs incurred as a result of the wreck. In automobile accident cases, economic car accident damages available to the victim may include medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, vehicle repair costs and personal property damages, and rental car costs.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that cannot be easily calculated and get evaluated by a jury in a lawsuit. Victims may be awarded non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, emotional distress, disability or disfigurement, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages may be awarded when the at-fault party’s actions were found to be especially reckless, egregious, or intentional. Punitive car accident damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer.