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Guide To Filing Deadlines for Car Accident Lawsuits in Michigan

Steven Matz
December 13, 2023 | Car Accident

Unfortunately, there is a short window of time to start filing claims after an accident so you can receive the compensation you deserve. By working with a knowledgeable Michigan car accident lawyer, you will have someone by your side to help you navigate the complexities of insurance and injury law.

Learn about all the deadlines for a Michigan car accident lawsuit and how Matz Injury Law can help you keep on top of your case. Call our law firm today at 1-866-22Not33 for a free consultation.

What to Do Immediately After a Michigan Car Accident

A motor vehicle accident is a terrifying event. It can be difficult to know how to proceed in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision. Here are some steps to familiarize yourself so you know what to do in the event it happens to you.

  1. Call 911 for immediate help.
  2. Document the accident with images and license plate information.
  3. Exchange information with the other driver.
  4. Gather eyewitness statements.
  5. Seek medical treatment.

Let’s further evaluate each of these steps.

Call 911

Call 911 to receive immediate help for any injuries and to get police on the scene, so they can file an accident report. Ask the police after they finish how to get a copy of their report.

Document the Accident

Document the car accident by taking a variety of photos of the scene, injuries, vehicles (license plate too), and damages, along with any other evidence, such as signage, skid marks, and road conditions. Get images of anything relevant to the collision.

Exchange Driver Information

Exchange information with the other driver(s) including name, contact information, driver’s license details, insurance policy information, and obtain the make, model, and color of the other driver’s vehicle.

Talk to Eyewitnesses

If anyone was witness to the crash, obtain their contact information, including, at minimum, their name and phone number. Their testimony could prove to be key evidence later on, so you do not want to miss the window of opportunity to get eyewitness information.

Seek Medical Treatment

You may have felt well enough at the scene of the accident to turn down medical assistance. However, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you do not feel hurt. You may have hidden bodily injury, including a traumatic brain injury.

Notify your insurance company and give them the basic facts of the accident (be careful not to accidentally implicate yourself in the crash) and call a Michigan car accident attorney.

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What is the Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident Lawsuit in Michigan?

The State of Michigan imposes a three-year statute of limitations to file a car accident lawsuit. While three years might sound like a distant date, the deadline comes quickly. It is important to remember it takes time to build a strong case for compensation.

What Happens if You Miss the Statute of Limitations?

By missing the three-year time limit, you lose the right to pursue damages for your injury and losses. Try to initiate your injury case as soon as possible because, in most cases, you cannot “extend.”

It is helpful to speak with an experienced Michigan car accident lawyer after a crash, even if you do not feel you do not have an injury claim. In some cases, injuries do not immediately surface. Your lawyer can examine the circumstances of your accident, assess the situation, and provide legal advice.

Exceptions to Michigan’s Statute of Limitations

Under most conditions, injury victims cannot pursue compensation after a period of three years. The only exception is if the injured person is a minor. In other cases, a victim and/or their representation can request an extension to the three-year timeframe if they are incapacitated due to the accident.

woman with injured arm filling out paperwork after car accident

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to the Police in Michigan?

It is best to report the car crash within 24 hours but no later than three days. Michigan’s law stipulates if an injury, death, or $1,000 or more damages occurs, a motorist must report the accident to authorities as soon as possible, which generally means within a 24-hour time frame.

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance in Michigan?

Most insurance requires you to report in three days, some as little as 24 hours, to be able to claim benefits. Reporting an auto accident is not the same as filing a personal injury claim.

You have one year to file for no-fault benefits and three years to file for pain and suffering, excess medical benefits, and other economic damages you suffered.

What is the One Year Lookback Rule?

Under Michigan state law, you have one year to initiate action for no-fault benefits on a personal injury insurance claim, unless you notified insurance within one year of the accident. Alternatively, you cannot file a car accident claim if the insurer previously made a payment for that injury.

A claimant, or their representative, must provide notice within one year of the date of the accident. This notice must include the name and address of the claimant, along with details of how and when the injury occurred.

Damages You Can Recover After a Michigan Car Accident

Under Michigan injury law, you can file for compensation for both economic and non-economic damages you have suffered.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are financial losses you have suffered due to an injury. Typical expenses you can recover compensation for include:

  • Medical expenses
    • Doctor bills
    • Hospital bills
    • Surgeries
    • Medications
    • Therapies
    • Rehabilitation costs
    • Any other expenses related to healthcare
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of future income
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are those that are more difficult to quantify in terms of dollar amounts, but they are still losses, nonetheless. You can generally pursue non-economic damages such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of limb(s)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

An experienced Michigan injury lawyer can assess your case, evaluate your losses, and determine the value of your injury case.

Why You Should Start Your Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit ASAP

Car accident cases can quickly become complex. While sometimes intimidating and overwhelming, you do not want to delay starting your car accident lawsuit because you could lose out on collecting compensation due to missing the statute of limitations.

The first step you want to take is to call a lawyer and report the accident to your insurance. Insurance companies may appear friendly, but their goal is to pay you as little money in the form of insurance benefits as they can for your injuries and property damages. On the other hand, an attorney advocates for you and your needs.

car accident lawyer advising client

How an Experienced Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help

When it comes to accident lawsuits, it is important to avoid procrastination in initiating your case. Understandably, you may be under stress, in pain, or facing other difficulties in the aftermath of an accident. This is where a skilled attorney can help you. Your lawyer can:

  • Investigate to determine the cause of the motor vehicle crash
  • Organize key evidence and analyze your case
  • Identify the at-fault party
  • Evaluate the terms of your insurance policy
  • Intervene with all car insurance companies and negotiate on your behalf
  • See you do not miss important deadlines
  • Organize medical bills and records
  • Communicate with your medical provider about missing records
  • Speak to your healthcare providers to gather all evidence of your injury

If you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for more serious injuries and medical bills exceeding your personal injury protection insurance (PIP), your attorney can begin to assemble an accident case against the at-fault driver.

Why Our Clients Choose Matz Injury Law

Matz Injury Law prides itself on its attention to detail and high-quality level of customer service. Our clients choose our law firm because they know we care about them and will always advocate for their best interests.

  • You will always work with a Matz and never be passed off to a junior associate.
  • We only charge 22% compared to the typical 33% (you keep more money when you work with Matz).
  • Our personal injury attorneys travel all across Michigan to provide proper attention to each case.
  • We have decades of experience representing car accident victims and are thoroughly versed in Michigan laws.

You will never feel like a general number in a sea of legal cases. When you hire our law firm, you can expect to receive personalized attention to your personal injury case.

Personal Injury Case Results

Matz Injury Law has a strong record of getting results and settlements for our clients. To date, we have won more than $300 million for our clients over the years, including:

  • $4,150,000 in a wrongful death case on behalf of the family who lost a loved one in a traffic crash
  • $1.74 million on behalf of a family against a college student driver and the fraternity where drinking occurred before getting behind the wheel led to a fatal crash
  • $1.3 million on behalf of a mother and daughter injured in a car/truck collision
  • $285,000 for a woman who developed fibromyalgia after being injured in a car accident

Client Testimonials

The car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law care deeply about the well-being of our clients. Take a look at what our clients have to say about us:

“I reached out to Steve after my car accident and even without paying him he was there for me. Offered me advice and told me everything I needed to know about what my insurance company owed me. He cares about people and it shows!” — Kyanna W.

“Following a near head-on collision that left my wife with serious injuries to her leg and a head injury from the airbag that caused ‘instant onset dementia,’ she has been deteriorating and needs constant supervision. Hats off to Steve Matz and all the work he and his firm have done to secure the compensation needed from the insurance company to facilitate her care. Without his tireless help I don’t know where we would be today. I highly recommend Matz Injury Law and if needed would definitely utilize them again.” — Thomas C.

Don’t Miss Out On Your Chance For Compensation

If you or a loved one are suffering from an injury or struggling with the trauma associated with the wrongful death of a family member from a motor vehicle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Matz Injury Law want to help you.

When you work with Matz, know you will never feel alone, and you can talk to us at any time throughout your case. We work on contingencies, so you do not have to pay anything upfront. We only get paid if you collect compensation.

Our experienced attorneys are well-versed in Michigan law regarding injuries and know how to deal with auto insurance companies who are most likely not looking out for your best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call our phone number at 1-866-22Not33 or, if you prefer, fill out our online contact form.

Frequent Answered Questions

How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident to Your Insurance in Michigan?

Most insurance requires you to report in three days, some as little as 24 hours.

What Happens if You Miss the Statute of Limitations?

By missing the three-year time limit, you lose the right to pursue damages for your injury and losses.

What is the Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident Lawsuit in Michigan?

The State of Michigan imposes a three-year statute of limitations to file a car accident lawsuit.

What is the One-Year Lookback Rule in Michigan?

Under Michigan state law, you have one year to initiate action for no-fault benefits on a personal injury insurance claim, unless you notified insurance within one year of the accident.

steven matz headshot

Written By Steven Matz

Founding Shareholder

Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury.

The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 331/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 331/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients.

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients. We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims. Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.