MICHIGAN AUTO ACCIDENT FAQ
SHOULD I MAKE A STATEMENT TO THE AT FAULT DRIVER’S INSURANCE COMPANY IF THEY CALL?
Although every case is different, you should likely not make a statement to any insurance representative without at least making a call to an attorney first. Remember, at our office, the call is free. You need to be sure that the situation is handled properly from the beginning.
HOW MUCH ARE MY INJURIES WORTH?
Every case is different. There are several factors that go into establishing the value of the claim. As such, you should call our office as shortly after the incident as possible to make sure that the claim is properly handled from the beginning.
DO MY INJURIES MEET THE REQUIRED THRESHOLD?
Since the courts interpret the definition of the threshold, and since new cases are decided frequently, the interpretation of the threshold changes regularly. As such, competent legal advice is highly recommended.
HOW IS THE “THRESHOLD” DEFINED IN MICHIGAN?
For an injury to meet the Michigan threshold, the injury must be “objectively manifested” and it must impair your ability to lead your normal life.
HOW CAN I HELP VERIFY WHETHER MY INJURIES MEET THE THRESHOLD?
If you or someone that you know was injured, you should immediately seek proper medical attention. Also, since Michigan requires that your injuries impair your ability to lead your normal life, keep a list of activities that you cannot perform as a result of your injuries (i.e. work, bathe, drive, household chores, social activities, etc.).
DOES THE THRESHOLD APPLY TO FIRST PARTY OR NO FAULT CLAIMS?
WHAT IS “OBJECTIVE MANIFESTATION” OF AN INJURY?
Generally it is any injury that would be medically identifiable by testing such as an xray, MRI, emg, etc.
IF THE OTHER DRIVER WAS TOTALLY AT FAULT, AM I ENTITLED MONEY REGARDLESS OF INJURIES?
Not necessarily. In Michigan, before you can collect for your injuries, there is a requirement that your injuries meet a certain level or ‘threshold”. Assuming someone else was at fault, injuries that exceed the threshold are compensable.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO PURSUE A CLAIM FOR INJURIES SUSTAINED IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?
In Michigan, for adults, there is a three year statute of limitations. This means that you have 3 years from the date of the accident to resolve the claim or file a lawsuit. There could be significantly shorter time periods in certain situations and legal advice is highly recommended as soon as possible. Additionally, minors have until one year after their 18th birthday to either resolve the claim or file a lawsuit.
WHO WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT OF MY PAIN AND SUFFERING?
Every case is very different. There could be one of many responsible parties for such injuries.
WHAT DO THIRD PARTY BENEFITS INCLUDE?
Pain and suffering. This includes both mental and physical pain and suffering.
HOW LONG AM I ENTITLED TO FIRST PARTY BENEFITS?
Assuming that your claim has properly been submitted, you could be entitled to lifetime medical. You could also recover up to three years of wage loss and replacement services.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT WITHIN WHICH I MUST NOTIFY THE INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE I CAN OBTAIN FIRST PARTY BENEFITS?
Yes. You must properly notify the appropriate insurance carrier before one year from the date of the accident.
HOW DO I OBTAIN MY FIRST PARTY BENEFITS?
First, you must determine which insurance company would be responsible for these benefits; this company is said to be the highest order of priority. This can be complicated and legal advice is highly recommended. Once you know who is responsible for the first party benefits, you must put them on notice of the accident and the resulting injuries. Most companies require you to submit an application for benefits.
WHAT DOES “TIMELY SUBMITTED” MEAN?
All requests for first party benefits must be submitted to the appropriate insurance carrier within one year from the date that the expense is incurred.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT THE “EXPENSES MUST BE INCURRED”?
You are only potentially entitled to expenses that have already incurred. Thus an insurance company would not be responsible for future expenses until they actually happen.
WHAT ARE FIRST PARTY BENEFITS?
First party benefits generally include, but are not limited to, reasonable and necessary medical bills (including attendant care), mileage to and from medical treatment facilities, replacement services, and lost wages. It is important to determine if there are any other sources for such payments that would be responsible to you before the automobile insurance carrier. All expenses must be incurred and timely submitted.
CAN I STILL COLLECT FOR MY INJURIES WHERE THE ACCIDENT WAS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT?
Yes, even though Michigan’s system is “No-Fault”, you may be entitled to third party benefits for your pain and suffering from the at fault driver (or their insurance company).
WHAT DOES “NO-FAULT” MEAN?
No fault refers to who would be responsible to pay first party benefits. Thus fault is irrelevant for purposes of determining what insurance company is responsible to pay for first party benefits.
IS MICHIGAN A “NO-FAULT” STATE?