Michigan Personal Injury Settlements FAQ

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

It can be truly devastating any time you’re in a motor vehicle accident, be it an auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or any other type of vehicular crash. Automobile accidents cause lives to change instantly, turn upside down, and even end. When a negligent driver, motorcyclist, or semi-truck driver causes an accident, the damage to your property, psyche, and body can be catastrophic.

It gets worse when the auto insurance company refuses your personal injury claims or tries to get away with a lowball offer that doesn’t even begin to cover all your medical expenses. You don’t even know how long it will take to get a settlement, and nobody gives you a straight answer. All you want is the fair compensation you deserve, and it seems like nobody cares.

You’re not alone. Like you, many thousands of accident victims suffer the same thing every day. That’s where a personal injury attorney for the state of Michigan comes into the picture. The auto accident personal injury lawyers at Matz Injury Law have gotten settlements and jury verdicts for injury lawsuits for years, and we’re ready to listen to your auto accident case. Let us help you figure out what compensation you should receive and how long it might take to get your personal injury settlement or jury verdict. Get in touch with us at 1-866-22Not33 or use our online form for a free consultation today.

How Long Do Michigan Car Accidents Take to Settle?

Your claim can, unfortunately, take quite some time to settle. You’ll have to go through a process that begins with dealing with the accident and continues through the final payout. It’s a complex and detailed process, and as difficult as it can be, patience is important. Your injury lawyer from Matz Injury Law will be by your side every step of the way, keeping you informed about the process and the current status of your case. You will be informed and involved as much or as little as you need the whole time.

What To Do At the Scene of the Accident

While you are at the scene, you need to call first responders first. Get medical attention for everyone at the location, including you. This applies even if you don’t feel hurt because some injuries can take a long time to present.

Next, document the scene. Take notes, make diagrams, and photograph the scene in as much detail as possible. File a police report. It can’t be used as evidence, but it can be an essential touchstone to help you remember details later. Get contact information from witnesses. Try to stay calm and never, ever apologize for anything to anyone at the scene.

Reporting to Your Insurance Provider

When you get home, report the accident to your insurance company. Stick to the facts and start your insurance claim. Michigan is a no-fault state, which doesn’t mean that an accident isn’t anyone’s fault. It means that under Michigan law, everyone must carry no-fault insurance on their insurance policy. This requires you to file your claim with your insurance company. The idea is to protect you from an uninsured motorist and quickly start the process.

Get Legal Representation and File a Case

After you report the accident, contact the Michigan personal injury law firm of Matz Injury Law for a free consultation right away. You would be amazed how often an injured person gets left out in the cold by their own insurance providers. The latter cite things like insurance policy limits and other reasons to avoid paying the settlement you deserve. We will provide the legal advice and representation you need.

Dealing with the Insurance Adjuster

This is where the process begins. The insurance provider will assign an adjuster to your case. They will question you about the injuries you’ve suffered, your property damage, the circumstances of the accident, and other losses you may have suffered. They may contact witnesses and review your medical records to verify that your injuries, be they traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, head injury, back injuries, or other injuries, are actually from the accident.

Building and Negotiating a Case

Suppose the insurance agency denies your claim or offers you a very lowball settlement for your wage loss, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other damages. In that case, it’s important to file a lawsuit as quickly as possible. That’s where your Matz Injury Law attorney comes into play.

Your attorney will put together as strong a case as possible. They will gather evidence, look at your medical bills, speak with witnesses, and review your notes. They will work to remind everyone involved that you are the victim, that you are the one who has suffered and who continues to suffer. They will fight every inch for the total and fair compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, lost potential future compensation, loss of consortium, emotional trauma, attendant care benefits, and other fault benefits you deserve.

After filing your case, your attorney issues a demand letter outlining your case, what compensation we believe you should receive, and why. A back-and-forth process then begins where we negotiate a fair settlement for your claim with the other side, ideally, with each side giving a little until, at last, a final settlement is reached that satisfies everyone involved.

Every accident is unique. Sometimes, negotiations break down, and we must go to court to fight for the money to which you are entitled under the law. This process, in general, takes an average of a year or two to settle but can take more or less.

Is It Better to Settle or Go to Court for a Personal Injury Case in Michigan?

The vast majority of cases don’t end up going to court. This is because court is a risky procedure, and depending on the individual case, it may not be in everyone’s best interest. It can be very long and drawn out. They can also be quite expensive as legal fees tend to stack up, reducing your overall award. The loser in a court trial usually pays fees, but there can be exceptions, depending on the decision or jury verdict.

The upside of a court trial is that the awards are usually higher than a settlement if you win. A court case is an all-or-nothing deal. Once it starts, there’s usually no more negotiation, and you either win or do not.

Michigan also has a 51% rule, or “modified comparative negligence,” which states that you can only receive compensation if you hold 50 percent or less of the responsibility for the accident. In addition, whatever degree of fault you share will reduce the settlement by that much. If you are, for example, 20% responsible and the accident is worth $100,000, the courts will only award you $80,000. Because of this, it is essential to have an iron-clad case.

Matz Injury Law has represented clients from all over the state of Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Lansing, across Macomb County, Oakland County, Southfield, and beyond. We’re ready to fight to get you the fault benefits you deserve from a reckless or drunk driver, from medical care and lost wages to attendant care benefits and invisible injuries. Call us at 1-866-22Not33 and speak to one of our auto accident attorneys today.

How Are Michigan Personal Injury Settlements Paid?

Again, every case is unique. For the most part, the insurance company pays settlement agreements as a single lump sum. You cannot, for example, usually get payments for your ongoing medical bills as they occur. Your personal injury attorney must look over your current and past bills, look at your medical records, and estimate how much it will cost for you to get better or reach the point where you won’t need any more treatment.

The same goes for your lost wages. Based on the likelihood of getting merit raises, cost of living increases, and other factors, your attorney will estimate how much you would have likely made in the future if you worked until retirement. They will consider whether you have invisible injuries from a traumatic brain injury or loss of companionship, comfort, and support from a wrongful death case. In the case of wrongful death, the amount of compensation will factor in funeral and burial expenses.

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable in Michigan?

For the most part, personal injury settlements in Michigan are not taxable, provided that the payment is covering your actual expenses like medical expenses, or it’s directly related to the physical pain and suffering, psychological damage, emotional trauma, and other invisible injuries connected directly to your physical injuries.

If you’re concerned about whether or not you need to pay taxes on your personal injury claim, your attorney can provide some guidance. Still, in the end, it’s best to actually talk to your professional accountant or another professional tax preparer. These people know and understand the tax codes to help advise you. Tax codes, however, can be highly complicated and change all the time.

While it’s possible, it is generally unlikely that you will need to pay taxes on your personal injury verdict or settlement.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Case in Michigan?

Every state has a statute of limitations covering almost every civil and criminal offense. Car accident personal injury cases are civil offenses, meaning they only award monetary damages. A statute of limitations requires you to file a lawsuit during a particular timeframe. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the appropriate timeframe, you can lose your rights to compensation in the case.

In Michigan, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file your claim. A wrongful death suit where you lose a loved one to someone else’s careless or reckless acts is different. In this case, you have three years from the date of death to file your claim.

Just because you think you may have missed the window of opportunity, that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you fail to file your lawsuit within this three-year statute of limitations window, the courts may refuse to hear the case, and it’s possible you could lose your rights to compensation. There are, however, exceptions to almost every rule. An experienced injury attorney may advise other options and avenues you can pursue. Always contact the personal injury lawyers at Matz Injury law for a free case review and discuss your options.

Don’t Settle for a Second-Rate Personal Injury Settlement Offer

Did you know that you don’t even have to speak to the insurance adjuster when they come calling? It’s true. You can always refer them to your lawyer and let us handle the difficult part. Insurance adjusters will always come off as compassionate and caring at first, but really, they are representing a big corporation that’s out to make a profit. They don’t make those profits from paying out huge settlements. In short, they are not your friend or ally.

After reviewing your case, they will almost always offer a lowball settlement that often won’t even be enough to allow you to make ends meet, let alone get the treatment you need. If you sign, you may sign away your right to future benefits. If you do not sign, they may bully, cajole, harass, and even threaten you with no settlement at all.

You don’t have to deal with that. Matz Injury Law has decades of experience fighting for people like you and facing down bullying insurance companies. We represent people in Southfield, Ann Arbor, Flint, and all across the great state of Michigan. Call us at 1-866-22Not33 or use our easy online contact form and get your free case review today. You owe nothing if we don’t win your case, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We’ve won millions for our clients over the years. Let us stand up and fight for you.

Written By Steven Matz

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. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
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The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 33 1/3%. 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 33 1/3% 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.

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