Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be overwhelming. Figuring out what to do first is often confusing to many, especially while trying to get necessary medical care for any injuries sustained. This period of confusion makes it easy for accident victims to miss important deadlines that could impact their ability to be compensated for medical costs and other losses.
Jay Trucks talks about critical deadlines after a car crash, including exceptions you should know about and how an attorney can benefit your ability to seek compensation.
Our car crash accident lawyers in Grand Rapids are experienced and dedicated to helping injured victims throughout Michigan. We are prepared to help and provide a completely free consultation where you can find out about your legal options and get answers to your questions.
Free Case Review. Call today: (800) 762-8623
How Soon Do You Have to Call Police?
Do not wait to contact police after a car crash that causes property damage or physical injury – even if you did not cause or contribute to the cause of the crash.
While accident victims are not responsible for filing a police report, they are required, under Michigan state law, to immediately report a crash to the police any time there is:
- Property damages estimated at $1,000 or greater
- Injury or death of one or more individuals involved in the crash
In addition to meeting your responsibility under the law, there are also advantages to having a police report filed after your crash. Be sure to get a copy of this report immediately as it can help to link your injuries and other damages to the accident.
Seeking Medical Care
While not an official legal deadline, you should always seek medical care immediately after any car crash. Waiting – even for a few hours - to be examined by a medical professional could risk both your health and any legal claim that you intend to file.
If there is no medical record of your injury after a crash, then the insurance company has room to argue that you could have been injured somewhere else.
When to Notify Your Insurance Provider
Although you generally have one year from the date of an accident to file a no-fault insurance claim in Michigan, there are many reasons why you should notify your insurer immediately:
- The one-year rule does not apply in every situation: Some claims have a significantly shorter filing deadline allowing just 24 hours to report the crash. If a policyholder misses this deadline, he or she may lose his or her ability to seek no-fault benefits. Deadlines that apply to a victim’s no-fault benefits claim also apply to those seeking damages on behalf of an insured victim who suffered a fatal injury.
- Waiting to report the accident also delays your no-fault insurance claim: This delay means you will also have to wait longer to receive compensation from your no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) policy, including your medical costs, lost wages and other benefits.
No one wants to discover they missed an important deadline after a crash, especially if they are counting on being compensated for injuries and other losses. To help avoid this, it is a good idea to regularly review the terms of your insurance policy – including the fine print. When you find something that you do not fully understand, contact your insurer to clarify those terms and/or make any necessary changes to your coverage.
How to Notify Your Insurance Provider
Many insurance companies may have smartphone apps that allow you to submit a notice of claim. For your no-fault benefits claim, however, you must submit a written request and include other documentation, such as:
- A completed PIP benefits form – which you can request from your insurer
- Details of the type and severity of your injuries in a written note from your doctor
- Lost wages form – if applicable – providing employment details
Before providing more than basic details about your accident to your insurance company, we strongly recommend that you first contact a qualified and experienced lawyer for legal help. While having an attorney to handle your claim is by no means required, it can help ensure that your legal rights are protected. Additionally, your attorney can communicate with your insurer and ensure that you do not miss any deadlines or share information that your insurance company can later use against you.
Deadline for Seeking Additional Damages
There is a deadline for filing a liability claim to seek compensation for additional damages outside of a no-fault benefits claim, such as pain and suffering. Not everyone will meet the threshold for this type of claim, but if an attorney determines that you may be eligible, you have just three years from the date of your accident to file.
Accident victims often think three years is a long time, but that window goes quickly during a legal process. Attorneys need this time to properly investigate what happened, gather evidence and prepare a strong claim on your behalf.
Getting Legal Help from an Experienced Lawyer
At Jay Trucks, we have been representing injured victims in Michigan for decades, recovering millions on behalf of our clients. If we represent you, we are prepared to fully handle every aspect of your case – including thoroughly investigating the cause - so you can focus on getting the medical care you need.
Call our law offices 24/7 to get started. We provide a free, no-obligation legal consultation to determine if you have a case. If you choose to hire our services, you can do so without paying any upfront costs or fees. We do not get paid our fees until you are compensated.
Millions Recovered. (800) 762-8623