Protect Your Rights After a Michigan Auto Accident
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of serious personal injury and death in children and young adults, and a leading cause of personal injury and death in other age groups. While I handle all kinds of personal injury claims, the majority of my practice for the last 25 years has involved various aspects of motor vehicle accidents.
Odds are that if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you have already contacted your own insurance company, and may have been contacted by adjustors or investigators for the at fault driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies refer to this process as “controlling the claimant”; that is, trying to keep you from consulting a lawyer while they attempt to settle your claim for as little as possible. The following is intended to assist you in understanding the insurance claims process, and why I strongly suggest that you should consult an experienced professional who represents only your interests before dealing with an insurance adjustor.
In Michigan, your rights as an injured party are largely controlled by the Michigan No Fault Act, which provides accident victims with lifetime “first party” no fault benefits from their own insurance carrier regardless of fault, but limits their ability to sue an at fault driver for their injuries in a “third party” action to situations involving death or serious injury, and limits the ability to collect for vehicle damage to $500.00 not covered by collision coverage.
Michigan is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that someone who is partially at fault may still recover for that part of their damages caused by another at fault party in a “third party” action. If a person is more than 50% at fault, they generally cannot recovery non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, but can still recover economic loss caused by another party but not covered by “first party” no-fault benefits.
Many claimants experience tremendous frustration and confusion attempting to deal with adjustors for their own “first party” carriers without the benefit of legal advice. Part of the services I provide to clients who retain me to sue an at fault driver in a “third party” action is an offer to assist them in dealing with their own insurance carrier regarding “first party” benefits, and more often than not, find that they are not receiving all that they are entitled to.
Most “third party” claims against at fault drivers are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if there is no recovery, there is no attorney fee. I also offer free initial consultations in all injury cases, at which time I can explain the no-fault system, and what services I can offer to you. By consulting me as early as possible in the process, you can avoid mistakes, and allow me the chance to investigate the accident while at scene and vehicle evidence is still available.
In my opinion, no one should attempt to negotiate with an insurance adjuster representing the other driver’s insurer without first seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer such as me. Most people have no understanding of how the system works until tragedy strikes, and can easily be taken advantage of by an experienced insurance adjuster, whose only goal is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
Where the initial consultation is free, and without obligation, no accident victim should pass up this opportunity. I am here to help and protect you; the insurance adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company and the person who injured you. Shouldn’t you have an experienced professional protecting your interests?