What to Do After a Car Accident in Sterling Heights

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What to Do After a Car Accident in Sterling Heights

If you or a loved one were in a car accident in Sterling Heights, MI, you may have injuries, medical bills, and other financial damages. In the aftermath of the crash, you likely have a lot of questions about what to do to protect your health and future.

A car accident lawyer with our firm can help you find answers. An attorney can advise you of your legal options, help you navigate the insurance claims process, and fight for fair financial compensation.

Seek Medical Treatment After a Car Crash

Your priority after a car accident should be your health. You may have already received emergency medical treatment immediately following the collision. If so, make sure you follow your doctor’s orders, attend all future medical appointments, and refrain from activities that could aggravate your condition.

See your physician as soon as possible if you have yet to get treatment. Whiplash and other car accident injuries can develop gradually. Getting medical care ensures you do not have undiagnosed or worsening injuries. It also creates a medical record for your insurance claims.

Gather As Much Evidence As Possible at the Car Accident Scene

If you suffered a severe injury, collecting evidence at the scene of the accident may not have been possible, as that is okay. Your attorney can investigate the collision for you. However, if you are physically able, you should document as much as possible. Information you should try to obtain includes:

  • Photographs and cell phone video of the crash site
  • Photographs and video of your injuries and the vehicle damages
  • The name, contact information, and driver’s license number of involved motorists
  • The make, model, and license plate number of involved vehicles
  • Eyewitnesses’ names and contact information
  • The name and badge number of the responding law enforcement officer

Report the Motor Vehicle Accident to the Police

Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 257.622 mandates that drivers report car accidents resulting in injuries, death, or $1,000 or more in property damages to the nearest or most convenient police station or police officer. If law enforcement was not called to the scene, you need to make an accident report immediately. You will need this record for your case. A lawyer can assist you if necessary.

File Car Insurance Claims Promptly

Michigan is a No-Fault insurance state, so regardless of fault for the accident, you will first file a claim for compensation with your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance provider. You should do this right after a car accident to avoid missing any deadlines outlined in your policy, which could give you as little as 24 to 48 hours to notify your insurer about the crash.

According to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), PIP will pay for medical treatment up to your policy limit. It will also provide wage loss benefits, replacement services, and death benefits for fatally injured parties. If you suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident or bicycle collision with a motor vehicle and do not have PIP insurance, you may qualify for coverage through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP).

Severely injured parties with significant medical expenses may seek compensation from a negligent driver with an auto liability insurance claim. You should also file these claims immediately to protect your right to recover financial awards. A lawyer can tell you more about filing a claim and help you get started.

Understand the Statutes of Limitations

You may need to pursue a case in civil court to recover fair compensation for your car accident. Per Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 500.3145, you have one year to take action to recover PIP benefits. You have three years to sue for personal injury or wrongful death under Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.5805. The court will likely throw out your case if the statute of limitations expires.

A personal injury lawyer with our firm can tell you more about deadlines that may apply to your case.

Be Careful What You Say to Auto Insurance Adjusters

Insurance is a business, and adjusters will protect their company’s profits by finding reasons to deny claims or reduce settlement amounts. Even when dealing with your PIP provider, getting the money you need can be challenging.

If an insurance adjuster contacts you, the following tips can help:

  • Do not admit fault for the accident or speculate about the cause of the crash
  • Do not go into detail about your accident or injuries
  • Do not agree to give a recorded statement
  • Do not accept an initial (often lowball) settlement offer
  • Tell them to direct further communications through your lawyer

When speaking with the insurance companies, it is vital that you do not accidentally say or do something they could use to blame you for the crash, as this could lower your claim for compensation.

Michigan follows a system of modified comparative negligence. According to Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.2959, any responsibility assigned to you for a collision will reduce your awards by that amount. Therefore, if you recover $100,000 but are 20 percent at fault, you would receive $80.000.

If you are more than 50 percent liable, you cannot recover any non-economic damages.

Document Your Sterling Heights Car Accident Damages

You will want to keep careful track of your medical bills and any other expenses related to your car accident. Keep a daily journal detailing your physical, mental, and emotional state and ways you notice your injury interfering with your life. You will use this information to prove your economic losses and non-economic damages. In general, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses – including emergency transportation and treatment, surgeries, hospitalizations, doctor bills, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medications, mobility aids, medical devices, and long-term nursing
  • Lost income and employment benefits – including lost future earnings and lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering – including catastrophic injuries, disabilities, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and reduced quality of life
  • Miscellaneous losses – including household services, medical travel expenses, and medically necessary home or vehicle modifications
  • Wrongful death of a loved one – including medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and loss of a loved one’s income, services, care, companionship, and other intangible benefits

A lawyer can review your out-of-pocket losses, establish your right to compensation for pain and suffering, and seek estimates regarding expected future expenses.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Sterling Heights Accident

You are not legally required to hire a lawyer to handle your car accident claims. However, working with a legal representative can give you an experienced ally who can manage your case while you focus on healing. A car accident attorney with our firm will:

  • Investigate your car accident and collect case evidence
  • Identify and calculate your losses and send demand letters for compensation to the insurance companies
  • Prepare and file insurance and legal paperwork
  • Track and adhere to deadlines
  • Communicate with involved parties and represent your best interests in every interaction
  • Aggressively negotiate for the maximum compensation possible
  • Represent you at trial if necessary

Christensen Law Can Help After a Car Accident in Sterling Heights

Christensen Law has fought for personal injury victims in Michigan since 1991. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys are here to listen to your story and help you move forward after a car accident. Our dedication to client service and achieving case results has yielded record-setting outcomes for those harmed by negligence.

Contact us online or call our number for a free, no-obligation consultation. Connect with a car accident lawyer near you today.