Car Accident Attorneys in Michigan
For those that have been in a car accident in Michigan, you know how difficult and distressing the entire experience can be. Recovering from the accident and trying to navigate the “no-fault” insurance landscape of Michigan seems to exasperate the already challenging circumstances. At the end of the day, a car accident claim is a complex process with many serious financial and legal ramifications. If you’re going to successfully resolve your injury claim, you need committed and seasoned representation – and the family of car accident lawyers at Sawan & Sawan have both.
PERSONAL INJURY PRACTICE AREAS
Were you injured in an accident? We can help.
Our family of personal injury lawyers can help if you were injured in an accident. We offer free initial consultations and charge no fee unless we obtain compensation for your accident.
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The Michigan State Police reported almost 313,000 total traffic crashes in Michigan in 2018 (the most recent year). Just around 55,000 of these Michigan car accidents caused injuries and 905 resulted in at least one fatality. The impact of accidents on Michigan familes is incalculable. While financial compensation is hardly sufficient to address the tragedy, you would understandably expect a full and fair financial settlement that factors in the economic outlays connected to the accident and addresses pain and suffering. The unfortunate reality is that many of those injured in car accidents learn that auto insurance companies focuses on their profits often times at the expense of the very people they insure.
This is the primary reason you need to secure dedicated and experienced representation if you or a loved one has been in an accident in Michigan. The no-fault laws of the State of Michigan make this even more important. Don’t end up without the compensation you deserve because the insurance companies exploit a simple mistake in filing the car accident claim or accept a low-ball offer. Sawan & Sawan is a family of accident lawyers and each and every client’s legal matter is personal to us. We don’t play games when it comes to insurance claims.
What Should I Do If I've Been in a Car Accident in Michigan?
If you’ve been in a car accident in Michigan, there are a number of tips you should consider right away. First and foremost, you should not leave the scene of the accident. Michigan law makes leaving the scene of an accident a criminal offense. If you or someone else involved has been injured, you should quickly call an ambulance. After making sure an ambulance has been called to address any medical treatment, you should turn your attention to the safety of others on the roads. One tip is to consider whether or not any of the vehicles involved are impeding other motorists. Generally, it is prudent to move a vehicle from the flow of traffic – if possible. Once the immediate safety of those involved and others on the road, make sure that someone informs the police by telephone. It is also important that a crash report is filed with the police.
A certain amount of information should be collected after the accident. This includes names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses to the accident (if there are any) or any other people that were a part of the accident. Additional information you should obtain from the scene includes photographs (usually taken by a cell phone camera) documenting things such as: any vehicle damage; marks made by tires; relevant aspects of the accident such as road obstructions; and importantly, any injuries. Remember, do not use your cell phone to take photographs if it is not safe for you and others on the road to do so as safety is the paramount consideration after an accident.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I'm in a Car Accident?
Technically, if you’re in an accident in Michigan, you are not required by the law to hire a lawyer. Other than this technical answer, it almost always makes sense to hire a lawyer. For starters, most firms, including ours, won’t charge you a penny unless we settle your case or win at trial. This means if we are unable to settle the claim or win at trial, you incur no cost whatsoever for our services. Aside from that, having a lawyer is critical if you’ve been in a accident. Particularly, with Michigan’s no fault insurance laws, you need a competent lawyer in your corner making sure you get all of the compensation owed to you under the policy. This might include complex calculations of medical expenses, wage loss or other facets of the policy. Additionally, you want to make sure that the insurance company stays honest and knows that if you aren’t made whole to the fullest extent of the law, you have a seasoned litigator in your corner to make things right. For those reasons, a countless others, you should always hire an accident lawyer if you’ve been in an accident.
How Much is My Auto Accident Worth?
Under Michigan law, every driver is required to have a no-fault insurance policy. It can be difficult to determine the value of your accident claim but most policies are required to follow a certain metric. Ultimately, the nature of this policy determines the financial value of an accident claim in Michigan. No fault insurance policies generally provide for the following types of benefits (meaning the insurance company will cover certain financial outlays resulting from the accident):
Pain and Suffering for Serious Injuries in Michigan
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state which impacts the rights that victims of car accidents in Michigan have after an injury. Typically, under the no-fault system in Michigan, if you are injured in a vehicle accident, you will have to make a claim for your damages to your own insurance company. There are legal requirements as to what your insurance company has to cover under your policy. The major portion of this coverage is typically personal injury protection benefits (and this usually includes medical bills). That being said, non-economic damages – such as pain and suffering – are not part of this benefit. This can leave people who have suffered horrible accidents in a position where they are not made whole for the additional damage caused other than the strict no-fault benefits under their policy and consistent with Michigan law.
There are, however, so-called “threshold” injuries in Michigan which are so severe that pain and suffering or other non-economic damages should be made available. These are defined under Michigan law as those injuries that result in “death, serious permanent disfigurement or serious bodily impairment.” If you or a loved one has suffered an injury of this nature, you may have to consider your legal options outside of the no-fault system. This usually is in the form of a third-party lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident for overage coverage outside of the no-fault damages. Michigan’s no-fault statutes permit an injured victim in an accident to recover noneconomic damages only if the person suffered “death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement” Michigan drivers remain subject to tort liability for noneconomic damages caused by the use of their vehicle if the injured person has suffered death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement.
Third party injury lawsuits in Michigan can be quite complex so it is best to speak with a Michigan accident attorney about your particular case. In general, the victim is going to have to put forth evidence to prove that the injury sustained exceeds the legal standard to allow for a third-party lawsuit. This necessitates a trial to present the facts about the injuries to a jury to determine whether it reaches the threshold as it has been defined and established under Michigan case law. One of the main cases governing this legal standard is the Michigan Supreme Court case of DiFranco v. Pickard. In the DiFranco case, the court describes the application of this standard as a multi-faceted legal challenge. The court put forth the following guidance when understanding this complex legal standard:
- The “serious impairment of body function” threshold requires the Plaintiff to prove that noneconomic losses arose out of a medically identifiable injury which seriously impaired a body function.
- The serious impairment standard must be submitted to a trier of fact when the evidence suggests reasonable minds could differ as to whether the standard is met.
- Juries should be instructed that the Plaintiff must prove that the injuries from the accident impaired one or more bodily functions and that it was serious.
- Factors in this determining should include: the extent of impairment, specific bodily function impaired, length of time of the impairment and treatment required.
- Determining whether an injury is sufficiently serious to be considered a serious impairment of body function is an objective approach.
- Plaintiffs must introduce evidence establishing that there is a physical basis for subjective complaints of pain and suffering
There are a lot more factors to consider from the DiFranco opinion but it is best to speak with a Michigan serious injury lawyer about your case as soon as possible. The lawyers at Sawan & Sawan offer free consultations to those suffering serious personal injury attorneys in the State of Michigan.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan