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Car Accidents

Accident Resource Center of Michigan

car-accident-iStock_000006634111XSmall A Michigan car accident can be a life-changing event that may result in wrongful death, or permanent, serious injuries and disabilities to a driver, passengers or pedestrians. With more than twenty million car accidents occurring each year in the United States, many Michigan drivers will, at some time, be involved in a serious auto accident. It is important that Michigan car accident victims know their rights and are represented by an experienced Michigan car accident attorney. If you, a friend or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Michigan or in another state, please complete the online form or call the toll-free number 1 (888) 905-4632 of the Car Accident Resource Center of Michigan at The Law Offices of Henry M. Hanflik.

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What You Should Know About Car Accidents:

Q: What should I do to protect my family and myself before an injury or claim from an auto accident occurs?

A: Always keep your vehicle insured.

  • Understand your health insurance and how it will work if you are injured in an automobile collision.
  • Understand your automobile insurance.
  • Review the declarations page to your auto insurance policy.
  • Meet with your insurance agent to discuss available coverage alternatives.
  • Meet with an attorney who specializes in auto insurance claims to review the adequacy of your coverage.
  • Understand the types of coverage on your auto insurance policy:
    • What does “full coverage” really mean?
    • Bodily injury?
    • Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist?
    • No-fault (or “P.I.P.”) coverage options?
    • Know the process for filing a claim with your insurance company.

Q: I have been in an auto accident. What should I do?

A: You should:

  • Report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the police report when completed. Also obtain names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Get injuries treated and report all problems to doctor(s) and/or hospital emergency room.
  • Photograph the vehicle (interior and exterior).
  • Photograph visible injuries to any person (even if just bruises).
  • Contact your insurance company to report the claim and start the procedure for no-fault benefits. However, be careful in filling out these forms. Contact a lawyer specializing in personal injury claims if you are uncertain.
  • Get written documentation of work disability and any need for household services or nurse’s aide services from a doctor.
  • Get proof of wages and income.
  • Document mileage for medical appointments and prescriptions.
  • Document changes to life and lifestyle – PAIN DIARY.

Q: Do I have an auto accident case?

A: Because every case is unique, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who will evaluate your case. For your free consultation, contact the injury specialists of the Auto Accident Resource Center of Michigan:

The Law Offices of Henry M. Hanflik at 1 (888) 905-4632.

Q: Michigan Law for auto accidents is a “No-Fault” law. What does that mean?

A: Basically, the “no-fault” system separates your auto accident claim into one of two separate categories:

  • The first category provides you with reimbursement for reasonably necessary medical expenditures required to treat and rehabilitate your mind and body, as well as reimbursement for your loss of income during your disability (up to a specified amount allowed by statute). In addition, there are other benefits available under this “no-fault” portion of the claim. The payment of these benefits is made by your own, or possibly your employer’s, insurance company without regard to your own fault in the accident.
  • The second category contains your right to seek recovery (make a claim or sue) from the adverse party for pain and suffering and loss of income (in excess of that covered by no-fault). However, because of the availability of no-fault benefits, Michigan does not automatically allow the accident victim to seek recovery for pain and suffering and for disfigurement after every accident.

In Michigan, there are certain minimum “thresholds” established by law that the injured victim must meet before collecting any damages. The “thresholds” include death, permanent serious disfigurement of the body or serious impairment of a body function.

Q: Under the no-fault system, does my insurance company make up for my lost wages?

A: Yes, within limits. Payments are also reduced if you receive workers’ compensation or Social Security benefits and may be reduced if you have disability insurance. There is also a statutory cap, or limit, on the amount of lost wages that the insurance company must pay you each month.

Q. Under the no-fault system, how long am I entitled to receive no-fault benefits? If so, how long will benefits be paid?

A. The answer to this question can be complex and shows why you should contact a lawyer soon after a motor vehicle accident.  In short, certain benefits, including wage loss benefits and household service benefits, last up to three years after a crash, if a doctor says that you need those benefits as a result of injuries from the crash.  Other benefits, including medical coverage, mileage reimbursement, and nurse’s aide or attendant care benefits, are lifetime benefits.  This means that those benefits are available to you, if needed, for the rest of your life.

Q: What are attendant care or nurse’s aide services?

A: These are benefits paid to you or on your behalf if you have been severely injured in a car crash and a health care professional states that you require personal care and supervision, including such tasks as bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, transport to a doctor, or assistance with walking, etc.  Either a professional outside agency can be hired to perform these services, or, at times, family members and/or friends can be hired and paid to provide those services.

Q: I was seriously injured in a car crash, but the police say that the crash was my fault.  Does that have any impact on the no-fault benefits that I can receive after the car crash?

A: No.  As the name “no-fault” implies, fault in the crash is irrelevant to whether you are entitled to receive no-fault benefits or how long you are entitled to receive no-fault benefits.

Q: I was injured from a car crash that was not my fault.  Describe these “thresholds” that must be satisfied in order to receive pain and suffering damages?

A: Over the past few years, Michigan Courts have spent a considerable amount of time attempting to define what injuries are serious enough to meet the minimum “thresholds.” However, you must have sustained an injury that involves a serious impairment of an important bodily function, affecting your general ability to lead a normal life. There are three distinct requirements to this definition:

  • Your ability must be objectively manifested, i.e., medically identifiable and have a physical basis. Pain must be medically substantiated to be considered an objectively manifested injury.
  • Your impairment must involve an important bodily function. Some of the factors that the Courts will consider include: the severity of your injury, the nature of the treatment required, the duration of your disability, the extent of residual impairment and prognosis for your recovery.
  • The impairment must have affected your ability to lead a normal life and constitute more than a minor interruption on your life. The impairment must have affected the course and trajectory of your entire normal life.
  • A trial court will objectively compare your lifestyle and activities prior to the accident to your lifestyle and activities after the accident. If some aspects of your entire like are not interrupted by the impairment, and your life has progressed on a normal course and trajectory, then the trial court will rule that your general ability to lead a normal life has not been affected and your injury does not meet the serious impairment of bodily function threshold.

Q: How can I put a value on a personal injury claim from a car accident?

A: Every claim is different. Many factors influence the value of each potential personal injury claim. To accurately assess the value of the potential personal injury claim, you should rely upon the knowledge and experience of your attorney. Contact the injury specialists of the Car Accident Resource Center of Michigan The Law Offices of Henry M. Hanflik at 1 (888) 905-4632.