Do I Need A Lawyer if the Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you’re injured — and/or your vehicle sustained major damage — consulting an attorney is a very good idea.
The Limits of PIP Insurance
“It wasn’t my fault,” you say — but in Michigan, the issue of fault isn’t of the utmost importance in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Michigan’s No-Fault Law says that drivers should first file a claim with their own insurance company. In Michigan — as in many other states, your insurance company covers you, your family members, and others injured in the accident with Personal Injury Protection (PIP). PIP benefits include medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages for up to three years, and other costs that may be associated with your care and recovery process.
In most cases, PIP is all the coverage you need. But sometimes it isn’t.
Particularly if the accident wasn’t your fault and your injuries are serious, a car accident attorney can ensure you fully understand your situation and options for filing car accident claims.
Changes in Michigan No-Fault Law
Michigan has recently completely overhauled the No-Fault Insurance law known as Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law on June 11, 2019. The new law makes some significant changes in coverage limits — and other details concerning medical care — as a tradeoff for lower rates.
As of July 1, 2020, drivers have a choice of four different coverage levels: $50,000 (if enrolled in Medicaid); $250,000; $500,000; or “no limit.” The new law promises significant premium savings for drivers who agree to a lower cap. However, it also means that if you are injured your coverage limit may not be adequate to cover your medical bills.
A car accident lawyer can help you understand all the PIP insurance limitations in no fault states like Michigan, and protect you from signing any settlement agreement that doesn’t compensate you fairly.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. provides free consultations to anyone involved in a car accident and has questions and concerns about their insurance coverage, the other driver’s insurance company, and recovering adequate compensation.
While you may be hesitating to hire an attorney, there are several good reasons to contact one as soon as you possibly can after the auto accident.
If you’re injured, personal injury lawyers can make sure you don’t miss anything or skip any steps in the claims process. And in situations where the accident clearly wasn’t your fault — and you’ve sustained injuries and/or property damage that are not adequately addressed by your insurance — an attorney will help you understand your personal injury claim options.
There is significant background work involved in filing a personal injury claim and negotiating a successful settlement process. Police reports and other documentation must be assembled, witnesses must be interviewed and other evidence collected. It’s always best to do this work as soon after the accident as possible. An attorney will know where to look and who to call and make sure everything is in order.
Call Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. any time (24 hours) and let us know your situation. We’re happy to meet with you at a time and in a place that’s convenient and comfortable for you, including your home or hospital room.
It Gets Complicated, Fast
Proving liability in a car accident case — whether you are in settlement hearings or arguing your case in a court of law — is a lot more complicated than you think. Sometimes determining fault isn’t the same thing as determining liability. Was faulty equipment involved? Who actually owns the vehicle that hit you?
Settlement success entails much more than just filing forms and developing an effective legal strategy. It also requires a thorough knowledge of the local court system, the procedures that are specific to that court, and the judge(s) who may preside in your case.
In any settlement discussion or court proceeding, it will be necessary to have made an official and thorough evaluation of your injury, medical condition, the recovery process, and an estimate of the medical bills you will be facing in the future. Also, the pain and suffering you have endured as the direct result of the accident must be explored, analyzed, and articulated for legal purposes. This is another excellent and important reason to hire a lawyer.
What are the long-term impacts of your injuries? Are they permanent? Are you unable to return to the job you did before the accident? How will you and your family survive in the future?
The professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. have worked with individuals and families throughout Michigan, helping them understand their situation, and possible settlement and litigation scenarios. In some cases, we may recommend that there be specific medical tests or evaluations conducted — and medical specialists consulted. Senior partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical cases, and her training as a registered nurse is invaluable in evaluating your injury and conditions for legal purposes.
Ease Your Burden
A good personal injury lawyer can smooth your path in countless ways, and become an important aspect of your healing and recovery process.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates P.C. brings enormous sensitivity, compassion, and patience to all our client relationships, as well as bringing a wealth of experience and tenacious legal energy to the work we do on our clients’ behalf.
We represent personal injury clients on a contingency basis, which means that our fees represent a percentage of your eventual compensation when the case is resolved. In Michigan, contingent legal fees in personal injury cases are set by statute (MRPC Rule 1.5) and are normally one-third of the recovery award.
If you are asking yourself, “should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?” we hope you do yourself a favor and say yes, and then contact us toll-free (24-hours) at 866-755-9502 or use our convenient online contact form.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.