What’s the average car accident settlement in Michigan?
There is no public or private entity, at either the state or the national level, that collects, updates, reports and/or publishes that data. Because of this, and also the wide variety of factors that can impact the amount of damages awards, there’s no way to calculate an average settlement.
Looking just at the results that Michigan Auto Law has obtained for our clients, we have many Michigan car accident settlements that exceed $1 million, including, but not limited to a $7 million pain and suffering settlement, a $5.65 million traumatic brain injury verdict, and a $2.5 million settlement for back and neck injuries.
How can I get car accident compensation in Michigan?
- There are three ways that auto accident victims in Michigan can receive pain and suffering compensation after having been injured in a car crash:
- A pre-lawsuit settlement.
- A settlement after a lawsuit has been filed.
- A jury returns a verdict in favor of the car accident, directing how much the at-fault driver (as well as his or her auto insurer) must pay to the victim for the pain and suffering his or her negligence has caused.
How long will it take for me to get my car accident settlement?
Unfortunately, there is no average time for how long a car accident settlement can take in Michigan. There are so many variables at work that it’s impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to settle an automobile crash case in Michigan.
However, there are three critical factors in every case that can drastically affect how quickly a case settles or how long it’s dragged out:
- The auto insurance company for the at-fault driver.
- The adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
- The defense lawyer assigned to represent the at-fault driver (though the lawyer, in reality, has the insurer’s interests (i.e., avoiding having to pay benefits, boosting profits) as his or her top priority).
How much should I expect from my car accident settlement in Michigan?
Many important factors affect how much you can expect from a Michigan car accident settlement – or how much a jury awards with its verdict in Michigan. However, what those factors are and which ones are the most important depends on the facts of each case.
Based on the extensive litigation experience of the car accident lawyers at Michigan Auto Law, we’ve identified the following “Michigan car accident settlement factors” as being frequently among the most important in most cases.
How much is my case worth?
Being represented by a lawyer
The chances of getting a fair settlement or verdict are greatly improved if you are represented and protected by a lawyer who is both:
- experienced in litigating motor vehicle accident cases, and
- has a reputation for being willing to take a case to trial if the Michigan car accident settlement offers are too low.
Insurers know who the “superstar” lawyers are in a given area, and they will take cases more seriously and more generous car accident settlement offers in cases where the victim’s lawyer has a reputation and track record for taking solid cases, working tirelessly, never being afraid to go to trial and, most importantly, winning in front of juries.
Insurance policy limits
The insurance coverage is the most important factor in determining what the value of Michigan car accident settlements are worth. As such, the relevant policy limits for purposes of determining a case’s potential settlement value include:
- Liability policy limit of the at-fault driver (and owner of the vehicle) who crashed into the victim
- UM (uninsured motorist) or UIM (underinsured motorist) policy limits for the car accident victim
- Liability policy limit for a truck or trucking company (federal law sets the minimum bodily injury liability policy limit at $750,000).
State in which your car accident occurs
A car crash victim’s right to sue for pain and suffering compensation – and whether there are any limitations on that right – depends on the laws of the state in which his or her accident occurred and whether it is a no-fault state or a “pure tort” state.
Liability or fault
Determining who was at fault in causing the auto accident that injured a victim is a crucial factor in determining the potential Michigan car accident settlement value of a case.
Injury information includes medical diagnosis of the injury, type of injury, symptoms and duration of symptoms, injury-related impairments and duration, and medical treatment for injury.
Diagnostic testing and imaging
Assuming a car accident victim’s injuries can be detected by diagnostic testing and imaging (unfortunately, all serious injuries can), this evidence is essential for successful Michigan car accident settlements. Medical tests are used to prove the existence of the injuries that are causing pain, impairment, and disability and ensure that victims get properly referred to the appropriate medical specialist.
Insurance company adjusters will want to know the areas of practice of the doctors who are treating the victim, especially when those treaters are specialists themselves.
How much time has the victim missed from work? Was the victim disabled from work by a treating doctor? Does a victim’s time off-work and/or monthly wages exceed the statutorily prescribed amounts?
Although economic damages such as wage loss are generally covered by no-fault benefits, in many cases the need for wage loss benefits exceeds the time and/or dollar amount limits in the statute and, thus, excess wage loss benefits may be warranted.
In order to sue for pain and suffering under Michigan’s no-fault law, a car accident victim must prove he or she suffered “an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function that affects the person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life.” Although the no-fault Law doesn’t specifically define what an “impairment” is, the Michigan Supreme Court (in its landmark ruling in McCormick v. Carrier) explained that “an impairment generally relates to the effect” of a victim’s injury (i.e., “the actual damage or wound”) on “a particular body function.”
Insurance company claims-handling software
Because of Colossus and other insurance company claims software programs, the process of litigating Michigan car accident settlements has been turned on its head. Offers for Michigan car accident settlements now come from a computer, with the adjuster relegated to the task of merely feeding data and information into the computer and with attorneys being shut out of the process completely.