How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident?

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How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Car Accident

After you’ve been in a vehicle accident and suffered serious injuries, you may be wondering how to file a personal injury claim for a car accident. A personal injury claim can help you recover damages after a Michigan auto collision—but only in the event that you’ve been seriously injured. You may be able to receive a payout from the insurer without going to court and trial, but it depends on if the other party is willing to cooperate.

What Is a ‘Serious’ Injury Under Michigan Law?

Michigan follows a No-Fault system, which means people in accidents seek compensation through their own personal injury protection (PIP) policy regardless of fault. However, there are limits to this coverage, and you may be able to pursue damages not covered by your PIP. To do so, you must have what is called a “serious injury.”

To you, any injury is serious, so it can be confusing to try to figure out whether you meet the requirements of the serious injury threshold. The basic definition of a serious injury is that you must have suffered serious disfigurement, permanent injury, or serious impairment of a major bodily function.

Some examples of these serious injuries include the following:

Determining Negligence in a Michigan Car Accident

The key to seeking damages in a car accident is in proving that the other party was at-fault for the accident. While the aforementioned No-Fault system is important, once you get to the point of seeking additional damages not covered by PIP, you must demonstrate the other party’s liability.

When trying to prove this, you must show that:

  • The other driver had a duty of care to you (and other drivers or pedestrians). Anyone operating a vehicle generally has a duty of care, and they should obey road rules and drive with care.
  • The other driver did not uphold this duty of care. For example, driving while intoxicated violates the standard of care expected of the driver.
  • The driver’s actions directly resulted in your accident. Basically, the only reason you are hurt and suffered injuries is because of this driver’s actions or behaviors.
  • You have damages and losses tied to this incident.

A personal injury lawyer can take on the responsibility of proving liability so you do not have to.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim for a Michigan Auto Wreck

Right after your car accident, make sure you:

  • Seek medical attention: You may need emergency care at the accident scene or make an appointment with a doctor following the collisions, but regardless, it’s important to start creating records of your injuries and medical needs. This provides proof of your losses and helps strengthen your claim. The other driver may try to say you are faking your injuries or they are not as bad as you say they are, so professional opinions are crucial.
  • Report the accident to the police: A police officer will usually make a report at the accident when you call them. If necessary, you can also contact your local station to make the police report.
  • File a claim with your insurer: Do not delay in letting your insurer know about the accident. If you delay, they may have grounds to question the severity of your injuries or deny your claim altogether. Be sure to provide all relevant information, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as any witness statements and photos of the scene.
  • Record evidence at the scene of the accident: If possible, try to take photos or videos of the accident site and the vehicle or property damage, and try to get eyewitness contact information. Make sure you exchange insurance information with the other driver so you can report this information to your insurer and your lawyer.

If you just had a fender bender, this process is fairly straightforward and it’s extremely unlikely you’ll need a lawyer. However, if you have serious injuries, or if you are not sure just how severe your injuries may be, it’s best to also call a lawyer as soon as you can.

Filing an Insurance Claim

After the accident, reach out to your insurer to start the claims process. Provide as much information about the accident as possible, including the date, time, location, and any relevant details of the incident. It’s important to be clear and thorough in your description of what happened. Stick with the facts, as you don’t want to accidentally admit fault or give contradicting details. This is especially true if the other party’s insurer calls you for a statement.

An insurance adjuster may come out to check the damage to your vehicle, and the adjuster may request medical records from you or ask that you get a medical exam. Your case may be resolved here, and the company may give you a settlement that meets your needs. A lawyer can help you through this entire process, so get a consultation to see if you can get legal help.

What If I Disagree With the Outcome?

You can dispute an insurance company’s offer if you think it’s insufficient or if you think they unfairly or incorrectly denied your claim. You can also file a lawsuit against the other party for damages, which starts with filing a complaint. A judge can issue a summons to have you show up in court, and they can set a schedule for your case.

Then the discovery period begins, and this allows the parties to investigate the case, ask the necessary questions, and record depositions for all involved parties and witnesses. You and the other party can settle at any time, but if you do not, the case will proceed to trial.

These processes can be quite complex and time-consuming, but a car accident lawyer can help you from claim to trial. You do not have to handle everything alone.

Contact Christensen Law for Help With an Accident Claim

If you need to learn more about how to file a personal injury claim for a car accident, simply call Christensen Law. We can walk you through the process of filing for personal injury compensation and assist you with negotiating fair compensation from the involved insurance companies.

For your free case review, call us now.