When Should I Get An Attorney For A Car Accident?
It is never too soon to get an attorney after a car accident in Michigan.
Notice that I said “in Michigan.”
That’s an important distinction because in most states you don’t need to hire an attorney after a car accident right away.
But in Michigan if you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you have some very important legal rights that people in other states do not have. You have the legal right to collect No-Fault PIP benefits to help you with your accident-related medical bills and to cover your lost wages if you are disabled from work. In addition, if it turns out the person who caused your accident is uninsured, many insurance companies now have contractual notice provisions. Some of these notice periods are as little as 30 days and if you do not notify your insurance company during this time period you will lose your ability to recover against the uninsured motorist coverage in your insurance policy.
Also you should be aware that the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled, in possibly one of the worst decisions that I have ever read, that your adjuster does not have to tell you any of this – and in fact can even deny important benefits that you are entitled to. The Michigan Supreme Court has essentially taken the position of “buyer beware” with your own insurance company, and that you should not be relying on your own insurance company to tell you everything you may be entitled to. In other words, our Court has said it is expected – and even unreasonable not to – get an attorney after a car accident right away.
All of this is with your own insurance company. But you also have the right to recover compensation for your injuries and your pain and suffering against the negligent driver who caused the accident.
That’s why it’s never too soon to get an attorney after a car accident in Michigan. A car crash victim needs someone who is on their side, someone who will help them, protect them, and explain the law to them.
When should I get an attorney for a car accident in Michigan?
The “rule of thumb” on when to get a an attorney after a car accident in Michigan is when: (1) you have questions about your legal rights or what you should do; (2) you’ve been injured; (3) the auto insurance company is not treating you honestly or fairly; and (4) you’re not getting the medical care you need.
Based on over 25 years of helping victims from around the state of Michigan, my own advice is simple: it never hurts to pick up the phone and ask a question.
People should not be afraid of this costing them money because the call is always free and almost all lawyers are paid by a contingency fee – meaning they only get paid if you do. People should seek legal advice after a motor vehicle crash for any questions they have or any reason they think necessary. Below are some specific reasons to get a an attorney for a car accident in Michigan:
- You should get an attorney after a car accident if it resulted in serious personal injury or wrongful death. It’s also critically important to remember that some serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, are not always immediately apparent at the crash scene. Spinal injuries, such as ruptured or herniated discs, can also seem minor or insignificant but can quickly become more serious as more disc material pushes through the tear in the days that follow your crash. The list of seemingly minor injuries that can become life-altering after a collision is unfortunately quite long.
- Questions about your own legal rights and No-Fault insurance benefits after a collision. We hear from victims who have suffered personal injuries that are preventing them from returning to work and they want to know if and how No-Fault can help them pay their bills.
- Any release you are asked to sign. Your own insurance company or the insurance company for the person who caused the crash is asking you to sign a release.
- If you have uninsured motorist and/or underinsured motorist coverage and you have been involved in a collision, a legal adviser will help you understand what you need to do and what you must show to recover the benefits you’re entitled to.
- If you were involved in a hit-and-run collision, then you should get a lawyer as they will be able to explain how your uninsured motorist coverage can help you and anyone else in your family that was injured.
- You should get an attorney for a car accident in Michigan immediately whenever an insurance company is offering you money to settle your claim. This could be the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own No-Fault auto insurance company. Do not agree to settle and do not sign any settlement agreements without reviewing the settlement first with an experienced lawyer. IMPORTANT: The insurance industry’s own data shows that having an experienced legal counselor results in settlement amounts that average four times higher than settlements without . They are not calling you to try to settle to be nice. They are calling you to try to settle because they know it will save them money.
- If there is any question as to who is at fault or who caused the crash. The police report isn’t always accurate. You should get an attorney for a car accident immediately if there’s any disagreement regarding who is at fault in causing a crash.
- Injured people can always call with questions about how to get their accident-related medical expenses paid through their No-Fault auto insurance coverage. As I wrote above, you unfortunately cannot always depend on your own claims adjuster to be honest and upfront with you about what you are entitled to.
- Many of the calls we get from victims involve their frustration and desperation when their auto insurance companies refuse to pay or cut-off payment of No-Fault benefits. If they just did their job and did what they are supposed to do, we’d be a lot less busy.
- Victims frequently get an attorney after a car accident when they experience delays from their insurance claims adjuster. Sadly, it is normal to experience unreturned phone calls, getting your claim file passed along to different insurance adjusters, and multiple medical record requests for the same information over and over again as a way to delay or deny claims.
- When people are told by their claims adjuster that they must submit to an Examination under Oath (EUO) or that they will have to see an insurance company doctor for a one-time independent medical exam (IME) before they will be paid any further No-Fault benefits.
- You should get an attorney after a car accident when important medical tests and referrals to specialists are denied or unreasonably delayed by a victim’s own insurance company.
- Understanding the complex relationship between a person’s auto insurance policy and health insurance policy is difficult enough under normal circumstances. Victims can greatly benefit when they get an attorney for a car accident because they can get advice on who pays for what and which insurance company bills should be submitted to first.
- You should get an attorney after a car accident if you were injured because many victims don’t know that if any reimbursable expenses are not paid by their No-Fault insurance carrier, a lawsuit must be filed by a Michigan lawyer within 12 months from the date the expense was incurred. If not, the victim will forfeit and permanently lose the right to reimbursement from the insurance company – and the accident victim will be responsible for the incurred bill or expense.
- Victims and their families frequently have questions about No-Fault attendant care benefits. Questions such as how many hours of attendant care are covered and how much will the insurance company pay to care providers are very common. The amount of money that an insurance company will pay for attendant care can vary wildly depending on the company. In these situations, a good attendant care can often double or triple the amount that an insurance company will pay.
- It’s very common – and completely understandable – that victims will call for legal advice to learn what their rights are and what their legal options may be. If our lawyers conclude that you do not need to get an attorney after a car accident, we will tell you. It’s not in your interest, or ours, to start an unnecessary lawsuit. But it is always a good idea to be fully informed on what you are entitled to.
These are just some of the reasons why a might need to get an attorney after a car accident in Michigan. There are a lot more. It is never a waste of your time to talk to an experienced legal expert. One free phone call can save you from countless future lawsuit mistakes.
Why should you get a lawyer after a car accident in Michigan?
Another reason to get a lawyer after a car accident in Michigan is to help avoid legal loopholes. Most victims don’t know or aren’t aware of them and if the loopholes are not dealt with properly, then victims could be denied the benefits and compensation they are entitled to.
Many of these loopholes take the form of “notice” requirements which it is important to get an attorney after a car accident. For instance:
- Victims have a limited amount of time to file an application for No-Fault benefits (which is commonly referred to as a “written notice of injury”) with their auto insurance companies.
- Bus accident lawsuits against transportation companies require very early, specific notice.
- Notice of claims for uninsured motorist coverage after a hit-and-run accident must frequently be made within 30 days of the accident.
- Underinsured motorist coverage often has the same requirement.
- There are very specific notice requirements for personal injury claims against the State of Michigan and against the federal government.
- Timing of notices in truck accident cases is crucial because trucking companies are allowed to legally destroy critical evidence that can prove negligence as early as three months following a serious truck crash.
Need help? Contact us today!
If you have been injured and need an attorney for a car accident in Michigan you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. There is absolutely no cost or obligation.
Plus, order your free copy of Michigan Auto Law’s “How to Choose the Right Lawyer.” In our free book, you will learn about the 10 most important factors you need to consider when hiring the right lawyer to help you and your family: Results, Client Care, Focus, Services, Leadership, Knowledge, Commitment, Involvement, Resources and Compensation.