You should sue for a minor car accident if it injured you and you now have significant medical expenses. However, in Michigan, you must exhaust your No-Fault insurance coverage before seeking compensation from a liable party.
Below, we explain more about personal injury lawsuits and how to pursue financial recovery after a Michigan auto accident.
Seeking Compensation After a Michigan Car Accident
Sometimes, even “minor” car accidents and low-speed collisions can cause serious injuries like whiplash, concussions, and back and shoulder injuries. When they do, you may consider suing for car accident damages, especially if you have expensive medical bills or must take time off work to recover.
However, because Michigan follows a No-Fault insurance model, you usually can only seek compensation from a liable driver once you exhaust your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP pays for medical bills and other accident-related losses, regardless of who caused the crash.
Recoverable Auto Accident Damages
As mentioned, you must first turn to your No-Fault policy for auto accident damages. In general, PIP pays for the following (up to your policy’s limits):
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and recovery
- A percentage of your lost income for up to three years
- Replacement services
- Funeral and burial expenses for fatally injured parties
If your minor car accident resulted in severe injuries or medical bills exceeding your PIP coverage, you can step outside the No-Fault system and pursue damages from the negligent party. Seeking damages from a liable party allows you to recover medical expenses your PIP doesn’t pay and compensation for the following:
- The total value of your lost income, not just a percentage
- Lost employment benefits
- Lost earning capacity if you have a long-term or disabling injury that forces you to quit working for longer than three years, change jobs, or permanently reduce your hours or workload
- Pain and suffering for intangible losses, including scarring, disfigurement, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), physical pain, inconvenience, and lost quality of life
- Wrongful death of a loved one, including medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of the deceased’s financial contributions, support, services, care, and guidance
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
Every car accident is different, so your potential settlement will depend on factors unique to your case, including the following:
- Your PIP policy’s limits
- The amount of liability insurance the at-fault driver carries
- Your age
- Your current earnings and when you can return to work
- The severity of your injuries
- The extent of your pain and suffering
Our firm personal injury lawyers will explore your options for recovering your losses. We know that even minor collisions can cause severe injuries and major medical expenses, so we are ready to pursue financial awards that can get you back on your feet, including pursuing a car accident lawsuit if necessary.
How Long Do You Have to Seek Car Accident Losses?
It is essential you have enough time to investigate your accident, build your case, and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company (or companies) before Michigan’s statute of limitations expires. According to Michigan Compiled Laws § 500.3145, you generally have one year from the accident date to sue for PIP benefits. Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5805 allows two years to sue a liable party (or their insurer) for personal injury damages.
The court could dismiss your case if you do not adhere to these deadlines. Without the threat of legal action, your insurance claims no longer have teeth, and you will likely end up with a denied claim or reduced settlement.
We can start on your claims promptly immediately, which, in addition to protecting your right to sue, can ensure that we collect evidence before it gets lost or witnesses’ memories fade. Filing your insurance claim right away can also help defend against allegations that your minor car accident did not cause your injury.
Should You Work With a Car Accident Attorney?
If your No-Fault insurer refuses to compensate you fairly or you have the right to pursue damages from a liable party, it may benefit you to work with a car accident lawyer with our firm. Our team has over three decades of legal experience and a winning case record we can put behind getting financial justice for you and your family.
When you work with us, we will take care of your legal issues so you can focus on healing. We will:
- Investigate your car accident and prove that even though it was “minor,” you have a right to recover financial compensation
- List your damages and pursue awards
- Identify all liable parties and establish how their negligence caused the accident
- Collect supporting case evidence
- Draft and file your insurance claims
- Adhere to deadlines and manage case details
- Handle phone calls, emails, texts, and meeting with involved parties
- Negotiate for the maximum settlement possible
- Prepare your case for civil court and sue for car accident damages if necessary
- Serve you with compassion, professionalism, and the personal attention you and your case deserve at every step
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
Many personal injury law firms, including ours, take cases on contingency. Because we do not want the cost of our services to be a barrier, we charge nothing up front or out of pocket. We assume the initial financial risk and our attorney’s fees come from your successful settlement or verdict. If we do not win your case, you owe us nothing.
Reach Out to Christensen Law for Help After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Christensen Law understands no car accident is minor if it causes injuries that financially burden you and your family. We have a 30-plus year history of serving Michigan’s injured and have helped hundreds of car crash, truck collision, and motorcycle wreck victims recover significant settlements and verdicts. We would be honored to put this experience to work for you.
Call us at 248-900-9000 for a free consultation to learn more about how our car accident attorneys can fight for the compensation that could get you back on track. A team member is available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you connect with our lawyer near you.