While car accidents are common, few—if any of us—are prepared for the worst-case scenario. You probably have many questions on your mind: How do I file a claim? What coverage might be available to me? Can I sue the at-fault driver? Our Troy car accident attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide the advice you need to make informed decisions about your case.
At Seva Law Firm, we have helped recover more than $100 million for our clients. Dial (248) 385-5704 to arrange a free consultation.
Damages in First-Party Car Accident Claims
In Michigan, if you were injured in an auto wreck, regardless of whether you were at fault or not, you can receive benefits from your own coverage for a variety of damages—provided you did not choose to opt out of Personal Injury Protection medical coverage. As your Troy car accident lawyer can explain, if your insurer disputes which No-Fault benefits you should be receiving, you have the option to file a “first party” claim against the insurer for any overdue or unpaid No-Fault benefits. Keep in mind that you will only have a year from the date of the accident to pursue such a claim.
Let’s take a look at some of the damages that—depending on the medical benefit level of your Personal Injury Protection—may be covered as part of a first party claim:
- Medical Costs: From the initial ER visit to lab tests and prescription medication, medical costs can add up an alarming rate after an accident. Fortunately, drivers in the state are required to purchase No-Fault insurance that provides Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Your medical costs are one of many damages that are covered by these benefits. However, there is a limit to how much you can receive based on your policy limits. Additionally, you may have to rely on other applicable benefits such as workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, and your health insurance to cover the remaining amount.
- Replacement Services: After the accident, there are many tasks you may be unable to do on your own due to your injuries. For instance, you might not be able to drive to and from work, tackle household chores, or prepare meals for your family. It’s not uncommon for someone else—either a family member, friend, or a professional—to have to step in and help. No-Fault benefits typically provide compensation for these replacement services. You will need to provide proof of which chores were done each day and who took on this responsibility.
- Attendant Care: During your treatment, you may require nursing assistance at home to complete basic tasks such as personal hygiene and to aid in your recovery. Personal Injury Protection benefits will often kick in to pay for a nurse or a family member to help you with the “activities of daily living” you are unable to do on your own due to your injuries.
- Lost Wages: Even a minor injury can prevent you from returning to work for days, weeks, or even months after the accident. Under Michigan’s No-Fault laws, accident victims can recover compensation for any wages lost due to their injuries. While you are only entitled to these benefits during the first three years after the accident, if you suffered a long-term or permanent disability, you have the option to sue the motorist responsible for causing the accident to recover the “excess” amount. For the period of October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, victims can receive a maximum of $5,755 per month via No-Fault wage loss benefits.
What Is a Third-Party Insurance Claim?
While No-Fault benefits cover a wide range of damages, they don’t account for many of the losses associated with more serious wrecks. If you want to recover compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages, you will have to file a third-party accident claim.
Unlike first-party claims which are contractual agreements between the insured and the insurance company, a third-party claim falls under the category of tort law. However, you can only file a third-party claim against the at-fault motorist’s insurer if he or she is at least 50% responsible for causing the accident and your injuries meet the threshold for bringing a suit.
In the state, an injury that meets the “threshold” is defined as a permanent serious disfigurement, serious impairment of body function, or death. Let’s take a look at some of the factors the courts may consider to determine whether your injury meets this threshold:
- The injury has inhibited your ability to live a normal life.
- The injury has affected a body part that is important to your financial well-being. For instance, if your job requires you to work with your hands, but the injury to your fingers has resulted in loss of dexterity, this will impact your ability to return to the same field of work.
- The effects of the injury can be observed or perceived from your symptoms.
Filing a third-party claim can be a daunting prospect as you will be going up against both the at-fault driver and their insurer. As such, it may be in your best interests to hire a skilled Troy car accident attorney. He or she can investigate the accident, review your medical records, and help build a convincing case for non-economic damages.
Can I Use Social Media after a Car Accident?
A metallic thud, shattered glass, a sudden pop as your airbags deploy; a car accident is almost always a harrowing experience. It’s only normal to turn to friends and family for guidance, emotional support, and to vent about the at-fault motorist’s reckless actions. While these conversations can help you process the trauma of this unexpected event, discussing the accident online may only add to your woes.
If you are planning to file a third-party accident claim, you should expect opposing parties to comb through your social media activity for evidence that could be leveraged to challenge your claim. From pictures to reviews to “check ins”, in the hands of a skilled defense attorney, anything you post online could be turned into ammunition against your case.
We will likely advise you to disable your social media accounts while your case is pending. However, if this isn’t possible, you should take the steps listed here to make sure your online activity doesn’t compromise your claim:
- Dial Up Your Privacy Settings: If your profile is public, you’re leaving the door wide open to disputes. In this mode, any cyber sleuth can start browsing through your post history, picking out comments, status updates, and other evidence that could be used to discredit your claim. As such, you should upgrade your privacy settings to limit who can see your posts. With these settings dialed all the way up, only approved friends and followers will be able to view posts on your feed.
- Do Not Discuss the Accident: While a simple Facebook post might help put a stop to your friends’ and family’s endless questions, hitting “publish” could cost you thousands of dollars in compensation. For instance, your comments might contradict other evidence in your case, or you may inadvertently downplay the extent of your injuries. As such, until your case is resolved, you should abstain from discussing the accident, your injuries, treatment, claim, expenses, and daily activities online.
- Screen New Friend Invites: If your account is set to “private”, opposing parties may try to send you a friend or follow request in order to view your posts. As such, you should avoid accepting new connection requests until proceedings have concluded.
Speak to a Troy Car Accident Attorney Today
At Seva Law Firm, we know what it takes to succeed, whether it’s during settlement negotiations, litigation, or trial. If you were seriously hurt in a car accident, we can help identify the liable parties, gather evidence to build a convincing case, and represent you throughout proceedings. Call (248) 385-5704 or click through to our Contact Page to lock in a free consultation.