Car accidents can cause serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Bills for treatments, hospitalizations, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and medications add up quickly. The financial impact increases if your injuries prevent you from working while you recover. Your insurance company may offer you compensation to cover your damages.
But talk with a car accident lawyer before accepting an insurance company offer.
Chances are you deserve far more compensation than what the insurance company offered you. A lawyer can review your accident to determine the full value of your case based on several factors. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.
Call 989-244-0356 for a Free Consultation.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Car Accident Claim
Some factors that that can determine the value of your case include:
In a car accident case, damages refer to the losses or harm you suffered due to the accident. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses, such as the cost of treatment, medical stays, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and any other healthcare-related expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost earnings if you missed work to recover from your injuries
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity as you did before the accident
- Home or vehicle modifications if your injuries caused disabilities
- Special equipment to assist with mobility
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium if your injury has a negative impact on your relationship with your spouse or partner
You must meet certain thresholds to qualify for some of the damages mentioned above. A car accident lawyer can determine whether your injuries qualify you to claim them.
To prove negligence in a car accident case, the injured party must establish:
- Duty of care: You must establish that the other party had a duty of care to you. For example, the other driver must operate their vehicle reasonably to ensure that they don’t endanger others.
- Breach of duty: Next, you must establish that the other party breached their duty of care. For example, a motorist who speeds breaches their duty to drive safely and protect others from harm.
- Causation: The third element links the at-fault party’s breach of duty to the accident that causes your injury. So, if the other driver loses control of their vehicle by speeding and crashes into your car, injuring you, you establish causation.
- Damages: The final element is proving that you suffered damages like medical bills and lost income due to your accident injuries.
In a car accident case, you may hold several at-fault parties responsible for the accident.
You may seek compensation from all of those at-fault parties, including:
- Negligent drivers: The most common at-fault party in a car accident case is the driver whose negligence or recklessness caused the accident. This could involve speeding, running a red light, distracted driving, drunk driving, or any other violation of traffic laws.
- Vehicle owners: If the negligent driver operated a vehicle owned by someone else, you may hold the vehicle owner liable for the accident under certain circumstances.
- Employers: If the at-fault driver operated a vehicle in the course of their employment, you may hold their employer liable for the accident.
- Government entities: If a dangerous or poorly maintained roadway caused the accident, you may hold a government entity responsible for designing, building, or maintaining the road liable. However, filing a claim against a government entity usually involves specific procedures and deadlines.
- Vehicle manufacturers: In some cases, a defect in the vehicle itself may cause a car accident. If a defect in the vehicle’s design or manufacturing contributed to the accident, you may hold the vehicle manufacturer or other parties involved in the vehicle’s supply chain liable.
Comparative Negligence Rules
Different states deal with the liability of multiple people or entities differently.
Michigan, for example, follows a modified comparative negligence rule when determining fault and liability in auto accidents. Under Michigan’s comparative negligence rule, an injured party’s ability to recover compensation may decrease by their percentage of fault.
Michigan modified comparative negligence system has a 51 percent bar. This means that an injured party can still recover damages if the court doesn’t find them more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If the injured party contributes 50 percent or less to an accident, their damages will decrease proportionately to their assigned percentage of fault.
Understanding Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance
Michigan is a no-fault state for auto insurance, meaning if you suffered injuries in a Michigan car accident, you first file a claim with your own car insurance company for compensation for your medical bills and lost earnings, regardless of fault for the accident. Similarly, the other drivers would collect compensation for their losses from their insurance company.
Required Auto Insurance in Michigan
Because Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, Michigan law requires all motorists to purchase auto insurance. The state punishes driving without automobile insurance as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and up to one year in jail. The court may also suspend your license for up to 30 days or until you provide proof of valid car insurance.
Buckle up and we’ll try to explain the confusing car insurance requirements in Michigan.
First, all auto insurance policies must have at least three parts—personal injury protection, property protection, and residual liability insurance:
Personal injury protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays all reasonable and necessary medical expenses for your injuries up to your maximum coverage amount. PIP also covers income loss and replacement services for up to three years after the accident. The insurance places additional limits on the amount of attendant care should you need help with daily living activities in your home while you recover from an accident.
PIP medical coverage options are:
- Unlimited coverage;
- $500,000 per person per accident;
- $250,000 per person per accident: To qualify, a named insured excluded from PIP medical must have qualified health coverage that is not Medicare and/or any resident relative or spouse excluding PIP medical must have qualified health coverage.
- $50,000 per accident: To qualify, the applicant or named insured must enroll in Medicaid and any spouse and all resident relatives must have qualified health coverage, enroll in Medicaid, or another auto insurance policy with PIP medical coverage must cover them.
- No Medical PIP coverage: To qualify, both Medicare Parts A and B must cover the applicant or named insured, and any spouse and all resident relatives must have qualified health coverage or another auto insurance policy with PIP medical coverage must cover them.
If you fail to select a PIP level when signing up for auto insurance, you will automatically receive and must pay for the unlimited medical coverage.
Property protection insurance (PPI) pays up to $1 million for damage your car does in Michigan to other people’s property, such as buildings or fences. It also covers any damage your car does to another person’s properly parked vehicle. PPI does not cover any other damage to vehicles.
Residual liability insurance
Michigan law also requires motorists to purchase a minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) insurance. This residual liability insurance protects insured drivers from being sued over an auto accident. This includes when the injured party does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for their treatment or a payment must compensate someone who the accident killed or seriously injured.
This portion of your insurance pays up to your coverage limit amounts if you caused damages in the following circumstances:
- You are found at-fault in a car crash in Michigan in which someone was killed, seriously injured, or permanently disfigured;
- You are involved in an accident in Michigan with a non-resident of the state who is an occupant of a motor vehicle not registered in the state;
- You are involved in an accident in another state; or
- Up to $3,000 if you are 50% or more at fault in an accident that results in damages to another person’s car which are not covered by insurance.
Motorists required minimum coverage no-fault policy will pay up to certain amounts if you harmed someone.
You may purchase higher limits, but the minimum required is:
- Up to $250,000 per person hurt or killed in an accident.
- Up to $500,000 for each accident that kills or hurts several people.
- Up to $10,000 for property damage in another state.
If Your Accident Expenses Exceed Your Policy Limits
If the other party caused an accident that injures you, you may hold the other driver liable for your pain and suffering, as well as any medical costs and other care that exceeds your own policy’s limits. The bodily injury liability limit of the at-fault driver’s policy will pay for these damages, but only up to the amount they choose. If your damages exceed this level, you may have grounds to file a car accident lawsuit in civil court to recoup your losses.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover the Maximum Compensation You Deserve
Car insurance companies are notorious for offering low settlement offers that don’t cover the full value of the damages you suffered. A car accident lawyer will look out for your best interests and determine the full extent of your damages. Talk with a car accident lawyer, get your free consultation, and find out what your case is really worth. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.