an emergency crew assessing a car accident in Michigan

You were in a Michigan car accident. Now you’re wondering, what do I do? Good question. Here’s some things to consider. 

What do I do after a car accident that was not my fault?

First, let’s talk about no-fault insurance. Michigan is a no-fault state. That means that most people turn to their own auto insurance for many of their crash related benefits, such as medical bills and wage loss. You will want to make a “no-fault” claim with your auto-insurance company. How do I do that? The first thing to do is to submit “an application for no-fault benefits” to “the correct” auto insurance company. Who is “the correct” auto insurance company? Good question. The answer is not always clear. If you have your own auto insurance, most of the time, your auto insurance will be “the correct” auto insurance company, but not always. The same is true of the relatives you live with. Most of the time, your auto insurance will be their “correct” no-fault insurance company. However, there are exceptions, such as if you were in a crash while driving a work vehicle in the course of your job. In that case, the auto insurance that covers the work vehicle will pay your no-fault benefits, even if you have your own auto-insurance. 

You only have one year from the crash to submit a “no-fault application” to the “correct” auto insurance company. If you don’t, you lose the ability to recover no-fault benefits - like medical bills and wage loss - forever. It is often a good idea to check with a lawyer to make sure you have submitted your application to “the correct” insurance company. Not doing so can leave you on the hook for all of your medical bills and cost you your wage loss benefits.  

Second, let’s talk about what to do as to your human losses, your pain and suffering damages. In Michigan, if the other driver was at-fault for the crash and you were injured, you generally have a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company for your pain and suffering damages (the losses to your quality of life). Generally, you will want a lawyer to represent you on this claim. Insurance companies want to settle low. You want to settle high. You should contact a Michigan personal injury attorney to get a sense of the value of your case and make sure that you are not doing anything that might jeopardize the value of your claim, like giving a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. 

What do I do after a car accident that was my fault?

Michigan is a no-fault state. No-fault means you get your no-fault insurance benefits whether you were at-fault or not. Michigan no-fault benefits include medical bills and wage loss, and other benefits. You will need to submit a no-fault application to the “correct” insurance company. See above for more details regarding who is the “correct” insurance company.  

If you are sued by the other driver for the accident, notify your insurance company right away. Your insurance company will defend you in the case. 

What do I do after a car accident where I was injured?

If you were injured in a car accident, there are several things that you should do, including:

  • Report the crash to the police
  • Get the medical care you need (you should generally get checked out even if you feel “pretty okay”; injuries sometimes worsen slowly over time, and you want to make sure you make a record of your injuries)
  • Take photos of the crash scene and the vehicles involved
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses (this information is supposed to be in the police report, but officers are busy at crashes, and sometimes forget)
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully
  • Take photos of your injuries (these can make a big difference later)
  • If someone else was at-fault for the crash and you were injured, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately (the at-fault driver’s insurance company will act quickly to minimize your claim, such as by contacting you for a recorded statement; you need to know your rights so you can protect them)

What do I do after a hit-and-run car accident?

If the at-fault driver leaves the scene of the accident, call the police and report it immediately, and write down any information you can about the at-fault driver and his vehicle, such as his license plate. Talk to any witnesses to find out if they wrote down the driver’s license plate. 

Insurance companies often have special requirements in their insurance policies for hit-and-run situations. Many policies require an insured to contact the police and the insurance company within a certain amount of time, often shortly after the crash. If you were in a hit-and-run crash, you will want to get a copy of your car insurance policy and talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might miss a deadline or requirement that could prevent you from getting insurance benefits. You don’t want that to happen. 

What do I do after a rear-end car accident?

Rear-end car accidents are one of the most common types of car accidents. Rear-end accidents often cause serious injuries, such as neck and back injuries, even at low speeds. A loaded semi-trailer truck usually weighs tens of thousands of pounds. Even a “tap” from something this heavy is likely to cause serious injuries.  

If you were rear-ended and injured, follow the tips outlined above. You will also likely want to contact a lawyer soon. You can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to contact you to try to take a recorded statement. Know your rights so you don’t jeopardize them.  

Call or contact Conybeare Law Office now to talk with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer

A car accident is a scary, painful, and traumatic experience. It can be difficult to know who to talk to after a crash, but having an experienced Michigan car accident attorney can help alleviate much of the stress and uncertainty that comes after an accident. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you understand your rights so you feel like you in are in control, and they will fight to get you the money you deserve. To learn more about the wide range of legal services offered to our Michigan car accident clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and proudly serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. Remember, if it’s not fair, call the bear.