Life for those on foot can be a harrowing experience in Detroit. All it takes is one distracted driver, speeding biker, or tired trucker to turn an afternoon stroll into a trip to the emergency room. If you were struck by a motorist, our Detroit pedestrian accident attorneys may be able to assist with your claim.
With a recent spate of changes to Michigan’s insurance laws, it can be difficult to figure out how best to proceed with your claim. Fortunately, our attorneys have decades of combined experience representing accident victims in Detroit. During your free case review, we can answer your questions, discuss possible outcomes for your case, and explain how we might proceed with your claim. To find out more, reach out to us at (248) 385-5704.
What Is the Order of Priority for Pedestrian Accident Claims in Michigan?
If you were injured by a motorist as a pedestrian, you will have to follow a strict “order of priority” to determine who will pay your No-Fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Let’s take a look at the order below:
- Your own No-Fault auto insurance policy for your own vehicle
- Your spouse’s No-Fault auto insurance policy for his or her vehicle
- Your resident relative’s No-Fault auto insurance policy for their vehicle
If you do not have a source of No-Fault coverage available to you through the avenues listed above, there is another option for recovering compensation. Pedestrian accident victims who do not have access to No-Fault auto insurance benefits—either from their own policy, their spouse’s, or a resident relative’s—can apply for benefits via the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. While, in the past, there was no cap on the amount of No-Fault medical benefits you could receive through the plan, new laws limit a pedestrian’s PIP medical benefits coverage to just $250,000.
Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering after a Pedestrian Accident?
Yes. If you were struck and injured by a motorist, you have a legal right to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for pain and suffering. However, you will have to show that your injury meets the threshold for bringing a suit by proving that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function”.
In order for an injury to meet these criteria, you must show that:
- The injury is observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions.
- The injury impairs an important body function. For instance, your injury has affected your mobility leaving you unable to do your job.
- The injury affects your ability to lead a normal life. For example, your injury impedes your ability to enjoy your favorite pastimes, tackle chores around the home, drive, or live independently.
You will also have to show that the motorist was more than 50% responsible for causing the accident.
Important Evidence in a Pedestrian Accident Claim
If you are seeking damages as part of a third-party accident claim, it’s likely that you and the at-fault motorist will have conflicting stories over what actually happened. After all, it’s in the driver’s insurer’s interests to downplay the role he or she played in causing the wreck in order to reduce how much they have to pay out. As such, you will need to gather strong evidence to mitigate or overcome disputes during proceedings.
Let’s take a look at some of the types of evidence your attorney may use to prove your claim:
- Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene: Making sense of a serious accident is a daunting task. Often, collisions happen in the blink of an eye, making it difficult to determine exactly what happened. As such, taking pictures of the accident scene could be vital to the success of your case as your attorney—or an accident reconstruction expert—could use these images to piece together the events leading up to the wreck. Try taking photos of external damage to any vehicles involved, the injuries you suffered, road markings, road signs or traffic signals, weather conditions, road conditions, skid marks, debris, and any other elements that could help prove your case. Take pictures and videos from multiple angles and distances.
- Eyewitness Statements: If anyone saw the accident take place, you should take down their contact details. It’s possible that an eyewitness may be able to corroborate your version of events or provide additional information that could help you prove liability. Your Detroit pedestrian accident attorney may want to interview eyewitnesses to determine whether their deposition could help strengthen your case.
- The Police Report: Responding officers will provide you with an official police report number which you can use to obtain a free copy of this document once it is completed. Not only will your insurer require this number to process your claim, but your attorney can also use this number to obtain their own copy of the report. Unfortunately, unless the officer saw the accident take place, police reports are usually not admissible in court. However, these reports often contain useful information that could help you build your case and negotiate a fair settlement.
- Black Box Data: If you were struck by a commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler, there’s a high chance that the at-fault motorist’s vehicle was equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR)—otherwise known as a Black Box. These devices keep tabs on a variety of metrics such as the vehicle’s speed, airbag deployment, steering angles, and brake application. Data from an EDR could help you prove that the driver was speeding at the time of the collision or did not take sufficient steps to avoid the accident, such as hitting the brakes or swerving out of the way.
- Medical Records: Without up-to-date medical records, you will struggle to demonstrate the severity of your injuries, limitations, and the treatments you’ve undergone. As such, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that these records are available when you file your claim.
- A Written Account of the Accident: While you may be in a hurry to forget this traumatic experience, it’s possible that the success of your case will hinge on your ability to recall specific details about the accident. As such, you should take time immediately after the collision to write about what happened. What were you doing in the moments before you were struck? What did the at-fault motorist say after the accident? Did you notice any surveillance cameras near the accident scene? The answers to these questions could assist your attorney with their investigation into the collision.
Find a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Detroit
As a pedestrian, you don’t have the luxury of airbags, seatbelts, and a metallic chassis to keep you safe in an accident. Even at slower speeds, a vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries, and victims are often straddled with long-term health complications and exorbitant medical bills.
At Seva Law Firm, we provide compassionate representation for those injured on Detroit’s roads. Our goal is to help you recover fair compensation for your losses, while working to make sure this process is as simple and stress-free as possible for you and your family. If you would like to schedule a free case review with a Detroit pedestrian accident attorney, dial (248) 385-5704 or swap over to our Online Contact Form.