Wayne County Car Accident Lawyers
Car accidents are a leading cause of preventable injury in Michigan and throughout the United States. According to the Michigan Traffic Crash Reporting System, nearly a quarter-million state-wide collisions occur each year, resulting in more than 60,000 injuries and nearly 1,100 deaths.
If you have been injured in an accident, the dedicated car accident lawyers at Sommers Schwartz can help. We are a nationwide personal injury law firm with a hard-earned reputation for excellence. For nearly 50 years, our attorneys have successfully represented clients against the country’s largest and most powerful insurance companies.
Top Five Causes of Car Accidents:
While many drivers do all they can to stay safe on the road, disregard for safety is unfortunately common. According to official state statistics, the five most common causes of Michigan car accidents are:
- Failing to yield.
- Careless driving.
- Disregarding traffic signs or signals.
- Improper lane use.
The form varies, but the root cause of most accidents is negligence. In our decades handling all types of Michigan lawsuits, we have found the most common forms of driver negligence include:
- Distracted Driving
Distracted driving involves any behavior that removes the driver’s attention from the road. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving is responsible for more than 3,100 traffic-related deaths each year. While texting is the most common form, distracted driving can also involve talking to passengers, eating and drinking, daydreaming, reading, grooming, and attending to children in the back seat.
- Impaired Driving
According to the most recent statistics, more than 12,000 Michigan DUI accidents occur annually. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol severely impairs a driver’s reaction time and decision-making ability. For this reason, it is not only negligent but illegal under Michigan law to operate a motor vehicle while drug or alcohol-impaired.
- Fatigued Driving
Studies have shown driving while fatigued has similar effects on a motorist’s abilities to driving while intoxicated. Driving while fatigued can result in nodding off behind the wheel, decreased reaction time, drifting out of lanes, and poor decision-making. Fatigued driving is one of the most overlooked causes of Michigan traffic accidents.
At Sommers Schwartz, our experienced trial attorneys have handled every conceivable car accident claim. We have developed a tried-and-true method for success and bring an individualized approach to every case we handle. We believe the better we understand your specific situation, the more effectively we can advocate on your behalf.
Injuries in a Michigan Car Accident:
While every car accident is different, all share the potential for serious, life-changing injuries. Some of the worst physical injuries that can result include:
An accident can impact your life profoundly. You may miss important milestone events or face long periods of lingering pain. These impairments can often lead to significant psychological and emotional damage. We believe it is crucial that you receive compensation for these losses in addition to your physical injuries.
In Michigan, you are eligible to recover two primary types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages cover your out-of-pocket expenses, including:
- Medical expenses.
- Lost wages.
- Decreased earning capacity.
- Property damage.
- Home modifications to accommodate the disability.
Noneconomic damages compensate you for the less tangible injuries you suffered, including:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Disability or disfigurement.
Our attorneys take the time to get to know each client personally. This enables us to understand the full extent of your damages better so you can receive full and fair compensation.
Michigan Car Insurance Laws:
Michigan is a no-fault state for car insurance. This means when two cars are involved in an accident and both drivers are injured, each files a first-party claim with their own insurance company.
However, an injured motorist may file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance policy in certain situations. Third-party claims are available for:
- Accidents in which someone is killed, seriously injured, or permanently disfigured.
- Accidents involving an out-of-state driver and a vehicle that is not registered in Michigan.
- Accidents occurring outside of Michigan.
Do I Need a Michigan Car Accident Attorney?
While you are not legally required to work with a personal injury attorney, most accident victims choose to do so. Below are just a few benefits of having a knowledgeable attorney represent your interests through the recovery process.
Investigating Your Claim
While some accidents are straightforward, most involve complexities. The other driver may claim you shared responsibility, or the insurance company may argue your injuries were pre-existing. An attorney’s job is to present the most compelling claim possible. Lawyers know how to highlight the most important facts, which greatly affects the compensation an insurance company offers.
When you file a personal injury claim against another driver, their insurance company is contractually obligated to defend the suit on their behalf. This arrangement protects your ability to recover, but it also raises some challenges. Insurance companies primarily focus on minimizing the amount of money they need to pay out. They don’t have the same interest as an individual in resolving the case expediently. For this reason, it takes a skilled and experienced negotiator to achieve a favorable outcome.
Generally, insurance companies are incentivized to settle because it minimizes their risk. However, they will often make low-ball settlement offers, relying on your rush to get the money quickly or fears about success at trial. This is a primary reason an attorney is valuable to your case. When you are represented, the insurance company knows you are willing to follow a legal claim through to completion. This often encourages them to make much more reasonable settlement offers than they otherwise would.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Michigan Car Accident and File a Claim?
Under MCL section 257.622, an accident causing injury, death, or any property damage over $1000 must be reported. The language in section 257.622 provides that accident victims must immediately report an accident “at the nearest or most convenient police station, or to the nearest or most convenient police officer.” We encourage calling 911 and reporting directly to the responding officer.
Once you report an accident, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Failing to file this claim before the three-year period ends bars your right to recover compensation for your injuries. This is why it is crucial to reach out to a Michigan car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Michigan Car Accident Attorney for Immediate Assistance
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, the dedicated team of Michigan car accident lawyers at Sommers Schwartz are available to help. For more than four decades, we have helped countless injured victims and their families secure the compensation they need and deserve. We are known throughout the country for protecting our client’s interests through every step of the process. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (800) 783-0989 to schedule a free consultation.