Car accidents can take a toll on every aspect of a victim’s life. Fortunately, Michigan law allows injured people to pursue compensation for more than just bodily harm when they are hurt in crashes. A full and fair award includes money that accounts for the long-term effects of a collision as well.
At Christensen Law, our Detroit car accident lawyers look at the big picture when evaluating injury claims so that clients don’t settle for less than what they deserve. Let us help you plan for the future and assess the appropriate value of your case.
The Physical Effects of a Car Accident
Car crashes in Detroit can cause catastrophic injuries that last a lifetime. Examples of injuries that can have long-term consequences include:
- Deep cuts: Shattered glass and other debris can result in deep gashes that can be life-threatening. Even superficial lacerations have the potential to become infected and the deeper the cut, the more likely this possibility becomes. The scars that cuts leave behind will also serve as a reminder of the car accident for the rest of the victim’s life.
- Soft tissue damage: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments can be severely injured during a crash. One of the most common soft-tissue injuries is whiplash, a neck injury that can cause chronic pain and lifelong nerve damage.
- Burns: Accident victims who suffer from burns often face a long road to recovery. Burns can be disfiguring, and victims may face multiple surgeries and skin grafts as their bodies heal. Scar tissue also has the potential to tighten the muscles, tendons, and skin. This type of damage is typically permanent.
- Fractures: Broken bones can be serious injuries. Complex fractures usually require surgery and if they do not or cannot heal fully, a person may be left with a long-term disability.
- Amputation: Amputations can be accidental or surgical after a car accident. Accidental amputations occur at the scene of the crash and are caused by the collision itself. Surgical amputations occur when a limb is so severely damaged during an accident that it cannot be saved. Limb loss does not only limit a person’s mobility, but it can also cause blood clots and infection. An accident victim may also experience phantom limb pain for the rest of his or her life and the ongoing complications of learning to live with prosthetics.
If the physical effects of a car accident have caused permanent limitations and hardships for you, contact a skilled lawyer right away to discuss your rights to compensation.
The Emotional Impact of a Car Accident
Some people experience emotional difficulties following a crash. This especially true if they are facing long-term disabilities that limit their ability to work or participate in hobbies that they once enjoyed.
A person may wrestle with mental health issues such as:
- Anxiety: The shock of a crash can lead to intense feelings of fear or worry about riding in a car or being involved in an accident again. Anxiety can cause sufferers to experience panic attacks or go to great lengths to avoid a trip.
- Depression: The time away from work and interruption to daily life can be painful and isolating after a car wreck, causing some people to develop clinical depression. Depression can be acute, lasting a few days or weeks, or chronic, where it becomes a lifelong struggle.
- Behavioral changes: Head injuries or other trauma can lead to behavioral changes in accident victims. A person may suffer from hallucinations, delirium, confusion, speech issues, and mood swings, among others.
- Sleep problems: People experience a great deal of stress in the aftermath of a car accident. Too much stress can overstimulate the brain, which can make it difficult for a person to fall and stay asleep. Nightmares are also common after a wreck.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A serious mental health condition, PTSD can cause a person to experience flashbacks of the event, nightmares, fearfulness, and personality changes that may further complicate day-to-day life.
If you’re experiencing emotional problems after a car accident, seek help from a mental health professional right away. Taking care of yourself first should always be the top priority. Costs for therapy can be recovered in a successful car accident claim, so financial worries shouldn’t stop you from seeking treatment.
Financial Problems After a Car Accident
The financial ramifications of a car accident can be severe. Victims can alleviate hardships by recovering full and fair compensation for their monetary losses. In Michigan, compensation can include money for:
- Medical expenses: The cost of medical treatment is sky-high. Surgery for broken bones can cost as much as $35,000, while long-term costs for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can reach into the millions over the course of a person’s lifetime.
- Rehabilitation/accommodation costs: Long-term injuries may require intense rehabilitation, such as physical or occupational therapy. Renovations to the home may be needed to accommodate a new disability, such as the addition of handrails, ramps, wider doorways, and more.
- Lost wages: Serious injuries can prevent a person from returning to work or from performing the same type of work he or she did before the crash. Both scenarios can cause a person to experience a significant loss of income.
- Loss of services: Some injuries will prevent a person from performing routine tasks, such as cooking, caring for children, and cleaning and maintaining the home. Compensation can include money to hire outside help to assist with these duties.
While many people expect car accidents to come with some financial losses, they are also quickly surprised to learn just how many expenses they end up facing. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer will take your past, current, and anticipated financial costs into consideration to determine what your case is worth.
Getting Compensation for More Than Just Your Physical Injury
The law in Michigan allows accident victims to claim several types of compensation after a crash. The two most common types are known as economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages can be calculated by looking at the person’s receipts, pay stubs, and other statements. Medical expenses, lost income and rehabilitative services are common types of economic damages.
Non-economic damages are not as easily quantified. This is money for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and more. Because these losses are more subjective, there is no way to put an exact dollar amount on them. An experienced car accident lawyer will examine the facts and look at how similar cases have settled to put a fair value on your car accident case.
Michigan law also allows for exemplary damages when a defendant has acted with gross negligence or carelessness. Known as punitive damages in other states, exemplary damages are not intended to compensate the victim, but rather to penalize the defendant and deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Keep in mind that Michigan is a no-fault state for car accidents. That means that victims must first go through their own insurance companies to seek compensation after a crash.
The good news about no-fault auto insurance is that victims don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault for the crash in order to receive benefits. The bad news is that no-fault benefits do not provide money for pain and suffering and may not be enough to cover the full extent of an individual’s losses. But in cases of severe injury, Michiganders are not out of options.
Car accident victims may be able file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver for pain and suffering and certain excess damages not covered by their personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. To successfully obtain non-economic damages, however, victims must meet Michigan’s serious injury threshold. That means their injuries must qualify as a “serious impairment of body function” or “permanent serious disfigurement.”
Before any damages in a third-party lawsuit can be awarded, the victim must prove that the driver was at fault or shared the majority of the blame. These kinds of auto accident claims require substantial proof. A seasoned car accident lawyer can be an asset in building a strong and persuasive case for compensation.
How Can Christensen Law Help Me?
The Detroit car accident lawyers at Christensen Law are dedicated to helping victims recover maximum compensation after being hurt in crashes throughout Michigan. To learn more about how we can help, call or contact us now to arrange a free consultation.