Being in an accident can leave victims and their families overwhelmed with questions. We’ve compiled this collection of frequently asked questions and answers about filing injury claims after accidents in Michigan.
- Personal Injury FAQs
- Car Accident FAQs
- Truck Accident FAQs
- Motorcycle Accident FAQs
- Bicycle Accident FAQs
- Brain Injury FAQs
Personal Injury FAQs
The attorneys at Christensen Law are always happy to help our clients understand more about their claims. That’s why we’ve answered some of the most common Michigan personal injury law questions below.
Is there a time limit on filing an injury claim in Michigan?
Yes, there is a time limit on filing an injury claim in Michigan. It’s known as the statute of limitations. According to Michigan Statute 600.5805, you have three years to file your claim. If you don’t file within that time frame, you lose the opportunity to file a claim at all in Michigan.
Can I get compensation if I was partially at fault for my injury?
You can still receive monetary damages for your injury if you’re partially to blame for it. Under Michigan’s modified comparative negligence rule, damages are reduced if you are found partially to blame for your injuries; if you’re found to be 50 percent or more at fault, however, no compensation will be awarded.
If you don’t think you’re 100 percent blameless in your injury, don’t worry— a Detroit personal injury lawyer can still work to get you fair compensation.
What are economic and non-economic damages?
Economic and non-economic damages refer to the ways this accident has affected you. Economic damages refer to your monetary losses, such as lost income, medical expenses, cost of physical therapy, and cost of a caregiver. Non-economic refers to losses that didn’t cost you financially, but rather cost you emotionally, physically, and mentally.
These intangible damages might deal with factors like the length of your recovery time or the amount of mental anguish you’ve endured because of your injuries.
After the first three years of wage loss and replacement service payments from your no-fault insurance, you are entitled to damages only for pain and suffering. Michigan residents must meet a certain threshold of severity in order to file a personal injury suit in the first place.
Will I have to go to court for a personal injury claim?
Most of the time, no, you will not have to go to court, although trial is occasionally necessary. The majority of cases are able to settle out of court. If you do need to go to trial, the process isn’t nearly as dramatic as it looks on TV. A skilled Detroit personal injury lawyer will walk you through every step of the process.
Do I have to settle for workers comp if I was hurt at work?
No, you do not have to settle for workers’ comp. Employers are obligated by law to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. If an employer is in violation of OSHA rules and the workplace is therefore unsafe, the employer could be found negligent in an injury lawsuit.
You could also be entitled to damages beyond workers comp payouts, which are generally very small, if a third party other than your employer caused your injuries. This could include the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment, for example.
I have been in an accident. What should I do?
After an accident, nothing is more important than your health. If you have a personal injury go to the doctor or emergency room first. Do not hesitate: Michigan’s no-fault act provides insurance coverage for your medical care if you don’t have health insurance.
Many injuries, such as mild traumatic brain injuries, or even damaged spinal discs do not appear to be as serious at first, and only later you may discover how serious the injury is. This is why it is important to see a doctor after an accident.
Who will pay for my medical bills?
Don’t worry — the auto insurance companies or your health insurance company will cover most of your medical expenses. Whatever your health insurance does not cover, your no-fault auto insurance will cover. Your no-fault car insurance also covers any other expenses related to your care, recovery, and rehabilitation like:
- Mileage for trips to the doctor
- Home nursing or attendant care (even if provided by your friends or family)
- Home accessibility needs like ramps, handrails, and even widened hallways and doors
I can’t work. Who will pay for my lost income?
Michigan no-fault auto insurance covers your lost wages if you are injured and cannot work. It will pay 85% of your gross wages for up to three years. Even if you were between jobs, but looking for work, you may qualify for lost wage payments, based on 85% of your gross pay at your most recent job.
What if I need help with housework?
The No-Fault Act has you covered here, too. If you require assistance with housework around the house because of your injuries, your no-fault insurer must pay up to $20 per day for someone to help you. This benefit can last up to 3 years.
When should I consult an attorney?
It is never too early to consult an attorney if you have been injured in a car accident. Any consultation should be free of charge, with no up-front payments whatsoever. Be sure your attorney specializes in serious truck and auto accidents for best results. Christensen Law never charges for a consultation, and guarantees that there will never be a fee unless you win your case.
If you believe you have suffered a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), only consider attorneys that spend at least 80% or more of their practice handling these cases. A TBI case requires deep knowledge and experience to get the best results for this very serious injury. They are difficult to prove, yet are incredibly life altering events.
Don’t leave your future to an attorney that dabbles in the field. Find someone who teaches other attorneys how to best handle these cases, like David Christensen.
Where do I get my police report?
Most police departments make the police reports available online. If not, you can get a copy of your report at the police department that took your information at the accident scene.
What types of damages can I receive compensation for?
You can be compensated for any of your accident-related expenses. According to Michigan Statute 600.2959, you could recover damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental trauma, the cost of physical therapy, the cost of mental health treatment, scarring, disfigurement, the loss of enjoyment of your life, and more.
How can I hire a lawyer if I don’t have the money to pay one?
When you work with Christensen Law, you won’t have to worry about coming up with upfront costs. Your attorney will front any costs associated with your case. The money that pays for your attorney comes out of the settlement. This is known as a contingency fee arrangement. Your lawyer doesn’t get paid unless they win your case.
The insurance company wanted to settle within days. Should I accept?
You should never accept the first settlement offered by the insurance company, especially if they reach out to you days or hours after the collision. Insurers want to pay as little as possible for your accident claim. Getting victims to accept a quick settlement when they are most vulnerable is a common and unfair tactic.
There’s no way to understand the full extent of your injuries immediately following an accident. You won’t be able to ask for more money later if you settle too soon, so reach out to an accident lawyer right away to avoid being underpaid.
If you have additional questions about personal injury cases, our comprehensive FAQ section provides detailed answers to common inquiries. Explore a wide range of topics related to personal injury claims to better understand your rights and legal options. Whether you’re curious about the claims process, compensation, or legal representation, our Personal Injury FAQs offer valuable insights to help guide you through your concerns.
Car Accident FAQs
Questions are common before beginning the process of filing a car accident claim. Find answers to some of the most frequently asked Michigan car accident claim questions below or talk to a lawyer at Christensen Law directly in a free case consultation. We are happy to answer your questions and tell you more about your options.
What if the driver that hit me was uninsured or under insured?
Every auto insurer offers optional uninsured motorist coverage. This additional insurance covers you and your car if the driver and vehicle that hit you was uninsured, or if they fled after the collision and cannot be found. It acts like insurance for the uninsured (or missing) driver that hit you. Uninsured motorist insurance is optional, so you may not have it. Wise drivers purchase this very inexpensive but important coverage to protect themselves against uninsured drivers’ negligence.
If you don’t have this insurance, and the driver that hit you does not have any insurance, or flees the scene, you will not be compensated for your damages.
If the at-fault driver did not have enough insurance to compensate you for all of your damages, your under-insured motorist insurance coverage will cover the shortfall. For example, if your injuries were serious and your damages were valued at $500,000, but the at-fault driver only had $100,000 in insurance, you would lose $400,000. If you had purchased under-insured motorist coverage, you would be protected up to the amount of coverage you buy. In this example, if you purchased $500,000 in coverage, your insurance would cover the shortfall up to $500,000.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company called me. What should I do?
Don’t be your own lawyer. The only reason the at-fault driver’s insurance company is calling you is to try to take advantage of your lack of experience and in this area. They will offer low settlements to unsuspecting accident victims before you can get advice from an attorney. Call a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases before making any deals with an insurance company.
Which types of evidence could prove a car accident case?
You can use any type of evidence you can find to prove a car accident case, but some common types of evidence are witness statements, medical documentation, photo evidence, car accident expert reports, video evidence, physical evidence, and your own testimony as to what happened.
Who could be at fault for my Michigan car accident?
Fault is important to determine in a car accident case. Parties that are commonly at-fault for car accidents include auto parts manufacturers, mechanics, drunk drivers, drowsy drivers, the government, reckless drivers, and distracted drivers.
What does a Michigan car accident lawyer do?
Your Michigan car accident attorney can investigate your crash, gather evidence, calculate the value of your claim, put your case together, negotiate a settlement, or go to court on your behalf, among other things.
Can I sue for a car accident in a no-fault state?
Because Michigan is a no-fault state, your personal insurance will cover your lost income and the initial medical costs of the injuries you sustained, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. However, if your injuries are severe, you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue additional compensation.
When it comes to car accidents, knowledge is key to making informed decisions. Delve into our Car Accident FAQs for a deeper understanding of various aspects related to auto collisions. From insurance claims and fault determination to legal considerations, our FAQs cover a spectrum of questions to provide clarity and assistance for those navigating the aftermath of a car accident.
Truck Accident FAQs
Christensen Law knows that a truck accident can turn your life on its head. While every case is different, there are some questions that are common among truck accident victims. Here are basic answers to a few of those questions:
Who should I sue? The truck driver or the trucking company?
Truck accidents often involve more insurance policies than car accidents. You may possibly be able to file claims against your own insurance company, the trucking company, the driver, and even the owner of the cargo. Your third-party lawsuit may need to include several defendants to make sure all your claims are covered.
How can I prove the truck driver was at fault?
Often, your truck accident attorneys will review the truck driver’s log books. These can show that the driver has violated federal laws on when and how long they can be on the road. That can prove that the truck driver was at fault. You may also be able to use police reports, accident reconstruction, and witness testimony to explain what happened and who is to blame.
Truck accidents can be complex, and understanding the nuances of these cases is crucial. Our Truck Accident FAQs offer in-depth information to address common queries related to accidents involving commercial trucks. Whether you’re curious about liability, insurance coverage, or legal recourse, these FAQs provide valuable insights into the intricacies of truck accident claims.
Motorcycle Accident FAQS
Christensen Law knows a motorcycle accident can leave you with a lot of questions. Every case is different, but some questions come up a lot among our clients. Here are some basic answers to those questions:
Do I need motorcycle insurance in Michigan?
All motorcyclists in Michigan must carry liability insurance. This coverage applies if a motorcyclist causes an accident that injures or kills someone else. Operators must also have first-party medical benefits coverage under their motorcycle policy if they choose to ride without a helmet.
What does my mandatory motorcycle insurance cover?
Michigan requires every biker to carry mandatory liability insurance. This doesn’t cover your injuries or damage to your bike. Instead, it pays for the harm you cause using your bicycle. It can be used to cover injuries suffered by passengers, pedestrians, or other motorists. You can also tap into it to pay for damage to roads, barriers, lawns, and other property caused by your accident.
Does it matter who is at fault in a motorcycle wreck?
Unlike the Michigan No-Fault Act, motorcycle accident lawsuits are based on fault. If you cause an accident with another motorcycle, barricade, or other property, you could be on the hook for the cost of your crash. If there was a car involved, though, your medical expenses, lost wages, and attendant care costs will be covered under no-fault.
Do I need to wear a motorcycle helmet?
Michigan law allows some bikers to receive a certification and opt out of this important safety equipment. To qualify, you must be 21 years old, maintain a motorcycle certification for at least two years, and carry at least $20,000 in first-party (no-fault) insurance coverage.
I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Can I still recover compensation?
You could still be eligible to recover compensation even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle accident. However, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), your compensation may be reduced in proportion to your share of fault for the crash and for those injuries specifically caused by not wearing a helmet.
If your lack of a helmet is deemed the primary cause of your TBI, you may also be barred from recovering compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering or lost quality of life.
A pothole caused my crash. What should I do?
A pothole can easily send a motorcyclist off course and cause a serious injury accident. If the government knew about the dangerous potholes in the road and didn’t repair them, you may be able to get the city to cover some or all of your medical expenses.
What is the motorcycle injury claim process like?
The motorcycle crash claim process is basically a series of steps you must take from accident to settlement check. The process goes in this order: seek medical attention, investigate your motorcycle collision, gather evidence, put together a case, communicate with insurance companies, or take your case to court.
Can I get no-fault compensation after a motorcycle accident in Michigan?
Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state. All motor vehicle drivers must carry no-fault insurance that pays for a portion of their losses if an accident occurs, no matter who was at fault. However, in Michigan, motorcycles are not considered “motor vehicles” and cannot purchase the same no-fault insurance and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that vehicle owners can.
If a motorcyclist is injured in an accident with an insured motor vehicle, the motorcyclist can seek PIP benefits from the motor vehicle driver’s insurer, enabling them to cover expenses for medical care, wage loss, and certain other costs.
How can I apply for no-fault benefits after a motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle owners are not able to purchase no-fault insurance coverage in Michigan. However, insurers that provide motorcycle policies must offer motorcyclists optional medical benefits that can be purchased in $5,000 increments, up to a maximum determined by the insurance provider. These benefits may cover a motorcyclist’s injury-related costs when other insurance coverage is not available.
Can I collect compensation if I am partly to blame for my motorcycle crash?
Under Michigan’s modified comparative negligence law, a motorcyclist seriously injured in a crash for which they are partially to blame may recover compensation, depending on the share of fault they are assigned for the collision. However, any compensation will be reduced in proportion to the rider’s percentage of fault.
A motorcyclist cannot recover non-economic losses if they are mostly to blame (over 50% at fault) for the accident.
Can I sue the other driver for my motorcycle accident injuries?
You may be entitled to sue the other driver for pain and suffering you sustained in a motorcycle accident when the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. Michigan law defines a serious injury as one that results in a “serious impairment of body function.”
Motorcycle accidents pose unique challenges, and riders often have specific concerns following a collision. Our Motorcycle Accident FAQs are designed to answer a variety of questions related to motorcycle accidents. Explore topics ranging from helmet laws to insurance coverage, providing riders with the knowledge they need to navigate the aftermath of a motorcycle accident confidently.
Bicycle Accident FAQs
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident in Michigan, knowing these bicycle laws in Michigan can help you understand fault in your claim. Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions about bicycle laws:
What is legally considered a bicycle in Michigan?
According to Michigan Code 257.4, a bicycle is “…a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having either 2 or 3 wheels in a tandem or tricycle arrangement, all of which are over 14 inches in diameter.” That includes adult-sized tricycles and tandem bikes, but not motorized scooters or motorcycles.
Is a bicycle considered a vehicle in an accident?
No. According to Michigan Code 257.79, a vehicle is defined as “every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices exclusively moved by human power…”
Can I legally ride a bike in the road in Michigan?
Yes. According to Michigan Code 257.660a, a bicycle, even if moving slower than the speed of traffic, is allowed to ride “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” unless:
- Passing another bicycle or vehicle going in the same direction
- Turning left
- The right-hand edge of the road is unsafe
- The lane is too narrow for a vehicle to safely pass a bicycle
- Going straight through an intersection with a right turn lane
- On a one-way road (where you may also ride along the left curb)
Can I ride on the sidewalk?
Yes, unless signs say otherwise. According to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.660c, even if you are riding on the sidewalk, you still have the rights and responsibilities that are applicable to a pedestrian, and this includes situations that involve accidents. When you’re riding, remember to give pedestrians the right of way, and call out when passing someone on foot.
Do bicyclists have rights on the road?
According to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.657, as a general rule, a bicyclist riding in the road has all the same rights as someone operating a motor vehicle. This law also applies to electric bicycles, electric skateboards, electric personal assistive mobility devices, mopeds, low-speed vehicles, and commercial quadricycles.
If bicyclists have the same rights on the road as vehicles, you also have the same responsibilities. This includes the duty to follow the rules of the road to keep others safe.
Do I need lights when I ride a bicycle at night?
Yes. According to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.662, if you are riding at night you need to have a white light in the front and a red light on the back of your bike. You also need reflectors that are visible from all sides. Violation of this code is a civil infraction, and it could impact your ability to get a settlement if you’re in a bicycle accident.
Can I legally ride on a bicycle’s handlebars in Michigan?
No. According to Michigan Vehicle Code 257.658, “A person propelling a bicycle or operating a motorcycle or moped shall not ride other than upon and astride a permanent and regular seat attached to that vehicle.” It also limits riders to the number the bike is designed to handle. So unless you are riding tandem, the rule is 1 bike, 1 rider.
Bicycle accidents require a distinct understanding of both traffic laws and cyclist rights. Our Bicycle Accident FAQs address common questions related to accidents involving bicycles. Whether you’re interested in liability, safety regulations, or legal options, these FAQs offer valuable information to cyclists involved in accidents or those seeking to enhance their awareness of bicycle accident scenarios.
Brain Injury FAQs
Traumatic brain injury accidents are full of unique challenges and complications. No two cases are the same. But there are some questions that many of Christensen Law’s clients face. Here are some basic answers to some of those frequently asked questions.
How do I know if I suffered a traumatic brain injury?
The key to successful recovery from a traumatic brain injury is early detection. After a collision – whether a car accident or a hard football hit – keep an eye on out for these TBI symptoms:
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in the senses of taste and smell
- Slow cognition, inability to process information quickly
- Short-term memory interruption
- Language problem
- Inability to focus and concentrate
- Easy distraction
I’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury. What should I do?
Prompt medical treatment is crucial in even a mild traumatic brain injury case. Any time you have a head injury, you should have a TBI screening by your doctor right away. Even a mild concussion can cause significant secondary injuries. Swelling, pressure, and blood flow problems can cause additional damage and make your recovery much longer.
Early detection is key to minimizing secondary injuries and disabling conditions. Early treatment also creates a medical record that can be used as evidence in a TBI claim.
Will my insurance cover my traumatic brain injury?
Which insurance applies to your traumatic brain injury depends on what caused the harm.
TBI can be caused by falls, assaults, sport injuries, or auto accidents. In the first three cases, you will have to use your standard health insurance to cover your injuries. You will still have to face deductibles, copays, and co-insurance. Even then your lifetime health insurance benefits have caps. Once you hit those, you won’t see any more money.
If your TBI was caused by an auto accident, Michigan law makes sure your medical expenses will be covered for life. You can also be compensated for up to three years of lost wages and attendant care costs.
What if I am permanently disabled from a TBI?
You can’t always recover from a traumatic brain injury. Sometimes, concussions result in permanent disabilities.
If your TBI is the result of an auto accident, your long-term treatments will be covered by your no-fault auto insurance. But permanent disability and the loss of support or other challenges could take more than an insurance claim. You may have to file a Third Party or negligence lawsuit to collect those non-economic damages from the person who caused your injury.
What should I expect from the insurance company?
When you file a brain injury claim with your auto insurance company, expect a fight. You will likely face claims that the injury isn’t related to the accident and the treatment isn’t reasonable and necessary.
Your Michigan brain injury attorneys will have to present physicians and experts to explain your injury and justify your treatment. Your medical providers may also have to show their costs are appropriate.
Understanding traumatic brain injuries is crucial for those who have experienced such trauma or seek to support someone who has. Our Brain Injury FAQs cover a range of questions related to these injuries, including symptoms, treatment, insurance coverage, and legal considerations. Explore this section for comprehensive insights into traumatic brain injuries and the associated legal aspects.