Recent Blog Post

Who is at Fault in Michigan For Weather Related Car Accidents

WRITTEN BY:
Steven Matz
April 5, 2024 | Car Accident

Key Takeaways:

  • Determining who is at fault in a weather-related accident is a complicated process and may involve several vehicles.
  • Factors that may help determine fault in a weather-related accident include road conditions and maintenance, driver behavior, witness testimony, police reports, and vehicle condition.
  • In multi-vehicle accidents, including inclement weather pile-ups, determining liability becomes even more complicated since more than one driver may be at fault.
  • To understand your rights and options, whether you were the first car hit or the 100th at the end of a pile-up, your best move is to speak with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney as soon as possible.

For those familiar with the highly popular question-and-answer platform known as Quora, you already know how much information you can gain here. Users are free to ask and also answer questions on a variety of topics, sharing knowledge they have gleaned throughout the years or through their own experience.

A Recent Case Story Of Michigan Accidents Caused by Bad Weather

So, when a Quora question asked “What are the risks of driving in heavy snow?” it is no surprise that the top answer came from a Michigan driver.

Weather-related car accidents happen often during the wintertime here in Michigan. Our friend from Quora, who describes himself as “a life long Michigander” responded that “Here near our home we have the US 31 freeway. EVERY SINGLE WINTER NEAR US, there are multi-car pile ups (some have been in dozens of vehicles).”

Weather-related accidents like these pile-ups, which occur during winter weather or rain storms, are traumatic and happen in a flash. With so many vehicles involved, however, the question motorists soon ask becomes, so, who is at fault?

Call our law firm FOR FREE if you’ve been injured in a weather-related accident!

Who is At Fault in Weather-Related Car Accidents in Michigan?

A short story from one of our clients:

These pile-up stories in Michigan are a dime a dozen due to our treacherous winters. Once, we represented a woman who ended up in a 39-car pile-up accident in Wayne County. Once she realized what was happening, she quickly grabbed her daughter out of her car seat and headed toward safety on the edge of the road before the next vehicle hit her car.

When she came to our law office, we knew right away this would be a complex case because, while she sustained minor injuries, we needed to discuss who was at fault.

As attorneys, the first thing we look for is fault, and typically, it is the first person who caused the accident. However, we have to go a bit deeper than that and rely on who hit our particular client first. As such, our law firm was successful in attaining compensation for her and her daughter. If you have experienced a weather-related accident in Michigan, we can fight for you too.

Can You Sue For Weather-Related Accidents In Michigan?

Here in Michigan, determining fault in weather-related car accidents can become rather complex due to the various factors involved. Weather conditions like ice, snow, rain, and fog can contribute to reduced visibility and slippery roadways, increasing the risk of accidents. Yet, despite challenging weather conditions, drivers are still expected to exercise reasonable care and adjust their driving behavior accordingly.

No-Fault Auto Coverage

While Michigan requires residents to purchase no-fault auto insurance, there are limitations on what the coverage entails, especially since each policyholder chooses how much to include. After an accident, you may need help deciphering the terms of your policy, filing a claim, and negotiating with the insurance companies. A personal injury attorney with Matz Injury Law can help with all of these and more.

What Factors Determine Fault in Weather-Related Car Accidents?

car wreck caused by slippery roads

Determining fault in weather-related accidents can involve several different factors and to what degree each contributed to the crash.

Weather conditions are the first to be blamed, whether they involve lake-effect snow, icy roads, or a sudden downpour. From there, determining an at-fault driver becomes the challenge.

The following are the most common factors to consider.

  • Road maintenance and conditions: Poorly maintained roads or lack of proper snow removal can contribute to accidents and affect liability.
  • Driver behavior: Actions such as sudden lane changes, failure to use turn signals, or disregarding traffic signals can indicate negligence in weather-related accidents.
  • Witness testimony and police reports: Eyewitnesses and official reports will play a critical role in determining fault by providing objective accounts of the accident.
  • Vehicle condition: Defective brakes, worn-out tires, or malfunctioning headlights can contribute to accidents and potentially shift liability to vehicle owners or manufacturers.

Our Michigan personal injury attorneys will consider each of these potential factors and what role, if any, each played in your weather-related accident.

Who Is At Fault In a Michigan Car Pileup?

semi-truck pileup crash due to bad weather in Michigan

It turns out that our friend on Quora was right about the number of pile-ups that happen in Michigan each year. Check out the three news stories below, which show the reality of driving in inclement weather in this state.

So, who is at fault when a pileup situation is due to bad weather, and what does it mean if you were the 100th car at the end of that pile-up?

In multi-vehicle accidents, determining liability becomes complicated because more than one driver may be at fault. As mentioned above, many factors may contribute to the accident, and each one will need reviewing to determine where the fault actually lies.

To understand your rights and options, whether you were the first car hit or the 100th at the end of the pile-up, speak with our experienced Michigan car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Scheduling a consultation costs you NOTHING. Call us for free to learn about your legal options.

Related Resources

For further helpful information, consider the following related resources.

Why Clients Choose Matz Injury Law

There are a variety of reasons why clients choose Matz Injury Law to represent them, one of them being our fee structure. In the above scenario from our 39-car pile-up in Wayne County, where the client heroically saved her daughter, let’s say, for example, that we won a settlement amount of $180,000 for her, which reflects the compensation for their ordeal. Here is a breakdown of the standard fee and our fee.

  • Standard 33 1/3% fee:
    • Total settlement: $180,000
    • Attorney’s fee: $60,000 (33 1/3 % of $180,000)
    • Client’s payout: $120,000
  • Matz Injury Law 22% fee:
    • Total settlement: $180,000
    • Attorney’s fee: $39,600 (22 % of $180,000)
    • Client’s payout: $140,400

With Matz Injury Law’s fee structure, the client receives $20,400 more compared to the standard 33 1/3% fee. This additional amount can provide significant relief and support for the client and her daughter as they continue to recover from the traumatic accident and move forward with their lives.

Yet, our lower fee structure is not the only reason Michigan clients choose our law firm and share their testimonials. We are, above all, dedicated to advocating for personal injury victims, earning over $300 million in settlements so far for our clients. The attorney-client relationship is important to us, and we do everything we can to reach a successful outcome for each case.

Testimonials

“Steve Matz was there when I needed him. Nobody expects to be a victim of a car accident, but when I found myself in that situation, it was overwhelming. Steve made everything easy. Steve did not accept the insurance Company’s first offer. He held out and got me a better settlement. Steve is very kind and professional. I highly recommend Matz Injury Law.” — Sharon K.

“My family is grateful for Steve Matz’s professional handling of our case. Steve was very thorough, candid, responsive, and strategic in his approach throughout our legal proceedings. If ever in a situation again, as my family has experienced over the past year, we would immediately retain Matz Injury Law to represent our interests. Thank you, Steve.” — John P.

“Matz injury law was the best decision I have made. Steve has been so helpful throughout this whole process and has always been there for my husband and me. He made everything quick and easy! I would highly recommend Matz Injury Law.” — Linda N.

Do Not Let the Weather Hold Your Settlement Back. Contact Matz Injury Law

Being involved in a weather-related accident might leave you unsure whether you have the right to pursue compensation or not. Do not let the weather hold your settlement back! Matz Injury Law will review the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you on your options. Call our office today at 1-866-22Not33 or use our convenient online form to request a free consultation with a Michigan car accident attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do Immediately After a Weather-Related Car Accident?

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related accident, check to see if anyone is injured. Even if you or others in your vehicle do not feel injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. You may have delayed symptoms. Report the accident and obtain a police report. Soon after, file a claim with the insurance company.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Weather-Related Car Accident in Michigan?

For a weather-related car or truck accident in Michigan, you have three years to file a personal injury claim under the state’s statute of limitations. Medical expenses can add up quickly so filing a claim will be an important step to take to protect your financial well-being.

Can I Still Recover Compensation if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

You may still be able to recover compensation if partially at fault for an accident. Michigan is a designated modified comparative negligence state, meaning as long as your share of the fault is under 50%, you may recover compensation. Any awards, however, will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

What Types of Damages Can I Recover in a Weather-Related Car Accident Case?

Damages that you may be able to recover in a weather-related vehicle accident case include:

  • Economic damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible losses)
  • Non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering and emotional distress)
Will I Have to Go to Court if I Hire Matz Injury Law to Represent Me?

Most auto accident cases can be settled without going to court. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, however, your injury lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and will represent you in court should it come to that.

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.