Car Accidents Can Be Deadly
Any driver behavior that diverts their attention from the road can be viewed as negligent behavior and make them liable if they cause an accident that seriously injures or kills others. If that happens, victims deserve compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, destroyed or damaged property, and other damages, including surviving family members if a loved one was killed. But receiving this fair compensation is not guaranteed, which is why a Monroe car accident attorney at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can help protect your rights, just as we have done aggressively in Michigan for over 60 years.
How Michigan Auto Insurance Coverage Works – Why Advice from a Monroe Car Accident Attorney is Vital
The overwhelming majority of vehicle accident claims are paid by an insurance company. Michigan’s “no-fault” auto insurance structure calls for both drivers in any accident to be protected financially through “first—party benefits” (those directly involved). No-fault benefits are paid by each driver’s insurance carrier. Drivers are required by state law to carry the following minimum insurance coverages:
- Bodily injury – $20,000 per person
- Total maximum per incident – $40,000
- Property damage – $10,000
NOTE. Changes to Michigan No-Fault System Effective July 1, 2020.
All policies issued in Michigan can either be for liability limits of $250K/$500K, or for lower limits down to $50K/$100K, if the insured completes the proper form requesting the lower limits. The $20K/$40K limits will be gone for all policies issued after this date.
First-party benefits include medical bills and associated costs, attendant care (such as therapeutic services), replacement services, and lost wages. But no-fault benefits do not cover property damage or pain and suffering. It’s not difficult to understand why many times, state minimums seldom provide enough protection in severe injury or wrongful death cases. So once your insurance is exhausted, who pays the difference? Most likely, it’s the negligent driver who caused the accident.
So in order to be compensated fairly, the best avenue is to find an experienced Monroe Car Accident Attorney to file a claim against the “at-fault” driver’s insurance company to receive a fair settlement, or if feasible, take them to court to win rightful damages through a civil lawsuit. But Michigan law prohibits injured victims (or their survivors) from going to court unless the victim suffered:
- Wrongful death
- Serious disfigurement
- Serious impairment of a bodily function
But for an injured victim to receive a full and fair compensation amount, he or she must be completely blameless for the accident. Otherwise, Michigan’s “comparative fault” rules will affect the amount the plaintiff victim receives. So if the injured victim was 30 percent responsible for the accident, he or she can receive only 70 percent of the amount for any non-economic damages due to him or her (pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, or loss of consortium).
In many instances, when drivers only need to recover some of the economic losses from a car accident – usually damage or replacement to their car and property in it that was destroyed – mini-tort damages might help. But there are restrictions, and the recovery amount is also subject to Michigan’s comparative fault law. This law can be confusing and the help of a Monroe Car Accident Attorney can help you make the best decisions.
Statute of Limitations and Damages
Injured car accident victims have three years from the date of the accident to file any civil lawsuits they and their lawyers deem feasible. There are no caps (or limits) on the amount of damages injured victims or their surviving family members may seek. But if insurance coverage limits are not adequate to satisfy damage demands, the liable driver may have to pay the balance of any civil judgment against them with personal assets.
Regardless of the nature of a vehicle accident, when serious injuries are the result, it places undue financial, emotional and physical stress on the victims and their families. This is why often – after being injured in a car wreck – victims may be forced to seek compensation from the liable driver’s insurance company or a third party if investigations uncover that an auto manufacturer or repair shop’s defects may have contributed to the wreck.
Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault Can Help You
For more than 60 years, the attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault, have protected the rights of car accident victims and their families throughout Southeast Michigan, and identified all negligent parties that are liable for victim injuries. If you need legal assistance, contact us for a free consultation at 734-430-3012 or fill out our online contact form.