Motor Vehicle Accidents in Michigan: 9 Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, your first call after the police should be to a car injury lawyer. Motor vehicle accidents happen every day, and they happen even if you are doing everything right. Sometimes, they are just unavoidable with so many drivers and distractions on the road. Other times, weather can contribute to dangerous conditions, resulting in a car accident. They are scary and dealing with insurance companies can feel overwhelming and confusing.
Here are some of the most important things you should know about motor vehicle accidents in Michigan, and the steps you should take to navigate through the process as smoothly as possible.
1. Is everyone OK, and is everyone safe?
This should be your first question. Assess yourself and your passengers and the other occupants of other cars. If anyone needs medical assistance, dial 9-1-1. If it’s a non-serious collision, contact the local police department and have them come to the scene. The police can assist with gathering information, especially if the other involved party is not being forthcoming. They can also gather witnesses’ information.
2. What should I do next?
If you are able, take pictures of your car, the other involved vehicles, and the surrounding area. Do this before and after you move your car to the side of the road if that is something you are able to do. Ask the other party for their information, including their license, registration, and insurance information, and give them yours.
If witnesses are available, ask them for their information such as their name, address, and phone number. This information will be important for your auto accident lawyer as you navigate your insurance claim.
3. What if I have pain?
If you have been injured, or you are experiencing pain in your neck, back, or head, stay where you are and don’t move unless your car is on fire or in danger of falling. Paramedics will need to assess the severity of your injuries before they move you. If you move, you could risk causing permanent damage to your spinal cord.
If you can move, but you feel stiffness, soreness, or other pain, seek out medical treatment immediately. If you’ve hit your head severely or lost consciousness, it’s important to be assessed for a concussion, hemorrhaging, or other brain injuries.
4. What if I don’t have pain?
You should still seek medical treatment within 24 hours of the accident to ensure you have not sustained any serious injuries. Symptoms such as whiplash and back pain can appear up to two weeks after a car accident, so it’s important to document that you sought medical treatment as a result of that car accident.
5. Do I have to file an accident report?
If you forego calling the police, you still need to file an accident report. In Michigan, you must file an accident report with the local police department within three days of the accident. Some insurance companies require you to file your report within 24 hours in order for your claim to be considered.
5. When should I call an attorney?
You should contact a car injury lawyer as soon as possible so they can begin gathering evidence for your case. Provide your car accident attorney with information from the other driver and witnesses, along with photographic evidence and hospital or medical evaluations and bills.
6. What if I’m at fault?
Do not tell anyone you think you are at fault, either at the scene or at the hospital. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may think you are at fault, but other factors might have come into play that caused the collision. It’s up to the police and your attorney to investigate the scene and witness statements to ascertain who is at fault.
7. What am I eligible to receive compensation for after an accident?
Depending on the nature of your injuries, the results of the accident investigation, and other factors, you may be eligible to receive benefits for:
- lost wages
- medical bills
- rental car and transportation costs
- pain and suffering
- car repairs and/or car replacement costs
- property damages
8. Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. What does this mean for me?
Under your insurance policy, whether or not you are found at-fault for the accident, your no-fault insurance will cover:
- medical expenses
- lost wages
- attendant care
- property damages
The no-fault policy was put in place to protect drivers from being sued unless they were negligent and caused serious injury, disfigurement, or death. You may also be sued if the other vehicle is not registered in Michigan and is not a resident of Michigan, or if you are involved in an accident outside of Michigan. If you are found to be more than 50% at-fault for the accident and their damages are not covered by insurance, you may have to pay up to $1,000.
If you have been in an accident and need to discuss your case with a car accident attorney, please call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a no obligation case evaluation.