Lansing Car Accident Attorneys
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of preventable injury in Michigan and across the United States. If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may feel like your life was turned upside down. You may struggle to afford medical care or to pay your day-to-day expenses. You may be completely unable to work or earn less income than before the accident. Michigan law allows individuals injured in vehicle collisions to pursue a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver or drivers. This compensation can help you fully recover from your injuries and move on with your life.
At the Lansing car accident law firm of Sommers Schwartz, we proudly represent individuals injured in all types of car accidents. For over 45 years, our team of knowledgeable attorneys has provided compassionate and effective representation to thousands of accident victims. Our lawyers have built national reputations as authorities in personal injury law and have been recognized by some of the most prestigious lawyer ranking services.
Lansing Car Accidents
According to the Michigan State Police, there were nearly 75,000 people injured in car accidents in 2018 alone. In Ingham County specifically, more than 2,500 people were seriously injured or killed in car accidents. Even collisions that seem minor can cause serious, significant injuries.
Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but most are related to a driver’s negligence. The law requires everyone on the road to drive safely and follow all traffic laws. Not every driver adheres to this duty at all times. And when drivers do not take this responsibility seriously, they place others at risk.
The Michigan State Police keeps records of all car accidents that occur in the state. According to the most recent data (for the 2018 calendar year ), the most common causes of Michigan car accidents are:
- Failing to yield the right of way.
- Running stop signs or stoplights.
- Failing to maintain a single lane of travel.
- Reckless driving.
- Careless driving.
Common Causes of Lansing Car Accidents
Lansing car accidents occur every day, but that does not have to be the case! If everyone paid attention to the road and always drove carefully, most collisions could be avoided. Unfortunately, most drivers experience lapses in judgment occasionally. The most common types of negligent driving behaviors that result in accidents are:
- Distracted driving.
- Drunk and drugged driving.
- Aggressive driving.
- Fatigued driving.
Notably, each of these behaviors involves a choice. A driver can choose not to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks or decide not to check their phone until they arrive at their destination. When drivers choose to engage in risky driving behaviors, they place everyone else on the road at risk.
Michigan Car Insurance Laws
Like in most other U.S. states, all Michigan motorists are required to maintain auto insurance. However, Michigan’s car insurance laws are exceptionally complex. This is due partly to recent changes in the law.
Historically, Michigan required all drivers to purchase a high level of coverage for auto accidents. As a result, car insurance rates were some of the highest in the country. While this well-intentioned policy protected those who could afford it, Michigan also had one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers—mostly because people could not afford to pay for coverage.
In 2020, Michigan lawmakers changed the laws to make insurance more affordable and reduce the number of uninsured drivers. The new Michigan insurance laws require all drivers to purchase several types of insurance. It is essential to understand the different types of insurance and when each is applicable.
- Personal Injury Protection: Personal injury protection (PIP) covers your accident-related medical costs. The default policy provides unlimited coverage; however, other options are available, including coverage limits of $500,000 and $250,000.
- Property Protection Insurance: Property protection insurance (PPI) is unique to Michigan. This type of insurance pays for damage to non-moveable physical property caused by the insured.
- For example, if an accident in a residential area results in damage to an uninvolved homeowner’s mailbox and fence, the at-fault driver’s PPI coverage would compensate the homeowner for the cost of repairs.
- Liability Insurance: Liability insurance includes both bodily injury and property damage liability. Liability insurance covers accident-related costs that exceed those the victim recovers through their own PIP policy.
The Role of Insurance Companies After a Lansing Car Crash
Michigan is, primarily, a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. After an accident, the default procedure is that your insurance company pays or reimburses you for your accident-related costs under your PIP policy coverage. However, PIP only covers your medical expenses and up to 85 percent of your lost wages. While this may be enough for minor accidents, you may incur significant non-economic damages that are not recoverable under PIP coverage if you were involved in a larger collision.
Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Reduced enjoyment of life.
- Scarring and other disfigurements.
Michigan’s new car insurance law provides some avenues for accident victims to sue another driver rather than limiting their recovery to their own PIP. Specifically, victims may sue another driver for causing an accident that resulted in serious injury, permanent disfigurement, or death. If the claim succeeds, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance will pay any excess medical and lost wage expenses and the victim’s non-economic damages. This is why liability insurance is also called “residual” coverage, as it kicks in to cover costs that PIP does not.
Dealing with an insurance company after a Lansing car accident can be a challenge. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations and work to reduce the amounts they pay out on their policies. Therefore, they will vigorously challenge damage claims and try to minimize the amount you recover. The claims process can be exhausting, complicated, and stressful—not to mention time-consuming and frustrating.
At the Lansing car accident law firm of Sommers Schwartz, we have over 45 years of experience negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of our injured clients. We command a deep understanding of the laws that govern our clients’ claims. We combine this with our extensive knowledge of the insurance industry and superior negotiation skills. We will vigorously advocate for you to ensure that the insurance company fairly compensates you.
What to Do After a Lansing Car Accident
If you have been involved in a Lansing car accident, you may have questions about how to proceed. Your health and ability to recover full compensation for your injuries can depend, in part, on what you do after the accident. Like most drivers, you probably haven’t given much thought to how you would respond immediately following a collision. We can help!
If another driver hits you, take these steps to protect yourself:
Report the Accident
The first thing to do after an accident is to call 911 to report the collision. Even if you do not think you have been seriously injured, it is still important to make an official report. You may not realize the full extent of your injuries in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Reporting a Lansing car accident also creates a verifiable record of the accident, which can help you in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit if you pursue one.
Document the Accident
If you can safely do so, gather as much evidence from the scene before you leave. This includes speaking to any witnesses, taking photographs of the vehicles and the roadway where the accident occurred, and photographing your injuries. If possible, get contact information from witnesses or others at the scene. Of course, do not place yourself at risk to gather information.
Stay at the Scene
Leaving the scene of an accident, even if you were not at fault, may be a crime. Even if the other driver flees the scene, wait for the police so you can tell them what happened.
Obtain Medical Attention
Usually, emergency responders will come to the accident scene to provide any necessary immediate medical treatment. However, emergency responders are not trained to recognize potential long-term damage caused by the accident. They may release you from the scene without taking you to the hospital. If this is the case, follow up with your doctor as soon as possible to get a full evaluation. Some potentially serious injuries, like brain injuries or whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can cause significant long-term problems if untreated.
Inform Your Insurance Company
The terms of your insurance policy require that you report an accident within a certain amount of time. Failing to report an accident could result in a situation where the insurance company claims that your injuries were caused by something other than the car accident.
Reach Out to a Lansing Car Accident Attorney
When you are ready, give one of the dedicated Lansing car accident lawyers at Sommers Schwartz a call to discuss the accident and your options. Don’t wait until your treatment is finished—we can help you every step of the way. We offer free consultations with our experienced attorneys. We will answer your questions and provide you with the guidance you need to feel confident about the choices you make in your recovery plans.
Contact the Lansing Car Crash Lawyers at Sommers Schwartz for Immediate Assistance
Car accidents are incredibly stressful, both physically and mentally. The compassionate car accident team of legal professionals at Sommers Schwartz can help. We will handle all aspects of the legal process so you can focus on healing, spending time with your family, and getting your life back on track.
As experienced negotiators and skilled litigators, we are as comfortable at the negotiation table as we are in the courtroom. Over the past 45 years, Sommers Schwartz lawyers have recovered more than a billion dollars in compensation for our clients, including many six- and seven-figure settlements and jury verdicts. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, there is no fee until we win. Contact us today for a free consultation.