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When to Expect a Settlement from Your Michigan DUI Case

Steven Matz
October 26, 2023 | Car Accident

In 2019, impaired drivers were responsible for 42.5 percent of Michigan traffic fatalities. This is not an insignificant number. The pain and anguish these irresponsible drivers cause are unacceptable and preventable. No one should suffer a serious injury or fatality due to the negligence and poor decision-making associated with drunk driving.

If you or a family member have been in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be severely injured and drowning in medical bills, waiting for your settlement check. As an accident victim, you deserve compensation to cover not just the costs of your losses but potentially any pain and suffering you endure due to the DUI driver (sometimes referred to as OWI or operating while intoxicated).

It can be difficult to cope in the weeks and months after involvement in a DUI accident. Learn how long it takes to receive your settlement after the collision and how a skilled Michigan car accident lawyer can help you recover what you deserve faster. Call Matz Injury Law today at 1-866-22Not33 to schedule a free consultation.

What is a Settlement?

Michigan law stipulates itself as a no-fault insurance state, so it does not matter who is to blame where insurance is concerned. In our state, all drivers must obtain personal injury protection (PIP) insurance from their car insurance company. This coverage pays for medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs after a crash until the amount reaches the insurance policy’s limits.

To settle a DUI case in Michigan, you may be eligible for two types of accident settlements, the first with your PIP insurance and the other with the liable party or parties who caused your injuries. You should speak with an experienced Michigan DUI lawyer fully versed in Michigan insurance laws. Your attorney can help by examining your options and providing legal advice about the courses of action you can take for your accident claim.

How Soon Can Lawyers Start Working on a Michigan DUI Accident Claim?

You do not need to delay speaking with a lawyer after experiencing a car accident, nor do you need to worry about waiting for the results regarding the DUI charges against the other driver. You can speak with a Michigan car accident attorney immediately after the motor vehicle crash.

Working with a knowledgeable Michigan car accident lawyer is in your best interest because insurance companies, even your own, will likely try to undercut the value of your auto accident claim. They are not above applying pressure tactics to get you to accept a low offer or take the blame for the collision. When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in your claim, they can handle all communications with the insurance company, giving you the time and focus you need to recover from the physical and emotional pain of the drunk driving accident.

As your law firm negotiates with the insurance company, your attorney will also be busy investigating your case, assembling evidence (e.g., police report, motorists’ BAC level, driver’s license, accident scene photographs, witness phone numbers and testimony, etc.), and putting together a strong case.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a DUI Car Accident Case?

The State of Michigan imposes a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including drunk driving cases. The “clock” begins at the time of the accident or, in wrongful death cases, the date the accident victim died from injuries.

Michigan does allow for some exceptions to the three-year statute. In situations where you (or your family member) were under 18 at the time of the accident, you have until one year after the victim’s 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim. Another exception is if the drunk driver left the state; in this case, you have extra time. Speak to your Michigan accident attorney about your situation to see if any exceptions apply or what course of action you should take in the timeline to file a case.

Also, remember that if you miss important deadlines, you will not be able to collect compensation. This is a good reason to speak with an attorney ASAP, even if you are not ready to proceed with your case. This way, you know your options and do not accidentally miss out on your chance to obtain compensation to cover your injuries and losses. You can still receive medical treatment as you weigh your options.

In fact, getting treatment strengthens your case since providing ongoing medical reports to your attorney offers a better ability to estimate your damages. This is especially true if your injuries are ongoing, you have serious injuries such as a traumatic brain injury, or you need surgeries to correct disfigurement.

Does No-Fault Insurance Cover Drunk Driving Accidents in Michigan?

No-fault insurance still applies when drunk-driving motor vehicle accidents occur. This means you and any other injury victims in the vehicle during the crash can receive benefits to cover any accident-related medical costs and lost wages.

How Long Do I Have to File My Insurance Claim in Michigan After a Drunk Driver Hits Me?

Insurance claims are stricter than personal injury laws when filing a claim. You do not have the same three-year period of time to file. To pursue an insurance claim after being hit by another motorist, you have one year from the date of the drunk driving accident to file a no-fault insurance claim in the State of Michigan.

Who Can You Sue for a Settlement in a Michigan Drunk Driving Accident?

In Michigan, you can sue the driver of the vehicle, but other parties may also be able to be held responsible for your injuries. This includes the owner of the car driven by the drunk driver, the employer if the driver was working and operating a company car, the business that served alcohol to the drunk driver, or an insurance company if the driver was under- or uninsured.

Are Bartenders Liable for Drunk Drivers in Michigan?

man passed out with alcohol in one hand and car keys in other.

Michigan has dram shop laws, which means a bar or other place selling or serving alcohol can be held liable for injuries the drunk driver causes. For example, in cases where a person is visibly intoxicated, and the individual sells or provides alcohol anyway, the server or seller can be held liable. Attorneys often gather evidence through eyewitness testimony, bar surveillance video, and credit card receipts.

How Much Is My Michigan DUI Settlement Worth?

In any personal injury case, it is sometimes difficult to initially assess how much a settlement is worth until all information is collected. Injuries may be ongoing, leaving a victim unable to work and earn a living while simultaneously amassing substantial medical bills. The amount of damage caused by some injuries may not be fully known until long after the accident occurs.

An experienced Michigan attorney can usually determine the worth of a DUI settlement based on the crash’s impact on the victim. Your attorney will add up the amount of economic losses (bills, lost wages, and other calculable costs) and non-economic damages (not easily calculable, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and disfigurement) to determine the value of your settlement.

It is important to know that Michigan personal injury law stipulates accident victims must meet a certain threshold of injury before filing a lawsuit. This threshold is death, serious permanent disfigurement (a scar on your face), or serious impairment of an important body function. You have a viable claim if you can provide objective proof of one of these thresholds.

How Long Will I Have to Wait For My PIP Insurance Settlement?

Filing a PIP insurance claim in Michigan is a pretty straightforward process. Generally speaking, you can expect to receive your settlement within 30 days of the date you filed your claim. This deadline is set under Michigan state law. The primary stipulation is you must provide the insurer with adequate proof of your injuries.

How Long Do DUI Settlements Take in Michigan?

Every case is different, and the timeliness of receiving your DUI settlement will depend upon the specifics of your case. Several factors will be considered, including your attorney (their reputation and results), the insurer of the at-fault driver, and the adjuster (or the defense attorney). The amount of damages and extent of injuries will also factor.

Unfortunately, there is not really a way to speed up the process that does not involve risking leaving money on the table. The attorneys at Matz Injury Law always try to settle as soon as possible, but in some cases, it is important to wait for injuries to heal, treatment to be completed, or testing to be done. Settling a claim is often preferable to filing a lawsuit, but the extent of damages is not always apparent until months have passed. If we rush to settlement and the injuries are worse than originally thought, the accident victim may not receive the full compensation they deserve to help cover costs. However, if someone comes to our law firm after the fact and has completed all treatment, we would immediately try to settle their case since there would be no reason to wait.

Generally speaking, you can expect to receive your compensation in about one to two years if the case is contested and goes to trial. If a settlement can be negotiated before this point, you will most likely receive your compensation sooner.

One thing we do to help speed up the process is retrieve medical records directly from our clients through their online health portals. Previously, we would have to mail a records request, wait 30 days, pay $100 or more, and then wait one to two more weeks to receive the records. Now, we can immediately download the relevant medical records for free.

Steps In the Michigan DUI Settlement Process

A settlement in a DUI accident occurs when the victim and the at-fault party agree on the terms. Essentially, the defendant approves to pay the plaintiff an agreed-upon sum of money. Getting to this point is sometimes straightforward. Other times, it may take a while. If an agreement can be reached, you can expect to experience the following process.

  • Victim submits a demand for compensation describing the accident and demonstrating injury. This step includes a letter that outlines an acceptable sum in exchange for dropping a case.
  • Defense will reply to the plaintiff, usually rejecting the offer and counteroffering a much lower amount.
  • The plaintiff and defendant will continue negotiating until an agreement can be reached.
  • If an agreement cannot be reached, the situation may be brought to a mediator to help with negotiations.
  • Once an agreement is made, the victim will receive a settlement check for the agreed-upon amount and sign a release indicating they will not bring about another injury claim.
  • If both parties still cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to trial, where the decision is final.

Working with a Michigan attorney well-versed in personal injury law can help present your case and argue for appropriate compensation to help cover your costs and losses. They can also work to help you get your compensation check in a timely fashion.

What Are the Possible Delays in Receiving My DUI Accident Settlement Check?

Unfortunately, there are some instances where a settlement payment may be delayed, even after the defendant agrees to settle. Potential delays include:

  • Paperwork was not filed promptly
  • Clerical errors
  • Claims adjuster neglects to forward documents for approval
  • Claim involves a minor
  • Claim involves an estate
  • Release agreement was not properly signed
  • Insurance company processing the settlement is located in a different state than the company issuing the check

Other potential delays may include certain disputes regarding release forms or if your attorney must negotiate the amount of one or more liens.

Tips For Speeding Up Your Michigan DUI Settlement

woman doing physical therapy with doctor.

The settlement process can be lengthy, but there are steps you can follow to help expedite the process. You can start by getting treatment, following your doctor’s advice, staying on top of appointments, hiring a skilled Michigan car accident attorney, and providing regular updates to your lawyer. You can also keep thorough medical records, respond promptly to any requests made of you, and keep up with deadlines. By following these tips and being 100% upfront with your lawyer, you help your legal team speed up the process.

Testimonials from Satisfied Clients

“Steve was outstanding from the first telephone conversation all the way through until he settled my case at an amount that exceeded my expectations. He is a consummate professional and a compassionate attorney and I would highly recommend him if you ever find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney.” -Sharyn G.

“If you are looking for the best attorney to handle your automobile accident claim, look no further! I have known Steve Matz for more than 20 years. He successfully represented me in 2001 and then again in 2019 following serious automobile accidents. He leads you step by step through the entire complex legal process. Put Steve Matz on your team to get the justice you deserve! The Matz team is a clear winner!” -Gary C.

Don’t Settle For Less

Suffering an injury due to the actions of a drunk driver can be traumatizing, especially since the accident could have been completely avoided. Instead, you and your loved ones are left struggling with the physical pain and emotional anguish resulting from the crash in your day-to-day life.

Working with a caring and compassionate Michigan personal injury lawyer can make all the difference. Matz Injury Law proudly represents Lansing, Wayne, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Oakland County, and the rest of Michigan. Our team has logged hundreds of thousands of miles traveling throughout the lower and upper peninsulas, meeting with clients. Our client relationships are extremely important to us, which is why when you work with Matz Injury Law, you always work with a law firm partner, not an associate.

We are passionate about personal injury law and want to help victims get the settlements they deserve. When you hire Matz Injury Law to represent you, we prioritize you. To obtain a free case evaluation, contact our law firm today at 1-866-22Not33 or fill out our online contact form.

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.