Sterling Heights Personal Injury Attorneys
Injured in Sterling Heights? Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Located just north of Detroit, Sterling Heights blends the natural beauty of life in Michigan with convenience and easy access to a major urban hub. Perhaps that’s why over 100,000 Michiganders call Sterling Heights home, making it the fourth-largest city in Michigan.
Although most residents of Sterling Heights do their best to live up to the city’s motto, “To Strive on Behalf of All,” exceptions occur. When someone’s negligent or reckless actions cause harm, serious injury and other damages can result.
If you’ve been injured in Sterling Heights, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Sterling Heights personal injury attorney immediately. Call the skilled and knowledgeable injury team at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Sterling Heights Accident and Injury Statistics
According to the Sterling Heights Fire Department (SHFD), Sterling Heights firefighters and emergency responders handled an average of 43 daily calls in 2020. These included:
- 11,984 calls for medical emergencies.
- 220 calls for fires.
- 2,929 service calls.
- 431 motor vehicle crashes causing injuries.
In total, emergency crews responded to over 15,500 emergency situations in 2020. Not all accidents or injuries result in a call to emergency services, so the number of emergency situations is likely much higher. Furthermore, many of these accidents and injuries are negligence-based.
In the last two years, the Accident Data Center has collected information on car crashes, pedestrian deaths, and workplace accidents throughout Michigan, including in Sterling Heights. These accidents, injuries, and fatalities often result from another person or company’s failure to take reasonable care to avoid harming others. When reasonable care is not taken, serious harm may result.
Common Types of Personal Injury in Sterling Heights
Located in Macomb County, Sterling Heights is one of three metro Detroit counties with a mortality rate higher than the state average. Many factors contribute to mortality rates. One of the primary contributing factors is deaths from unintentional accidents.
But even accidents that don’t result in death can cause severe or permanent injury. Victims may spend the rest of their lives irrevocably altered by the injury. Physical, mental, and emotional symptoms can persist for months, years, or even a lifetime. Common causes of personal injuries in Sterling Heights include:
The 2022 Detroit Comprehensive Safety Action Plan (CSAP) researched street safety within the City of Detroit. The plan’s creators stated that Detroit residents’ “number one transportation issue is safety, particularly speeding.”
Concerns about roadway safety aren’t limited to Detroit. Sterling Heights is similarly plagued by drivers who speed, disregard traffic rules, and otherwise take careless risks that put others in danger.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slip and fall incidents are extremely common and can be particularly dangerous. The CDC estimates that about 800,000 US residents need hospital treatment for fall-related injuries each year. About 20 percent of falls result in serious injuries, including:
- Broken bones.
- Head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries.
- Damage to tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues.
- Nerve damage.
Lingering mental and emotional trauma is also common after a serious fall. In fact, the CDC estimates that a fall injury doubles the chance of a second fall injury. Falls can occur at any age and are more likely to occur in places with uneven walkways, spills and hazards, and poor lighting.
Michigan’s premises liability laws require businesses to take steps to remove hazards that increase the risk that a customer will suffer a slip and fall injury. Some of these steps include cleaning spills promptly, fixing broken floor tiles and handrails, and keeping walkways well-lit. If the business can’t immediately eliminate a hazard, it must warn visitors, such as by using “wet floor” signs. When businesses fail to take these precautions, they may be liable for any injuries suffered.
Dog Bites or Dog Attacks
Nearly 1,000 people visit emergency rooms in the US every day for dog bite injuries, and about 12,500 people are hospitalized each year for severe injuries from dog bites.
The US Postal Service ranks Michigan as one of the top ten worst states for dog bites, with the majority occurring in and around the metro Detroit area. While mail carriers constantly face the risk of dog bites, they aren’t the only ones who can be severely injured if an owner fails to restrain their dog.
Michigan’s dog bite law allows a person who is bitten by a dog to seek damages from the dog’s owner if:
- The dog bite occurred while the injured person was on public property or “lawfully on private property,” and
- The dog bit “without provocation.”
Michigan uses a “strict liability” dog bite statute. Under the law, the owner may be liable even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to provide a reasonable standard of care, resulting in injury. “Standard of care” refers to the type of care a competent provider would have given in a similar situation.
Medical malpractice cases are among the most challenging personal injury claims for several reasons.
- Establishing the standard of care, failure to meet it, and injuries caused by that failure often require help from experts.
- Medical explanations and discussions can be scientifically and technically complex.
In addition, Michigan has several time limits and rules that apply only to medical malpractice claims. For example, an injured person who wants to file a medical malpractice claim must first notify the parties they plan to file against. Notice requirements have specific timelines and requirements. If these requirements are not followed, the case may be dismissed.
It’s important to note that Michigan also limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. While injury victims may recover the full amount of damages for medical bills and lost wages, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are limited. The cap on such damages changes each year to reflect changes in inflation.
Defective or Dangerous Products
Defective or dangerous products can pose myriad risks. About 400,000 home fires occur nationwide each year, causing around 3,000 deaths and $7 billion in property damage. Many of these fires are due to defective or dangerous products.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can also cause serious injury or death. CO poisoning often stems from a defective product that leaks carbon monoxide or a faulty safety system that fails to warn of CO concentrations. In 2011, 934 Michigan residents suffered CO poisoning.
Michigan product liability law allows people injured by defective products to seek compensation for their injuries. Although the law limits non-economic damages, these limits may not apply if the product’s manufacturer or designer knew about the defect and its risk.
Workers’ Compensation for On-the-Job Injuries
On-the-job injuries can cause serious, even permanent harm. In Michigan, workers’ compensation often provides the first line of support for injured employees. Workers’ compensation may cover medical costs, a portion of lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury and recovery.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan’s top four causes of serious and deadly workplace injuries are transportation crashes, contact with objects and equipment, slip and fall accidents, and violence from others. Other common sources of workplace injury include repetitive stress injuries and occupational illnesses.
It’s important to talk to a lawyer after an on-the-job injury. In many cases, you may have a claim against more than one party. For example, if a defective piece of equipment injured you, you may be able to seek compensation from the equipment maker while still receiving assistance from your workers’ compensation benefits.
Time Limits for Sterling Heights Personal Injury Claims
In most cases, Michigan law requires personal injury claims to be filed within three years of the date of the injury. Courts will likely refuse to hear the claim if it isn’t filed within that window. When this happens, you will lose your chance to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell exactly when this three-year clock starts ticking. Some injuries don’t become obvious for months or even years after the harm occurred. It’s vital to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to calculate the time limits on your case correctly. Your lawyer can help you start the process of filing your claim and make any arguments necessary to prove to a court that your case falls within this three-year time limit.
What To Do if You’ve Been Injured
If you’ve been injured, you need experienced legal representation close to home. The legal team at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. may be able to help. We’re dedicated to using our experience to support our clients in Sterling Heights and throughout metro Detroit. To learn more, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.