Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Car Crashes
No one wants to imagine getting into a car crash, but unfortunately crashes happen every day. It’s important to know what to do in the days and weeks following the crash, especially if you’re seriously injured. In the content below, Sinas Dramis Law Firm provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Michigan car crashes we get from clients, in the firm’s 70-year history handling these types of cases.
Who pays for Vehicle Damage?
When you are in an automobile crash, even if it is someone else’s fault, you still first turn to your own insurance coverage if you have that for your vehicle. Your insurance company will pay for your vehicle damage depending on the type of coverage you have for collision. If they make you pay a deductible, you can pursue that recovery from the at-fault driver in what’s called a Mini-Tort claim.
If you don’t have insurance on your vehicle, you can pursue your vehicle damage from the at-fault driver, but it’s capped at $3,000. In some instances, there can be unfortunate situations where people have a loan on a car, they owe a lot of money on the loan, And the car is totaled. If they didn’t have proper insurance on the car, they only can get $3,000.
If a person’s injured in a car crash in Michigan, who pays for their medical expenses?
The answer to who pays a person’s medical expenses begins with the Michigan no-fault insurance law that governs people’s rights who are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Under that law, people have a right to pursue no-fault benefits, and one of those benefits is coverage for medical expenses. Whether a person has the right to pursue no-fault benefits depends on the coverage they have in their own household for auto insurance and some other factors that determine and affect whether a person has the right to pursue these benefits.
If you make that determination that there is the right, the person can pursue whatever is reasonably necessary for their care, recovery, and rehabilitation. However, that coverage may be capped, it can be lifetime depending on the coverage you have in your household, or it could be limited to $500,000 or $250,000, or $50,000. It all depends on the coverage you have available to you and what you purchased under your policy.
How should an injured person pursue their medical treatment if they’ve been injured in a Michigan auto accident?
You should pursue medical treatment in the same way that you pursue medical treatment for any injury or condition you sustain in life. Pursue the treatment you need, no more, no less. As far as the logistics go, you need to understand what type of no-fault coverage you have and the extent to which it covers your medical expenses.
There’s also the issue of whether you have coordinated no-fault or uncoordinated no-fault.
- If it’s coordinated, that means your health insurance must pay first. So, the practical pointer here is that you have to understand your own no-fault insurance coverage and whether other types of health insurance coverage are supposed to also pay. Make sure your medical providers have the information. So that they know who to bill and that the bills get to the right insurance company.
Who pays for the lost income when a person’s injured in a Michigan car crash?
When a person’s injured and can’t perform their job, and so, therefore, they lose income, they can pursue their income loss through their no-fault benefits. There’s a no-fault benefit known as the work loss benefit that covers 85% of their gross income, and it’s covered for up to three years. There is a good right to pursue there. If the person has an income loss over and above what’s covered by their no-fault benefits, they can pursue that excess income loss from the at-fault driver.
Again, people should also understand that their no-fault insurance could be coordinated, which means that they first have to turn to other disability insurance and have them issue their payment before they can have no-fault pay for any work loss.
What can you sue the at-fault driver for when you’ve been injured in a Michigan car accident?
The damages that you can pursue against an at-fault driver in Michigan are limited. You can pursue some vehicle damage if you don’t have your own insurance coverage. That is capped at $3,000. You can also pursue pain and suffering damages and excess economic loss that’s not covered by Michigan no-fault insurance. It’s important to understand though, in terms of the right to pursue those damages, is subject to unique standards. In some situations, people aren’t able to claim something like pain and suffering damages because of the special rules that apply to those claims under the Michigan auto no-fault law.
Who pays for the pain and suffering damages?
You pursue your pain and suffering damages against the at-fault driver. This can include the owners of vehicles driven by at-fault drivers as well. Additionally, if the at-fault driver is operating the vehicle during his or her employment, the employer can be held liable. There are other ways other parties can be held liable depending on their relationship with the driver and how the driver is using the vehicle.
What standards must be met for pain and suffering damage claims?
The right to pursue pain and suffering damages is subject to the Threshold Injury Rule. That essentially says that you cannot pursue pain and suffering damages unless you have a serious injury which is either:
- Serious disfigurement – Amputations or serious scarring.
- Serious impairment of body function – Most cases fall under this category. The rule says that a person can only recover pain and suffering damages if they sustain an objectively manifested impairment that affects their ability to lead their normal life.
Not all cases involve claims for pain and suffering.
What happens if the at-fault driver does not have no-fault insurance?
There are situations where drivers get behind the wheel, they don’t have insurance, and they seriously injure somebody in that situation. What we hope to find is that the injured person is covered with uninsured motorist benefits through their own insurance coverage or coverage that is in their household. When present on the injured driver’s policy, if needed their own insurance steps in and pays the damages on behalf of the at-fault uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist coverage is very important coverage for people to have, as well as underinsured coverage, which applies in the same way, but that’s in a situation where the at-fault driver, has insurance, but not enough insurance to cover your damages.
If you’re injured in a Michigan car crash, do you have to communicate with your own insurance company?
It is required to communicate with your own insurance company to a certain extent. You must make them aware of the crash. It involves filling out their forms. Also, you must provide them with information about your injuries. Try to answer their questions as best you can, if there are disputes that arise, you need to consider whether you should contact an attorney or some other representative to advise you on those disputes. The hope is always that people can communicate with their insurance companies and get their claims paid without needing a lawyer.
If you’ve been injured or have had a Michigan auto crash, do you need to hire an attorney?
You should immediately consider whether you should have an attorney and that depends on the facts of your crash. How much is in dispute? If serious injuries are involved, you’re probably better off hiring an attorney. Most will offer free consultation, and get you going in the right direction regardless of whether it’s determined you need legal representation.