If you’ve been in a car accident, you know the chaos that follows can be overwhelming. Understanding how car accident settlements work in Michigan is crucial, as they can help you get back on your feet and maintain financial stability after a collision. Whether you’re dealing with medical bills, property damage, lost wages, or a combination of everything, a fair settlement can make a world of difference.
At Conybeare Law Office, we’re here to help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Our skilled and dedicated car accident lawyers make it a priority to maximize your financial recovery while giving you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your case. If you or someone you love has been injured, call our law firm today to discuss your next steps.
How to Get a Settlement for a Michigan Car Accident
After a Michigan car accident, you’ll want to gather evidence at the scene so you can prove what happened. This step is especially important if you eventually sue the at-fault driver for:
- Vehicle repairs under the mini-tort
- Excess medical and wage loss benefits
- Pain and suffering compensation
Take photos of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicle(s), road conditions, and any traffic signs or signals. Ask for a copy of the police report, which can provide an objective account of the accident. You should also collect contact information from witnesses who can provide statements about what they observed.
Other steps include:
- Seek Medical Attention: Timely medical care not only ensures your health but also supports your claim for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Even if you think you’ve only sustained minor injuries, see a healthcare professional promptly- a medical provider evaluation can identify hidden or delayed injuries. If you don’t go to the hospital, see your family doctor as soon as possible.
- Notify Your Insurance Provider: In order to access PIP benefits, Michigan law requires that crash victims report accidents promptly to their insurance company. Provide basic details about the accident, such as the date, time, location, and the parties involved. Comply with any additional reporting requirements in your policy.
- Consult a Michigan Car Accident Attorney: An experienced accident lawyer can help ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. Consider seeking legal representation, especially if you’ve suffered significant injuries or face disputes with insurance companies. A lawyer can assess your case, offer legal advice, negotiate with insurers on your behalf, and, if necessary, represent you in court.
- Assess Damages: Understanding your damages is essential for determining the compensation you need. Document all expenses related to the motor vehicle accident, including medical records and bills, rehabilitation costs, vehicle repairs or replacement, and lost wages. This assessment will help you establish the value of your personal injury claim.
Average Car Accident Settlement in Michigan
Since every accident is different, personal injury settlements can vary widely. How much financial compensation you ultimately receive as a crash victim will depend on factors like those outlined below.
- Injury Severity: The extent of injuries sustained in the accident plays a significant role. More severe injuries like spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury typically result in higher settlements due to increased medical expenses and potential long-term impacts.
- Medical Expenses: The total cost of medical treatments, including hospital bills, surgeries, physical therapy, and ongoing medical and attendant care is a critical factor. Higher medical expenses often lead to larger average settlements.
- Lost Income: Depending on the type of insurance coverage you had on your vehicle and the amount of time you are off work, your lost wages may be included in the settlement. Longer periods of income loss typically result in larger personal injury settlements.
- Non-Economic Damages: If you’re claiming pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, and other non-economic damages, it can increase the value of your case.
- Insurance Coverage: The insurance policies of both parties involved in a motor vehicle accident can impact the settlement. Higher coverage limits can lead to larger average settlements, as there’s more insurance money available to cover damages.
- Liability: Determining fault is a crucial factor. If you share partial blame for the accident, your settlement may be reduced under Michigan’s comparative negligence rules.
- Legal Representation: Having a personal injury attorney can influence the settlement amount. Experienced lawyers often negotiate better settlements and ensure you’re fairly compensated.
Examples of Michigan Car Accident Settlements
Real-life case outcomes can shed light on the range of car accident settlements in Michigan. Here are the outcomes of some cases handled by Conybeare Law Office:
- $1,500,000 Automobile Accident: Settlement for a wife/mother who suffered a gait disorder due to an auto accident.
- $2,000,000 Automobile Accident: Settlement on behalf of the estate of an 18-year-old fatally injured in a rear-end car crash.
- $1,125,000 Automobile/Motorcycle Accident: Settlement for the estate of a 31-year-old fatally injured in a collision when a vehicle pulled out from a stop sign.
- $800,000 Fatal Car Accident: Settlement for a 75-year-old killed in a crash.
- $1,750,000 Automobile Accident: Jury verdict for a 46-year-old killed instantly in a head-on crash with a dump truck on a slushy road.
- $1,000,000 Automobile Accident: Settlement for a woman with a serious lower leg injury.
- $1,750,000 Automobile Accident: Settlement for a woman with a serious hip and leg injury.
- $525,000 Motorcycle Accident: Settlement for a 45-year-old motorcyclist who suffered significant leg and shoulder injuries requiring multiple surgeries
- $1,100,000 Automobile Accident: Settlement for a young man who suffered a spinal cord injury caused by a drunk driver.
- $1,050,000 Automobile/Truck Accident: Settlement for the death of an 18-year-old.
These examples reflect a range of injuries from Michigan car accidents. It’s important to note that each case is unique and settlements are influenced by various factors, including the severity of injuries, liability, and insurance coverage. Take a look at our car accident case results to see more.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might be wondering whether you need a Michigan injury lawyer to handle your case. While it’s not a requirement to have legal representation, there are several compelling reasons to consider hiring an experienced attorney.
- Maximizing Compensation: A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue the maximum compensation available. They know how to assess the full extent of your damages, including future expenses, and ensure you’re not shortchanged by auto insurance companies.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies aim to minimize payouts. An auto accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, countering tactics employed by insurers to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
- Handling Legal Procedures: Car accident cases involve paperwork, deadlines, and legal procedures. A lawyer can manage these aspects, reducing your stress and ensuring all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time.
- Investigating the Accident: Lawyers have the resources and experience to conduct thorough investigations. They can gather evidence, interview witnesses, communicate with the investigating police officers, and reconstruct the accident scene to establish liability and strengthen your case.
- Calculating Damages: Determining the full scope of your damages can be complex. Lawyers have the experience and resources to accurately assess and present these figures.
- Handling Legal Proceedings: If negotiations fail, a lawyer can represent you in court. They understand court procedures, can build a strong case, and advocate for your rights before a judge and jury.
While hiring a car accident lawyer in Michigan is not mandatory, having legal counsel can provide invaluable support, expertise, and advocacy to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after a car accident.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in Michigan?
The time it takes to receive a car injury settlement varies from case to case. Some cases settle quickly while others may take several years to reach a settlement because the accident victim is still recovering and the long-term effects of injuries remain uncertain, or because of litigation; litigation is often slow.
Most people should receive their settlement check within thirty days of signing the Settlement Release Agreement. However, cases involving minor children or wrongful death may require additional time as a judge’s approval is needed before the settlement can be finalized.
Do I Pay Taxes on Settlements?
Generally speaking, settlements for physical injuries are typically not subject to taxes by the IRS or Michigan state taxing agencies. This includes compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress, as long as they resulted from a physical injury. It’s advisable, however, to consult with your tax preparer to confirm that you are not required to report your settlement for tax purposes. This ensures you comply with any specific tax regulations that may apply to your individual case.
What if the Driver Who Hit Me Was Uninsured?
If the negligent driver in a Michigan car accident is uninsured, you have a couple of options:
- Suing the Uninsured Driver: You can file a personal injury claim against the uninsured at-fault driver directly. However, your accident attorney will need to assess whether this person has personal assets or the means to pay for the damages and losses resulting from the accident. If they lack substantial assets or financial resources, recovering compensation through this route can be challenging.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your insurer. Some insurance policies may require you to initiate an accident lawsuit against the driver as part of the insurance claim process.
It’s essential to consult with your attorney and carefully review your insurance policy to understand the specific requirements and procedures for filing an uninsured motorist claim. This coverage can provide financial protection in situations where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, helping you recover the compensation you need for your injuries and losses.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Driver?
If you’ve been injured in a Michigan auto accident, you generally have a three-year window from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for the injuries you sustained. This legally defined timeframe is referred to as the statute of limitations, and it applies to both bodily injury and wrongful death claims arising from car accidents.
While there are exceptions to this rule, such as for minors or individuals with mental impairments, it’s advisable to consider three years from the date of the collision as the standard time limit for filing a car accident claim against an at-fault driver in Michigan. At the same time, there are exceptions that make the time limit shorter than 3 years. You should consult with a Michigan car accident lawyer early in the process to ensure that your rights are protected.
It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for uninsured motorist claims and underinsured motorist claims may vary depending on the specific language within your insurance policy, and that they sometimes have shorter notice requirements that must be met. To ensure you don’t risk losing any insurance benefits, it’s recommended to have an experienced attorney review your policy and provide guidance based on your individual circumstances.
Questions? Get a Free Consultation From a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
In the aftermath of a car accident, the road to recovery can be tumultuous. Whether you’re grappling with medical bills, property damage, lost wages, or a combination of these challenges, a fair settlement can be a lifeline.
At Conybeare Law Office, we’re here to ensure you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. The committed and skilled car accident lawyers at our law firm will maximize your financial recovery while equipping you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions regarding your case. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to discuss your next steps. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 269-769-BEAR or fill out this contact form. Remember: if it’s not fair, call the Bear!