What To Do After A Rear End Car Accident
When you have been injured in a rear end car accident in Michigan, there are important steps that you should take immediately to protect your health, safety and your legal rights to recover pain and suffering compensation and No-Fault benefits to pay for your medical bills and lost wages.
Safety steps after a rear end car accident
To protect yourself and protect your legal rights, follow these safety steps if you have been injured in a rear end car accident:
- Seek medical treatment now and if you experience new symptoms later
- Report ALL injuries to first responders and emergency room personnel
- Never give statements to an insurance adjuster or sign a release without first talking to your lawyer who is looking out for your best interests
- Notify your insurance company immediately and file an application for benefits
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Attend all medical appointments
- Keep good records
- Check your auto insurance policy for very specific notice requirements
Pain and suffering compensation
If you have been injured in a rear end car accident, then you may be able to recover pain and suffering damages as well as excess medical expenses and lost wages and other economic damages from the at-fault driver who caused the crash.
A successful pain and suffering compensation claim will require you to show that you suffered a “serious impairment of body function” as a result of your injuries from the crash. The “serious impairment” requirement is the legal threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault law for crash victims seeking to recover “noneconomic loss” damages.
Excess medical expenses and excess lost wages are economic damages you may be able to recover from the at-fault driver to pay for the medical bills and the lost income that are not covered by the applicable auto insurance policy and/or what you’re legally entitled to under the No-Fault law.
You have three years after the date of your crash to sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering compensation. (MCL 600.5805(2))
Compensation for a rear end car accident
The compensation that you may be able to recover after being injured in a rear end car accident will largely come from the at-fault driver’s third party car insurance liability coverage. Under Michigan law, Michigan law requires that drivers carry minimum liability limits of $250,000/$500,000 – although drivers “may choose to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a) and (b), (5))
If the vehicle being driven by the at-fault driver who injured you in the crash was an Uber or Lyft or a truck or commercial vehicle, then his or her liability insurance coverage limits may be higher.
Recovering No-Fault benefits
When you have been injured in a rear end car accident, you can recover No-Fault PIP benefits (which are also called “personal injury protection” benefits) that will help pay for your medical bills, lost wages (if your injuries disabled you from working), transportation and mileage costs for traveling to and from doctor appointments as well as household replacement services and attendant care services.
Unlike pain and suffering compensation, No-Fault benefits are available to the victim of a crash “without regard to fault.” (MCL 500.3105(2))
To start receiving No-Fault benefits, you must file an application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called a “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
If you do not file this application within one year of your crash, then you will forever lose your right to claim and sue for No-Fault benefits.
Who pays your No-Fault benefits after a rear end car accident?
Unlike pain and suffering compensation, your No-Fault benefits after a rear end car accident are not paid by the at-fault driver or his or her auto insurance company. Your No-Fault benefits will be paid by the car insurance company that is deemed to be responsible under the No-Fault law’s “priority” rules.
That means your No-Fault benefits could be paid by one of the following sources:
- Your own No-Fault auto insurance company which issued the policy for your own personal motor vehicle in which you are the named insured. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- The No-Fault auto insurance company that issued a policy to your spouse on his or her own motor vehicle. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- The No-Fault auto insurance company that issued a policy to a resident relative on his or her own motor vehicle. (MCL 500.3114(1))
- The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan if No-Fault coverage is not available through any of the sources above. (MCL 500.3114) The Michigan Assigned Claims Plan assigns companies to handle No-Fault claims for people injured in crashes who have no other source of No-Fault coverage.
Your No-Fault medical coverage, which will help you to pay your medical bills after you were injured in a rear end car accident will depend on – and be limited by – the No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage level that was selected in the policy through which you are claiming No-Fault benefits. (MCL 500.3107c(5); 500.3107d(5))
Starting in policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020, the No-Fault medical coverage level that applies to your claim for No-Fault benefits will be one of the following:
- $50,000 for crash-related medical expenses (when the named insured on the policy is “enrolled in Medicaid”) (MCL 500.3107c(1)(a))
- $250,000 for crash-related medical expenses (MCL 500.3107c(1)(b))
- $500,000 for on crash-related medical expenses (MCL 500.3107c(1)(c))
- Unlimited or no dollar-amount limit for crash-related medical expenses (MCL 500.3107c(1)(d))
- No No-Fault coverage for automobile crash-related medical expenses (Medicare/Opt-out): This occurs when the named insured on the policy has Medicare and has exercised his or her right to opt-out of No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage altogether (MCL 500.3107d(1))
No-Fault medical coverage through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan is capped at $250,000. (MCL 500.3172(7)(a))
Call A Michigan Auto Law Attorney For A Free Consultation
If you have questions about what to do after a rear end car accident, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced automobile crash attorneys to discuss your rights and what compensation and benefits you may be entitled to under the law. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.