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What do you do if your Labor Day weekend brings a car crash?

August 31, 2017 by Steven M. Gursten

For 45 years, Labor Day has been the deadliest holiday weekend for MI motorists. Know whether you need to call an injury attorney if you’re in a car crash this weekend

Car crash

No one expects to be in a car crash (which is why most people buy car insurance with only the minimum $20,000 in bodily injury coverage and no uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage for them or their family). But they do occur. And there are times when a car crash is also statistically far more likely to occur.

Such as this Labor Day weekend.

This Labor Day, more than 1 million Michigan drivers will be on the road. Here’s what we know and can foreseeably predict about the increased likelihood of being involved in some type of auto accident this weekend:

Every year over the past 45 years, more car crash-related fatalities have occurred during this three-day holiday weekend than the Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and July 4th weekends.

The Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit reports that since 1972, the Labor Day weekend has an average of 19 road fatalities, compared with the July 4 and Thanksgiving weekend figures of 18 and the Memorial Day weekend average of 17.

Further, of the 2,642 total motor vehicle accidents that took place in Michigan across last year’s Friday-through-Monday Labor Day weekend, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning reports the majority of them — more than 37% — happened on the first day.

Of course, I also know from my own personal experience as an auto accident attorney. For the past 22 years, my phone has rung with people who’ve been hurt and are calling for help the Tuesday after Labor Day, just as it has after Thanksgiving’s “Blackout Wednesday” (the night before Thanksgiving, when drunk driving-caused car accidents occur because college students who are home for the holiday get together with friends for “the biggest bar night of the year”), and just as it has after New Year’s Eve.

All three days have one thing in common: lots of people who’ve been drinking and driving. The likelihood of alcohol playing a role in any car crash you’ve been in over Labor Day also makes this different from automobile accidents that take place at other times of the year and from other causes, such as driver inattention or texting.

How quickly should I act if I’ve been in a car crash over Labor Day?

When it comes to consulting with a Michigan auto accident attorney and filing a lawsuit for injuries from a Labor Day weekend car crash, you should try to talk to an experienced attorney as quickly as possible.

I normally tell people there is no rush to contact an auto accident attorney, but sometimes waiting too long can cause important evidence to be lost forever. It also means that other potential defendants who are also liable can escape any responsibility. As a practical matter, that means that if you’re seriously injured, you’ll be stuck with the policy limits of the driver who caused the car crash. If those policy limits are inadequate to cover all of your injuries, harms and losses from a car accident, there’s little else an attorney can do if you do not also have uninsured motorist coverage.

Labor Day car accidents are different.

It is precisely because many car accidents that occur over Labor Day involve alcohol that I normally advise people who’ve been injured in a car accident over the Labor Day holiday to not delay in contacting an experienced auto accident attorney. Without reviewing the state’s complicated dram shop laws, there often may be a commercial establishment, such as a restaurant or bar, that knowingly served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person they knew or should have known was also driving. If it’s a party at a person’s home, cottage or lake house, there can be social host liability. In either event, waiting too long means has real consequences.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Michigan, you only have one year to apply for Michigan No-Fault benefits through your own car insurance company. You are entitled to these PIP benefits by law, and they include wage loss, medical bills, help around the house (also known as “replacement services”) and nursing services (also known as attendant care).

Also, that one year may become 60 days.

If you were in a crash that involved a metropolitan transportation bus company (like SMART), you only have 60 days to file a claim. But I’ve seen too many instances of bus companies and their lawyers arguing that someone who was injured in a bus accident did not provide sufficient notice, and try using this as a loophole to escape responsibility. Bus accident cases are unique, and you should immediately consult with an accident attorney to address the shortened notice period.

Other times when you may want to contact an auto accident attorney right away

Here are some other circumstances for when you should contact an auto accident attorney immediately. These aren’t Labor Day specific. They can apply to any car crash when one or more of these things have happened.

This includes:

  • The police report is incorrect, or does not accurately portray why accident occurred.
  • Any time there is a disagreement regarding who was negligent (at fault) in causing a car crash.
  • Personal Injuries that are affecting your ability to return to work.
  • Being told by your claims adjuster that you must submit to an Examination under Oath (EUO) or that you must go to an insurance company doctor for a one-time, “so called” independent medical exam (IME) before they will pay No-Fault benefits.
  • Confusion over which insurance benefits you’re eligible for, and the time limits for filing certain forms.

Call us if you’ve been injured in a car crash over Labor Day weekend

These cases are often different, and even though I normally tell people not to rush to talk to or hire an attorney, the potential harm in losing critical evidence if there is alcohol or drinking involved — especially if you’ve been seriously injured and the drunk driver’s insurance alone may be inadequate to compensate you — means it’s better not to delay.

On behalf of all Michigan Auto Law attorneys, we wish you a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend.

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