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I’ve been in a car accident in Michigan, now what do I do?

Answers to frequently asked questions about dealing with auto insurance, medical issues and No-Fault claims

Immediately following a car accident, there are so many important considerations to make. Our car accident attorneys have highlighted the most time-sensitive precautions below.

If you’d like to speak with a car accident attorney, call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. We can answer all of your questions at no cost.

Should I contact police and seek medical attention after the Michigan car accident?

Following any car accident in Michigan, a car accident victim should definitely contact the nearest police department and file a police report. After everything settles down, it’s important to obtain a copy of the police report. You can contact the police department where your accident occurred to order a copy. Many reports can be ordered online.

What information should I document about the car crash?

In Michigan, it’s very important to obtain contact information for any passengers and witnesses involved in the recent car accident. Contact information includes name, phone number, address, insurance company and license plate. If personal injuries suffered make it difficult to identify circumstances that may have contributed to the car accident, friends or family should aid the injured victim at the car accident scene. This information will be extremely important if it becomes necessary to hire a Michigan car accident attorney.

All too often, the driver who caused an auto accident will change his or her story along the way. If witness information is not preserved at the scene of the car accident or shortly thereafter, or if it’s missing from the police investigation, it will become much more difficult to prove negligence.

Keep in mind, mistakes can be made by the police in determining who is at fault for the car accident. An attorney can often help with the auto accident investigation to protect car accident victims’ rights, and identify the cause and circumstances before evidence is lost or destroyed.

Should I seek medical treatment following the car accident?

You should immediately seek medical attention for any injuries that occurred in the crash. Be sure to report any minor pain that may seem less important at the time, in comparison to more serious car accident injuries. Significant injuries are often “masked” early on, making it difficult to link them to the recent auto accident if not thoroughly documented.

It’s important that you report ALL Injuries to EMS and Emergency Room personnel. It is especially critical to tell emergency workers or ER doctors if you experienced any loss of consciousness as a result of the accident. Insist that medical personnel record all of your injuries.

Although they may initially appear to be minor, be sure to report symptoms resulting from the accident such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Blurred vision
  • Problems with short-term memory or concentration
  • Emotional changes

Seek additional medical attention if necessary. Return to your medical provider if you experience any new symptoms that were not reported during initial treatment.

How do I document my personal injuries related to my car accident?

Keep good records:

  • Document all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays.
  • Be sure to note the date each service was provided and the amount you were charged.
  • Keep a diary of your day-to-day pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc.
  • Record how your injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships.
  • Take photographs of all of your injuries, as soon after the accident as possible.
  • Keep copies of all medical bills, medical records and other documents.

Make sure you attend all of your medical appointments. Insurance adjusters often contend that an accident victim who fails to attend his or her doctor’s appointment must not be experiencing pain.

I heard that Michigan is a “No-Fault” state. How does that pertain to my car accident?

The term No-Fault means that both parties involved in a car accident are entitled to benefits from their auto insurance companies, no matter who caused the accident. Michigan No-Fault law can become very complicated due to several additional issues such as different insurance policies, workers compensation and unemployment benefits. That’s why it’s best to retain a car accident attorney who has much experience handling auto negligence cases involving No-Fault insurance.

What’s the first step to take with my auto insurance company?

Michigan auto insurance companies must be immediately notified of the car accident. In Michigan, there is a strict one-year time limit to notify your own (first-party lawsuit) No-Fault insurance company of your car accident, and to file your application for benefits. Also, there is a three-year time limit to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver’s (third-party lawsuit) car insurance company.

Still, there are different notification requirements that vary depending on the insurance company. Check your Michigan insurance policy for VERY specific notification requirements pertaining to your car accident.

In addition to the above statutory deadlines, many Michigan car insurance policies pose even stricter “policy driven” notification requirement and can change them at any time — such as 30 days notice for hit-and-run car accidents. Regretfully, the car accident attorneys at Michigan Auto Law have seen far too many unadvised clients assume that their car insurance policies were consistent with Michigan No-Fault timelines of one-year or three years. In many cases, the contractual language of the policy and the filing limits were far more restrictive, and people lost important No-Fault insurance benefits.

It is strongly recommended that you discuss any questions about notice and filing with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney. Call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028 for help now.

Should I sign the release from my auto insurance claims adjuster or give a statement?

No. Never give “statements” to an auto insurance claims adjuster in Michigan. And never sign a release or allow the adjuster look at the car damage without the presence of a car accident attorney. Claims adjusters often try to get recorded statements early trying to minimize pain and injuries (for use later in court when trying to undermine the car accident victim). Often, when there is low car damage, insurance adjusters try to claim that no one could have been seriously injured in the car accident.

Again, it’s recommended that nothing be discussed or signed directly after any car accident, in order to protect your rights. Even limited property damage releases will contain unrelated language releasing all personal injuries suffered from a car accident, whether known or unknown. Too many people rush into signing these documents without having the release language reviewed by a Michigan car accident attorney, and may lose their right to sue the negligent driver later – or receive critical No-Fault benefits – for their car accident-related injuries. For more information, read about 17 mistakes that can ruin your car accident lawsuit.

What if the driver who hit me does not have auto insurance?

If you have No-Fault insurance and the other driver involved does not have insurance, you are still entitled to No-Fault benefits, regardless of who was at fault.

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) provide a valuable source of legal recovery – for pain and suffering damage – when someone is injured in a car accident by another driver who is uninsured or does not have adequate insurance. Check your No-Fault insurance policy to see if you have this coverage. If you do not have this coverage, call one of our car accident attorneys at (800) 777-0028. We can help you get everything you deserve following a serious crash.

Regarding car damage, when you are hit by an uninsured driver, you are not limited to the $500 mini-tort maximum for your car damage.

How do I get my No-Fault insurance benefits?

You must submit an application for benefits form with your insurance company. In Michigan, this is extremely important – and absolutely essential for protecting your No-Fault rights if you were involved in a car accident. There is no danger in completing this form, even if car accident injuries do not seem severe. This form is required to receive five important No-Fault insurance benefits:

  • Medical costs
  • Mileage for travel to your medical appointments
  • Wage loss
  • Replacement services
  • Attendant care benefits (based on severity of the car accident injuries).

Again, this cannot be stressed enough – this application must be filed within one year – no exceptions. You can request the form from you Michigan auto insurance company. Be as accurate and complete as possible. If you need help filing out your application for benefits, you can call one of our car accident attorneys at (800) 777-0028. There is no cost or obligation.

Am I going to get money for my vehicle damage?

Whether you receive compensation for your vehicle that was destroyed in a car accident is based on what is specified in your individual insurance policy regarding coverage for collision and property damage.

However, according to the Michigan mini tort law, you are entitled to up to $1,000 (as of October 1, 2012) for any deductible that insurance doesn’t otherwise pay.

Need more information about your Michigan car accident

The information above is a simplified summary of the most important things to address immediately following an auto accident in Michigan. For more FAQs, take a look at our pages on the Michigan No-Fault law and your car accident and filing a lawsuit.

You can only benefit by contacting a Michigan car accident attorney for a free case evaluation. Call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028. There’s absolutely no fee or obligation. You can also fill out our free consultation form.

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