A Law Firm Fighting For Motor Vehicle Accident Victims Across Michigan
Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents in Michigan. For those involved in serious accidents, the road to recovery can be long and difficult, but working with the right attorney can make a major difference. Whether you need help filing an accident claim or believe you may have grounds for a lawsuit, our attorneys at Bahrie Law, PLLC, are ready to guide you through the legal process. We are well-versed in Michigan car accident laws and proudly represent clients throughout the state from our two offices in Lansing and Metro Detroit.
Well-Versed In Michigan Car Accident Laws
Whether you are working with your own insurance company or need help filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, navigating the financial and legal aftermath of a serious car accident can be challenging. This is especially true when you are dealing with ongoing treatment, lost wages and mounting medical bills.
When you trust your case to Bahrie Law, PLLC, you can count on our team to handle every legal detail so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. We provide our clients with compassionate, personalized representation, but we are aggressive when it comes to going up against major insurance providers.
Our attorneys know how to effectively negotiate with insurance adjusters and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. Depending on the details of your situation, we may be able to help you recover for your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
Below, we’ve provided answers to questions you may be asking after a car accident. However, there is no substitute for case-specific advice. Therefore, when you’re finished reading, we invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation about your legal matter. Call 888-473-1289.
Is Michigan a no-fault state?
When it comes to car accident claims, states either follow a fault-based (or “tort”) system or a no-fault system. Michigan is a no-fault state, which means you are required to carry no-fault auto insurance. Under this system, you will typically turn to your own auto insurance provider, rather than the other driver’s insurance company, to collect compensation after an accident.
In 2019, Michigan made historic changes to its no-fault laws. Notably, it eliminated the mandatory unlimited no-fault insurance rule. As of July 1, 2020, motorists in Michigan can choose between maintaining unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) or capping their coverage at $50,000 (if enrolled in Medicaid), $250,000, or $500,000.
Additionally, those enrolled in Medicare can opt out of PIP altogether. While the law requires drivers to carry at least $250,000/$500,000 in PIP coverage per person/accident, it also provides that they may choose to purchase lower limits of $50,000/$100,000.
What does this mean for your claim?
- If you are injured in a car accident, you will usually need to file a claim with your own insurance provider and obtain compensation through your PIP coverage.
- If you are catastrophically injured in an auto accident, you can only receive a payout of your claim from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) if you have unlimited PIP coverage.
- You may be required to have “qualified health coverage” to obtain certain no-fault coverage levels and options.
- If the cost of your medical expenses exceeds your PIP coverage, you are permitted to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver for your excess medical bills.
This last point is important, as severe car accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Such injuries require extensive, ongoing treatment and care, and, in many cases, the cost of this care can easily reach hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars over the course of the victim’s lifetime. Car accident lawyers in Michigan can help you recover these expenses as damages.
Can I sue an at-fault motorist in Michigan?
It is possible to sue the driver of the other vehicle or another person or party that caused the accident if you can prove that they were at least partially at fault.
To recover economic damages, such as excess medical expenses, you can bring a claim even if you were more at fault than the other motorist; for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, you must prove that you were less at fault than the other person or party to file a lawsuit.
In either case, your recovery will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are found to have for the accident.
To bring a third-party claim against an at-fault driver in Michigan, you may need to prove the following elements:
- The other person/party owed you a duty of care
- The other person/party breached the duty of care (usually by acting negligently or wrongfully)
- You were injured as a result of the breach of the duty of care
- Your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold
- You suffered excess economic losses not covered by PIP insurance
- You sustained measurable excess economic losses and/or noneconomic damages
Generally speaking, a third-party car accident claim against the at-fault driver allows you to recover compensation for excess medical bills and noneconomic damages, which are not covered by PIP. These include things like pain and suffering, distress, trauma and lost quality of life.
What is the “serious injury” threshold?
If you wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault person or party, you may need to prove that your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. Our attorneys can help you make your case. Michigan defines “serious injuries” as those that result in:
- Significant impairment of an important bodily function
- Permanent serious disfigurement
If your injuries do not meet the serious injury threshold, you may not be able to step outside the no-fault system. Our car accident lawyers can help you understand all your options. We bring over four decades of legal experience to every case and are intimately familiar with the local and state laws and court systems.
What can a Michigan car accident lawyer do for me?
A car accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance to victims of motor vehicle crashes. They can help crash victims recover compensation for the injuries and losses they suffered, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more. Car accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of state laws governing car accidents in Michigan and will be able to help with all aspects of an auto accident claim or lawsuit. The services provided by car accident lawyers include:
- Investigating the accident: An experienced attorney can investigate the cause of your crash to determine who is liable, so you can pursue your legal claim or lawsuit against them.
- Assessing damages: A lawyer will assess all economic and noneconomic damages that you sustained due to the crash. This ensures that your losses are accurately reflected in your settlement demand letter or court filing documents.
- Negotiating on your behalf: Lawyers will act as strong advocates on behalf of their clients. When negotiating with insurance companies or other parties in order to maximize their client’s recovery, you can rest assured that your attorney is on your side.
- Filing all necessary documents and representing you in court: If negotiations fail, attorneys are prepared to file all necessary documents and represent you in court.
Our skilled lawyers at Bahrie Law, PLLC, are available to help victims of motor vehicle accidents throughout Michigan. We will help you recover the compensation you deserve.
What are the most dangerous highways in Michigan?
Based on data on the number and severity of car accidents, many analysts agree that these are the most dangerous highways in Michigan:
- Interstate 94
- US 131
- U.S. Route 23
- Interstate 75
- Interstate 96
It is no surprise to find interstates on this list, since they see heavy traffic and typically have higher speed limits. No matter where you drive, it is critical to exercise caution and stay alert.
What are the most common causes of car accidents?
The vast majority of car accidents are attributed to “driver error.” However, error isn’t necessarily the right term to use because it implies that these were honest mistakes that couldn’t have been foreseen. While some crashes may meet those criteria, many others are caused by driver negligence. Specifically, many crashes are the result of drunk driving, speeding and aggressive driving, distracted driving, failure to adapt to changing traffic and weather conditions, and drowsy/fatigued driving.
What injuries commonly occur in a car accident?
Motor vehicle accidents commonly result in injuries that include:
- Broken bones, cuts and bruises
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, some of which result in paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Soft-tissue injuries like whiplash
Every crash is different, and the severity of a crash often depends on factors like how fast the vehicles were traveling, the size and weight difference between vehicles and more. Commercial truck crashes often have the highest rates of catastrophic injury and death.
What is the statute of limitations for a car accident case in Michigan?
Michigan imposes a limit of three years from the date of the crash for auto accident claims, or three years from the date of death for wrongful death claims related to car accidents. This seems like plenty of time, but it is important to remember that your case will likely weaken if you don’t take action relatively quickly. Witness memories fade and evidence disappears, making it more difficult to prove fault.
Thankfully, once you hire our firm, we can take care of the investigative and legal work while you focus on taking care of yourself and your family. The sooner you reach out, the quicker we can begin advocating for you.
What should I do if the other driver flees the scene of the accident?
Even if the car accident was an honest mistake, it becomes a crime as soon as someone flees the scene. If caught, the fleeing driver can face criminal prosecution as well as civil liability. You should contact police as soon as possible and try to recount any identifying information that could help locate the other driver.
You should then get the medical care you need and report the accident to your insurance company. Your PIP coverage will help cover initial costs like medical bills. After that, you can call our attorneys to learn more about your legal options.
What if the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
Sadly, this is a common scenario. Drunk or drugged driving is, of course, a criminal offense. The driver can and should face prosecution, but that alone does little to compensate you for the crash. Thankfully, you can file a separate personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
A criminal conviction will likely help your civil case. It’s also good to know that the driver may be found liable even if they somehow avoid a criminal conviction. This is because the standard of proof for a civil lawsuit is lower than for a criminal conviction.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
Your PIP coverage will apply to the accident even if the other driver is uninsured. It is more difficult to seek additional compensation if your damages and losses exceed coverage limits, however, because that money would normally be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If the uninsured driver has significant personal assets, our attorneys may be able to help you sue them directly (because they would be considered personally liable). We will also help you explore any additional options for compensation, including other insurance policies you may have.
Can I work directly with my insurance company, or should I work with a car accident attorney?
You can work with your insurance company and aren’t legally required to hire a lawyer. However, insurers don’t have your best interests in mind. Their goal is to resolve your claim for as little money as possible because it improves their bottom line.
Hiring a personal injury attorney ensures that you have a knowledgeable legal professional whose job is to protect your rights and interests. Even if your case ends up settling out of court (as most do), your attorney can likely obtain a much higher settlement than you could have achieved on your own.
What options does an injured passenger have?
In many cases, you will be eligible for PIP benefits, but it’s not always immediately clear whose plan you’ll be filing a claim with. If you have auto insurance, you’d first file a claim with your plan even though you weren’t driving at the time of the crash. If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to file a claim on a spouse’s or family member’s plan.
For damages beyond coverage limits, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary and appropriate. We can help you understand all of your legal options when you contact our firm.
Tell Us Your Story During A Free Initial Consultation
Our firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We know what it takes to obtain favorable settlements for accident victims, and we are even prepared to represent you at trial if necessary.
The lawyers at Bahrie Law, PLLC, are proud to represent clients throughout the state of Michigan, providing individualized and innovative legal strategies tailored to each client’s unique needs. We offer our personal injury services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you.