First Responders Injured in Car Accidents
The past year has brought more tragic instances of first responders injured in car accidents by careless drivers in Michigan. The rights of those injured or tragically killed in these collisions are complex. This week on Fox 17 “Know the Law,” Tom Sinas explained these complexities and the rights of first responders involved in on-the-job car crashes.
Benefits for First Responders Injured in Automobile Collisions
As a Grand Rapids car crash attorney, the very first thing Tom begins to identify when speaking with someone involved in a serious automobile collision or their family member is where can they access benefits to meet their immediate needs, such as lost wages and medical bills. Typically, Michigan drivers would turn to their own auto no-fault insurance policy, or the policy of a relative with whom they reside.
However, it is a little different for first responders. Two different systems are generally available to first responders injured in car crashes. Both of these systems are not built around fault – meaning it doesn’t matter who caused the crash.
Worker’s Compensation Car Accidents Involving First Responders
The first system an injured first responder can often turn to is worker’s compensation. This system applies to those injured while working, including first responders.
In addition to worker’s compensation, in instances of car accidents involving first responders, the injured responder can also access benefits through the auto no-fault system.
Auto No-Fault Benefits for Injured First Responders
Just like anyone else with an auto no-fault policy in Michigan, injured first responders are additionally entitled to auto no-fault benefits. However, under our legal rules in the state of Michigan, there’s a complicated interface where the worker’s compensation system and auto no-fault system intersect. The complexities of this intersection and how the two systems affect one another is far too detailed and complex for the scope of this article and often require an analysis by an attorney experienced in handling complex auto injury claims.
Liability Claims by First Responders
While worker’s compensation and no-fault benefits provide compensation for an injured first responders needs, such as medical bills and wage loss as previously mentioned, other damages are not covered under these two systems. This is where the liability claim comes into play. Liability claims, sometimes referred to as third-party claims, compensate an injured person for quality-of-life damages, such as pain and suffering. Unlike auto no-fault and worker’s compensation claims, liability claims are built around fault. For example, recent cases involving injuries to first responders caused by a drunk driver would likely qualify the first responder involved to pursue a liability claim. Liability claims are different than worker’s compensation and auto no-fault. You can read more about claims against at-fault drivers here.
While all three systems are different, they are all interrelated. Additionally, Michigan law outlines a unique series of rules in state statute about when injured firefighters and police officers can bring a liability claim against the driver that caused the crash.
Importance of Seeking Legal Counsel in for Injured First Responders
A car accident involving a first responders is a unique example of how different legal rules come together, impacting one specific group of people. The way these systems all impact one another is incredibly complex, and those first responders injured in car accidents should seek the insight of an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney.