Important Steps After a Car Accident with Injuries in Michigan
Feb. 21, 2022
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in Michigan it can be devastating to your future. It is critical that you protect your financial future, your family and your health. In this article we explore some important steps that an injured victim should consider after the initial accident in light of the Michigan No Fault Insurance law. The Michigan No Fault Law requires your insurance company to make payment for such things as medical bills, attendant care, and lost wages regardless of fault. Additionally, under the Michigan No Fault Act, a person can sue or make a claim against the at fault drivers insurance company for pain and suffering if they are seriously injured in the crash. Thus it is important to protect and preserve your rights after the accident.
This is often times referred to as the crash report. The officer or officers investigating the accident will prepare a post crash report. In this report it will contain observations about such things as driving conditions, location, weather, driver observations, witness statements, medical injuries or complaints as well as conclusions about fault. In serious injury cases they will take photographs and conduct accident reconstruction. These reports are not always accurate, although they are heavily relied upon by the insurance companies. They can be challenged in court because they are not actual witnesses to the accident and may contain subjective conclusions. They are business documents and do contain important information. Thus, it is important to get a copy of the crash report as soon as possible check for inaccurate or inconsistent information. If the report contains wrong information, your attorney will hire an investigator to interview witnesses and conduct his own investigation.
I tell clients all the time after an accident that you are married to your medical records. Your health is your most valuable asset. In an accident your adrenaline takes over and you may feel pain but not think it is serious. This mental state happens all the time. In this case, you should immediately seek medical treatment. The doctors will document the location of your pain conduct x-rays and other tests to determine your condition. In many cases, victims of an accident experience more pain and symptoms days after the accident. I currently have a client that was diagnosed in the hospital with one rib fracture. Follow up visits for my revealed 5 fractured ribs. The importance of follow up visits and treatment cannot be understated. If your injuries are readily apparent, such as fractures or head injury, your obligation to yourself is to follow your entire treatment regimen.
Report Your Claim to Your Insurance
This may seem obvious, but your insurance has several obligations after an accident. They will have to pay your medical bills, property damage and in some cases lost wages just to start. Insurance companies conduct their own investigation after an accident. They will get the police report and take initial information over the phone and assign you an individual claim number. Your claim number should be given to all your medical providers. They will also assign an insurance adjuster to your file. Your insurance adjuster will be in charge of investigating and paying your claim. The adjuster will also ask you fill out a claim form. The claim form will include a section for injuries. Since the accident just happened the injury section should broadly contain any pain or potential problem that the doctors that your doctors have discovered.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
You need a lawyer if you are seriously injured in the accident. This is referred to as a bodily injury claim. The lawyer is hired on a contingency fee basis to get you compensation for your pain and suffering because of your serious injuries. A contingency fee means the attorney does not get paid unless you make a recovery for your bodily injury claim. This is a separate claim from dealing with your insurance company. Your attorney is hired to negotiate with the insurance company for the other party that is at fault and you suffered serious injuries. Your attorney must establish not only the negligence of the other driver, but additionally that you have suffered injuries that satisfy the Michigan statutory threshold. The process by which your lawyer will prove the claim is complicated. Your lawyer will collect and analyze medical records, hire accident investigators if necessary, hire expert doctors if necessary and negotiate on your behalf. The process of negotiation involves the attorney incorporating the rules of Michigan No Fault into a brief or demand using the injuries and the changes in your life since the accident. Even if the injuries and liability seem apparent, a lawyer is necessary to achieve the compensation you deserve.
Do Not Speak to Other Driver’s Insurance Company
This goes along with hire a car accident lawyer. Once you hire a car accident lawyer, you will be told not to speak to the at fault driver’s insurance company. That insurance company does not want to pay your claim or at least pay as little as possible. Thus, they will try to get your statement early in hopes that you did not hire a lawyer. They will want to record your statement. Then, for instance, they will try to get you to commit to the extent of your injuries. This can be problematic because you do not really know the extent of your injuries shortly after the accident. They will also try to question aspects of your driving in an attempt to show you were negligent. Then later in the negations or trial they will use the recording against you. Never engage or try to discuss settlement. You will regret it because you will later have no credibility. Your attorney will deal directly with the other driver’s insurance company regarding all these issues.
The bottom line is that Michigan No Fault has complicated rules and is written in such a way that in order to get the compensation you deserve you need to hire a skilled car accident lawyer.