What To Do After A Car Accident In Michigan: 9 Steps To Take
Save this useful what to do after a car accident in Michigan checklist with important medical advice and lawsuit timelines
Immediately after a car accident in Michigan, there are so many important steps to take. Our attorneys have highlighted the most time-sensitive precautions below.
If you’d like to speak with an attorney, call Michigan Auto Law at (248) 353-7575. There’s no fee or obligation.
Check out our video to learn more:
What To Do At The Scene Of A Car Accident
- Contact the police
- Seek medical treatment immediately
- Report and document ALL injuries
- Never give statements or sign releases
- File a No-Fault benefits application
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Attend all medical appointments
- Keep good records
- Comply with notice requirements
Contact the police
After a car accident in Michigan, you must file a police report if someone has been injured or killed or if the vehicle damage is more than $1,000. Importantly, a police report will document details about the accident, statements of the people involved including witnesses, and insurance information.
Depending on the terms of your auto insurance policy, you may also be required to file your police report within a certain amount of time in order to make a claim for coverage. This is frequently the case with “uninsured motorist” and “underinsured motorist coverage.”
Seek medical treatment immediately
It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident in Michigan even if you feel your injuries are only minor.
Many injuries that initially appear to be insignificant can later cause substantial pain and discomfort. These injuries are often referred to as delayed injuries and they must be documented as soon as symptoms appear so you can prove they were caused by the crash and not some other event.
It is also important to return to your doctor if you experience any new symptoms that were not apparent during initial treatment.
Report and document ALL injuries
After a car accident in Michigan, it is essential that you report all of your injuries including any loss of consciousness to the first responders and to the emergency room personnel. You must also insist that medical personnel document and record all of your injuries.
Often, very serious injuries are not experienced immediately after the accident. Make a detailed list of all injuries, pain and other symptoms you are suffering from even if a symptom seems to be minor at the time.
Be sure to report and document any or all of the following symptoms after your auto accident:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Blurred vision
- Problems with short-term memory or concentration
- Emotional changes
Never give statements or sign releases
Never give “statements” to an auto insurance claims adjuster and never sign releases presented to you by an insurance claims adjuster unless and until you have talked with an attorney first. Additionally, never allow the insurance adjuster to look at your vehicle damage without your attorney present.
Why? Because claims adjusters try to minimize crash survivors’ pain and injuries and one of the ways they do it is by getting recorded statements before the survivors have been able to hire and get advice from a lawyer who is looking out for the survivors’ best interests.
By catching survivors after a car accident in Michigan, while they are still in shock and when their guard is down, the adjusters are able to obtain statements that will be used later in court to try to undermine the survivor’s claim. Often, when there is low vehicle damage, insurance adjusters try to argue that no one could have been seriously injured in the accident.
Also, it is not uncommon for adjusters to try to use the statements to shift blame for the car accident to the Michigan crash survivor.
Releases are just dangerous as statements for car crash survivors.
It is not uncommon that an insurance adjuster’s release – even one for limited property damage or mini tort – will contain unrelated language that effectively “settles” the crash survivor’s claim for substantially less than it is worth and extinguishes the survivor’s right to recover No-Fault benefits, to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation, and/or to collect “uninsured motorist” or “underinsured motorist” benefits.
These settlement tactics by the insurance companies are not uncommon and their sole purpose is to get the survivor to give up his or her rights to compensation and benefits and, thus, cut-off or limit the insurance company’s legal liability to pay out on the survivor’s claim.
Given the stakes for crash survivors and their families, it is essential that a lawyer who is looking out for the survivor’s best interests review and approve any and all releases before a crash survivor considers signing.
File a No-Fault benefits application
You must file an application for No-Fault benefits with your auto insurance company in order to receive benefits to pay for your accident-related medical bills and to reimburse you for lost wages if your injuries have disabled you from returning to work.
In Michigan, you have one (1) year from the date of your car accident to file your application for No-Fault benefits with your insurer, the insurer of your spouse or a relative who lives in your home, or with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
Filing your application on time is essential for protecting your No-Fault rights. Failure to do so with disqualify you forever from recovering No-Fault benefits and/or being able to sue for unpaid benefits.
We recommend filing your No-Fault benefits application immediately because the sooner you apply the sooner that you will begin to receive to your No-Fault PIP benefits which include:
- Medical benefits
- Wage loss
- Replacement services (household services)
- Mileage reimbursement for medical appointments
- Attendant care benefits (nursing services)
Obtain a copy of your police report
Contact the police department where your accident occurred to order a copy of your police report.
You can also order a copy of the traffic crash report (which is called a “UD-10”) for your accident through the Michigan State Police’s “Traffic Crash Purchasing System.”
Attend all medical appointments
After a car accident in Michigan make sure to attend all of your medical appointments and if for some reason you cannot make one, be sure to cancel, reschedule and attend on the rescheduled date.
It is imperative that you continue treatment for your personal injuries, whether it be physical therapy and occupational therapy, or routine follow-ups with your family doctor.
It is key to helping you with your medical recovery and with rebuilding your life.
Additionally, it is important for your claim and any case you may file in court because insurance adjusters will often contend that a car accident survivor in Michigan who fails to attend his or her doctor’s appointment must not be experiencing pain and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits or compensation.
Read why getting the right medical care at the right time is important.
Keep good records after a car accident in Michigan
- Document all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents and x-rays.
- Note the date each service was provided and the amount you were charged.
- Keep a diary of your daily pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc.
- Write down how your personal injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships.
- Take photos of all of your injuries, as soon after the accident as possible.
- Keep copies of all medical bills, medical records and other documents.
Comply with notice requirements
After a car accident in Michigan it is important to check your auto insurance policy to see if there are any specific notice requirements. It is equally important that you comply with the notice requirements contained in your policy.
This is where it is best to have any attorney who is looking out for your best interests review the fine print in your insurance policy to ensure that you are doing everything you need to do in order to protect your rights to benefits and compensation.
Although the legislature in Michigan has set out certain deadlines that all insurance companies and crash survivors must abide by – such as the one-year limit for filing an application for No-Fault benefits – some insurance companies include VERY specific notification requirements for coverages that are not addressed by the state’s No-Fault auto insurance law.
Specifically, it is not uncommon in the case of a hit-and-run auto accident for an insurer to require a crash survivor to file a police report within 24 hours of the crash and/or to make a written report to the insurer within 30 days of the crash. Failure to meet either or both deadlines could jeopardize a survivor’s rights to “uninsured motorist” and/or “underinsured motorist” benefits as well as collision and comprehensive coverage, depending on the victim’s insurer and the terms of his or her policy.
Our attorneys have seen far too many unadvised crash survivors assume that their auto insurance policies were consistent with Michigan No-Fault timelines. In many cases, the contractual language of the policy and the filing limits were far more restrictive. If accident survivors fail to adhere to these notification requirements on time, they can lose important coverage.
Have questions about what to do after a car accident in Michigan? Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation
If you have questions about what to do after a car accident in Michigan and about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can speak to an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer at (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced auto accident attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.