Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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car wreckIn Michigan, as in any other state, all drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and drive carefully to minimize the risk of accidents on the road. Unfortunately, drivers do not always adhere to this duty and end up causing accidents that result in serious injuries or even deaths. If your loved one was killed in a car accident due to someone else, you may be able to take legal action against the at-fault party. At Davis Law Center, our experienced car accident and wrongful death attorneys understand how to navigate these complicated and high-stakes claims.

In a recent study, the National Safety Council reported that motor vehicle accident deaths increased by six percent in 2016 as compared to 2015. Specifically, auto accident fatalities topped 40,000 for the first time since 2007. These numbers were similar to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings, which stated an eight percent increase in fatal crashes in the first nine months of 2016 compared to the prior year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 893 fatal crashes in Michigan in 2015, resulting in 963 deaths.

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carRear-end collisions are some of the most common types of car accidents that take place in Michigan and throughout the United States. If you or a loved one has been in a rear-end collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Davis Law Center, our seasoned rear-end accident attorneys can discuss your case with you and provide you with an honest assessment of your claim.

A rear-end accident occurs when one vehicle strikes the back of another vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are about 1.7 million rear-end collisions on U.S. roadways each year. The NHTSA found that 87 percent of rear-end collisions took place because a driver simply was not paying attention to the road. Cell phones and other non-driving-related gadgets in cars contributed to that distraction. Other common causes of rear-end accidents include speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, failing to obey traffic laws, poor weather conditions, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

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Michigan injury victims beware and be smart.  Insurance companies act like your best friend in their funny little ads on TV but treat you like a criminal as soon as you make a claim and investigate your background more thoroughly than if you had actually committed a crime.

After an accident occurs or a claim is made, you can bet the insurance company will begin an aggressive investigation that includes researching vast databases where they have access to your criminal history, claim history, employment history, vehicle ownership history as well as the names of acquaintances, friends and fellow employees.  More importantly, the insurance companies will hire a private investigator to follow you and take videos and pictures of all your activities.  They will also exhaustively investigate your social media accounts and download all your public posts and pictures.  They will then attempt to use this information to later persuade a judge to dismiss your case if anything you say or do seems to contradict the videos they have of you or the things you post on social media.   Make no mistake, no matter how seriously you are injured, most insurance companies would rather pay a private investigator and their lawyers bundles of money than compensate you in any degree for the injuries you sustained.

In many recent Michigan injury cases, surveillance and a thorough review of your social media accounts occurs almost immediately after you make a claim.   We recently had a case where a client was run over by a car and by the time our client was released from the hospital, the insurance company had already interviewed all the client’s neighbors, the investigating police officer and our client’s employer in an attempt to somehow discredit the fact that their insured was negligent and ran him over.  The insurance company then conducted surveillance on him 24 hours per day which continues to this day

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One of the tricks the insurance company tries to play with an injured person is to convince the person that the insurance company isn’t liable. They try to convince the injured person that they were actually at fault for injuries and they won’t get anything from a jury. The may try to use this argument to bully the injured person into accepting a low-ball settlement offer, telling the person to “take it or leave it.” Ultimately, the jury has the final say in who is at fault and just how much the other party should get (if anything). A personal injury lawyer can fight to get you the money you need and work to convince a jury that the other party was negligent.

This right to a jury trial is actually included in the Bill of Rights. This is how important our Founding Fathers saw this right. Were it not for the right to a trial by jury, injured parties and those of limited means would get steamrolled by the rich and by big corporations. The civil justice system provides an equal playing field for all parties involved, allowing a jury of our peers to ultimately decide the merits of a particular case.

If the insurance company has denied responsibilities for your injuries or is trying to bully you into accepting a low settlement, a personal injury lawyer can fight to get you the money you deserve. Before allowing yourself to be bullied after your car crash, slip and fall, or other negligent injury, work with an attorney who will fight for the money you deserve.

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When a person is struck by a motorist without insurance, it can cause serious problems for the injured party. The injured person can sue the at-fault driver and, if a judgment is rendered against them their license is suspended until they pay. Unfortunately, people who flout the law by driving without insurance might have no issue driving with a suspended license, leaving the injured party the bear the full cost of their injuries.

In order to prevent this from happening, Michigan drivers should consider adding Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) to their auto insurance. This is generally an inexpensive addition to a policy but provides significant assistance to the injured person. With UM coverage, the insured party will have coverage up to their own limits when they are injured by an uninsured driver. They can then submit a first party claim to their insurance company to cover their damages.

Another addition that people may also want to consider is Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). With this coverage, if they at-fault party’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover damages, the injured person can submit a first party claim under their UIM coverage. Again, this is generally low cost coverage that can be extremely valuable after an accident. If you do not currently carry these two types of coverage, it may be a good idea to speak to insurance agent about adding them.

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When someone is injured in an accident, they understandably want some assurances that they will definitely get the money they need. Unfortunately, no personal injury attorney can ever guarantee success in a case. This is frustrating for an injured person, but it is the only honest, ethical answer a lawyer can give. What the law firm can do, however, is make sure that they do everything possible to achieve a positive outcome for a particular client.

This means that an attorney will conduct a proper investigation of a particular accident and a thorough analysis of a person’s injuries. When investigating an accident, the attorney might have a private investigator get witness statements, take pictures of where the injury occurred, and reconstruct a particular accident to prove the injury was their fault. This is essential in getting the money you need – in order to recover compensation, you will have to prove that the other party was at least 51% responsible for your injuries.

Evaluating injuries is also vitally important because it is the only way to ensure that a person gets full compensation for their injuries. Since a personal injury settlement or verdict will need to cover a person for the rest of their life, it is important to ensure that future medical is accounted for. For example, if back surgery will be needed to repair a herniated disc, then they money for that surgery needs to be included in this settlement.

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When a loved one suffers an untimely death, the last thing on a family’s mind is money. They are stricken with grief, forced to adjust to a new life without the love and companionship of their loved one. This loss often leaves a void, especially when the death is due to the negligence of another. While money can never replace this person, it can help a family find closure during this difficult time. A Detroit wrongful death lawyer can review your case and explain how they can help. Together, you and your attorney can work through this difficult time.

An example of a common wrongful death is a death caused by a car accident. In many cases, there aren’t criminal charges to hold the party responsible. For instance, if someone just didn’t notice the motorcycle coming, pulled out in front of them, and killed them. This death is extremely tragic, but there’s nothing inherently illegal about this accident.

The only way to hold the responsible party accountable is through the civil court system. There, a jury can assign fault and give a monetary award to help the family with the loss they have suffered. While the money is certainly helpful, perhaps more important is just hearing the jury assign fault. When a jury of your peers helps to hold someone accountable, it can help provide closure to the family. Eventually, they can move on from this tragic loss.

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Children need to be monitored at all times around vehicles, especially when a car is backing out. Children can run quickly and, because the driver has limited sight in their mirrors, the driver may not see the child until it is too late. According to safety advocates KidsandCars.com, approximately 48 children are injured ever week from backover accidents. As a Detroit injury attorney, safety is my primary concern. Therefore all drivers should be careful when backing up in places where there may be children playing.

The biggest problem is that mirrors can create a false sense of security that the area behind a driver is clear, when in reality there is a child playing right behind it. In most cases, these accidents occur in a driveway and involve a family or friend of the child. Therefore if a child is in the yard playing, the driver needs to know exactly where the child is before they back out. If a driver can’t see the child, they should make sure that the child is not behind the vehicle.

Parents also should be diligent in teaching their children not to play in or around vehicles. Children are naturally drawn to cars because they are large machines that pique the child’s interest. They need to be aware that these vehicles are not toys and they need to stay away from them if they are not a passenger. Still, children being children, it is impossible to predict what a child might do. Therefore, ultimate responsibility falls on the adult driver in keeping children safe and preventing injury.

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During their initial free consultation, many clients want to know how much money they can expect for their injuries. They hope that a personal injury lawyer can give them an estimate of what to expect from a settlement or a verdict. While this is an understandable question, there is unfortunately no way to provide an estimate for what a case may be worth. Ultimately, the settlement or verdict you potentially receive will be based on the specific facts of your case and your specific injuries.

It is important for clients to understand exactly what a personal injury case is – it is an attempt to make someone as whole as possible after the have suffered injuries due to another person’s negligence. In other words, the goal is to return you to the state you were in before the injuries. Obviously, turning back the clock is impossible and with certain life-changing injuries, such a wrongful death, money is wholly inadequate for replacing what you have lost. But this is the only way we have to help those who have suffered an injury.

This means that it is important for a client to understand the injuries they have suffered and what they can expect to recover for them. Economic damages are relatively easy to value. These include medical bills, lost wages, future medical, etc. Since they are quantifiable, it is relatively straightforward to add them up when seeking recompense. Non-economic damages, while no less important, are somewhat more difficult to value. These include things such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, etc. An experienced injury attorney can help you identify these damages and give you some ideas on how to value them. While it may be difficult to put an exact number of these injuries, it is possible to evaluate claims based on the totality of your injuries.

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An option available on most auto insurance policies is known as Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM). This coverage exists for people who have been seriously injured in a car accident and who find that the at-fault party’s insurance coverage does not make them whole. As a Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer, it is a good idea to speak with your insurance agent about adding this coverage. It is often relatively inexpensive and can be a major help for an injured person.

In Michigan, a person is required to carry at least $20,000/$40,000 worth of coverage. This provides $20,000 worth of coverage for a single person, $40,000 worth of coverage for a single accident. As anyone who has spent a night in the hospital can tell you, $20,000 will barely cover that hospital stay. This leaves almost nothing left for future medical and other costs associated with an injury.

UIM coverage can supplement this coverage, giving an injured person an opportunity to be made whole by their own insurance company. A Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer can help with this first-party claim. Before settling with the at-fault party’s insurance company, speak with an attorney who can make sure you are taking the steps necessary in order to preserve your right to make this claim.

American Association for Justice Michigan Association for Justice The National Trial Lawyers Million Dollar Advocates Forum State Bar of Michigan