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2024 Guide to Michigan Car Accident Lawsuits

WRITTEN BY:
Steven Matz
January 4, 2024 | Car Accident

Getting into a car accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience. While you may want to spend your time in the aftermath focusing on recovery, you will also have to navigate the complex Michigan car accident laws to not only have a chance at compensation but also to ensure that you remain compliant with legal standards.

The intricacies of securing compensation and protection can be tough without help, but Matz Injury Law is happy to guide you through the process. With our Michigan personal injury lawyers on your side, you can focus on recovery while we handle the legal issues for you. Take a closer look at everything you need to know in the wake of your accident.

Navigating Michigan’s Statute of Limitations

In the state of Michigan, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in most cases. Keep in mind that this limit only applies to lawsuits. If you are applying for no-fault insurance benefits, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file your injury claim.

Understanding Michigan’s ‘No Fault’ Car Accident Laws

No-fault insurance means your insurance will cover medical expenses and a certain amount of lost wages regardless of who is responsible for the accident.

Is Michigan Considered a ‘No Fault’ State?

Yes, Michigan is a no-fault state. State insurance law allows for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for personal injury damages in an accident, regardless of who is responsible. You can, however, still sue whoever is at fault for the accident for damages that exceed no-fault insurance coverage.

Are There Any Exceptions to Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Policies?

While a no-fault benefits policy will cover your injuries, these policies typically have maximum coverage limits. If your damages exceed those limits, you must file a lawsuit to recover the rest from the at-fault party. Additionally, you can pursue compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering with a lawsuit. To meet the legal standard for these extra damages, however, your injuries must fall within the serious injury threshold, which includes the following:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Serious impairment of a bodily function
  • Death

How Does Michigan State Determine Fault in a Car Accident?

grey sudan crashes into a commercial truck on the highway

Determining fault in Michigan is mostly a matter of demonstrating negligence.

  1. You must first show that the other driver had an expected duty of care, i.e., the driver had a duty to drive safely and not endanger others on the road.
  2. Then, you must show that they violated that duty of care. To continue the example, this could include them driving dangerously.
  3. After that, you must show how violating their duty of care led to the accident you suffered.
  4. Finally, you must show that your injuries and other damages occurred due to the accident.

It costs you nothing to call. Schedule a free consultation to begin your case today.

Common Types of Car Accidents in Michigan Lawsuits

Here are some of the most common types of car accidents that occur in Michigan:

  • Rear-end collisions: A rear-end collision is when a vehicle collides from behind with another vehicle that is facing the same direction. These are typically caused by inattention or tailgating.
  • T-bone crashes: T-bone accidents occur when a vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, creating a “T” shape at the moment of impact. These typically occur at intersections and can lead to serious injuries.
  • Sideswipe crashes: A sideswipe is when two side-by-side vehicles collide while traveling in the same direction. This often occurs due to changing lanes without checking first.
  • Solo-vehicle accidents: A solo-vehicle accident is one in which only a single vehicle is involved. These can involve a single vehicle colliding with an object like a tree or an accident in which a vehicle collides with a pedestrian or cyclist.

What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?

In Michigan, when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, the steps to compensation are as follows:

  1. Use your own PIP insurance.
  2. Use your own uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
  3. File a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

If the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, you can still receive compensation from your own personal injury protection coverage. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, you do not have to worry about the other driver having insurance if you have it yourself.

However, any damages outside of your PIP coverage limits will need to be pursued through the other driver. If they do not have insurance, you must rely on uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to seek additional compensation.

PIP Coverage and Recovering Damages After a Michigan Auto Accident

On average, there are about 297,000 accidents in Michigan each year, and out of those crashes, around 73,000 people suffer injuries, including some involving fatalities. With 8 million registered vehicles in the state, there are many opportunities for accidents. If you are involved in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Take a look at how compensation works in the state.

What Does Michigan PIP Insurance Cover?

PIP insurance in Michigan is designed to cover all the medical expenses you may incur up to the coverage limit. At a minimum, this limit is $50,000, but you can opt for a higher coverage limit when purchasing your insurance policy. Most medical expenses are covered, including hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and home care treatment.

In addition to medical expenses, PIP can cover lost wages, though the extent of that coverage is limited. You can only receive 85% of your lost wages from PIP insurance, and you can only receive this for up to three years.

Replacement services for child care or housekeeping are also paid for with a limit of $20 per day if bodily injury prevents you from carrying out these tasks independently.

What Damages Can I Recover From a Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit?

Several kinds of damages can be recovered from a Michigan car accident lawsuit, including both economic and non-economic damages. Here are some of the most common damages that compensation is pursued for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

How Does Michigan PIP Insurance Handle Fatal Car Accidents?

In the event of a fatal car accident, Michigan’s no-fault insurance policy allows family members of the deceased or representatives of their estate to file a wrongful death claim. This claim would be for survivor’s loss benefits, equivalent to the benefits the decedent’s dependents would have received had the deceased not died. Specifically, these benefits are limited to $20 a day with a maximum of $1,475 monthly. Adjustments are made based on changes in the cost of living.

How Does Michigan Handle Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuits?

Because PIP insurance covers as much of the damages as the insurance policy allows, drunk driving accident lawsuits focus on recovering the additional damages that PIP does not cover. When the liable party was driving drunk, it may be easier to demonstrate their liability in a lawsuit in some personal injury cases.

No matter how complex your case, Matz Injury Law is here to represent you. Call today for free.

Legal Representation and Handling Insurance Companies

car accident victim reviewing his personal injury claim

Insurance companies are the primary obstacles to getting compensation after a motor vehicle accident. Their business model depends on them denying you as much coverage as possible. That being the case, you would benefit from an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney by your side, as they know how to combat the most common tactics insurance providers use to deny coverage.

Legal representation can help you fight to receive benefits for damages suffered. While hiring a lawyer doesn’t guarantee success, it does increase your chances. After all, insurance companies are for-profit enterprises. They do not care so much about truth as they do about the cost of paying you what you deserve versus arguing against you in court.

Should I Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

Legally, you have no obligation to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, you will be going through your own insurance company for initial damages anyway. If you have to communicate with the other driver’s insurance company, however, it is typically ideal to speak with a lawyer first, as what you say to them can be used against you.

Can I Negotiate Settlement Amounts With the Insurance Company?

Nothing prevents you from negotiating a settlement with the insurance company, but negotiations tend to go smoother when a lawyer is involved. By getting a lawyer for the negotiations, you will have a seasoned and experienced representative who can advocate for you by effectively countering the most common tactics insurers use to convince you to settle for less than what you deserve. At Matz Injury Law, our attorneys have earned more than $300 million for our clients in Michigan.

Does My Insurance Company Have to Choose My Auto Body Shop?

No, you are free to choose your own auto body shop in the wake of an accident. Your insurance provider can recommend which auto body shop you should visit, but it is ultimately up to you.

Your collision or comprehensive insurance coverage will cover body shop repairs to their limit, no matter which shop you use. As a disclaimer, though, your auto insurance company may have a different idea of a reasonable price compared to your chosen auto body shop.

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Michigan Car Accident?

Yes, you should hire a lawyer after a car accident. Not only can lawyers deal with legal issues for you while you focus on recovery, but they bring various benefits to the table that you may want to take advantage of. These include:

  • Filing paperwork on your behalf
  • Gathering evidence
  • Communicating with insurance adjusters
  • Communicating with the at-fault party
  • Negotiating settlements
  • Representing you in court

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

Hiring a Michigan car accident attorney does not need to cost you anything upfront if you opt for one that operates on a contingency fee basis. Under that standard, you do not have to pay anything unless they win your car accident claim. If they do not win, you do not have to pay.

The standard contingency fee is 33% for most personal injury lawyers, but Matz Injury Law is more interested in seeing your compensation go toward your recovery. That is why we only charge 22%. Again, this is only applied if we win your case. That means there is no risk to reaching out.

Should I Notify My Insurance Company When I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

In the wake of a car accident, you must notify your insurance company that it occurred. However, you do not have to make an insurance claim or accept a settlement in the immediate aftermath, and you do not have to notify them when you hire a lawyer.

Car Accident Settlements and Time Frames for Compensation in Michigan

The exact settlement value and time frame for each car accident case will differ. It all depends on the circumstances of the case. For example, accidents with serious injuries tend to win more in compensation than minor injuries because medical bills are more costly with serious injuries. As for time frames, they vary based on the case’s complexity. A fairly straightforward case in which the insurance company offers a reasonable settlement can be wrapped up in a matter of weeks. Going to court, however, could push the case’s duration past a year.

Should I Receive Medical Attention After a Vehicle Collision?

Yes, you should always receive medical treatment after an accident. Do not worry about the cost; worry about getting better. The cost can be taken care of out of pocket or through your health insurance. Personal injury protection insurance and any compensation in a potential lawsuit can reimburse those costs.

I Didn’t Realize I Was Injured. Can I Still File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

If you did not realize you were injured, you can still file a suit. You just have to demonstrate that the accident was the cause of your delayed injury. A lawyer can help make your case.

What Can I Expect to Settle a Claim for After a Car Accident in Michigan?

The value of any case depends on its details. Any settlement should be enough to cover the damages that an injured person suffered from the accident. Remember, though, that no outcome will ever be wholly guaranteed. Hiring a lawyer puts you in a good position, but it does not ensure results.

Does Michigan Have a Cap on the Amount of Compensation Received After an Auto Accident?

The only caps to compensation in Michigan are for lost wages and replacement services from your no-fault insurance policy. Economic and non-economic damages have no strict cap.

Will I Receive a Larger Settlement if I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

A larger settlement is never guaranteed, but hiring a Michigan car accident lawyer will increase your likelihood of receiving a larger settlement based on statistics.

Why Clients Choose Matz Injury Law

At Matz Injury Law, we strive to get you the compensation you deserve after an accident. We know each case is different, so we approach each case with your needs in mind. Our job is to take care of the legal issues for you while you focus on recovery.

Car Accidents Are Traumatic. Here is How Our Clients Respond

“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 like my family has experienced over the past year, we would immediately retain Matz Injury Law to represent our interests. Thank you, Steve.” — John P.

“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.

“Steve Matz deserves more than 5 stars! He went above and beyond to help me with my automobile accident/lawsuit, and stayed in constant contact with me. He cared about me as a person and how I was feeling or doing. I will recommend him to anybody who ever asks me. He has been amazing!!!!!” — Holly L.

“Following a near head-on collision that left my wife with serious injuries to her leg and a head injury from the air bag 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.

It is Your Right to Be Compensated in a Michigan Car Accident Lawsuit

In the wake of a car accident, you deserve compensation. Contact our Southfield law firm by calling 1-866-22Not33 or filling out our online contact form for a free consultation and legal advice.

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.