3970 Heritage Ave, Suite B | Okemos, Mi 48864
Phone: (517) 347-6900
Fax: (517) 347-9045
There is no doubt that injuries received from an auto accident tend to be severe and the likelihood of a brain injury increases substantially when compared to other accidents or other common causes of injuries. Believe it or not, there are millions of brain injures every single year throughout the United States. Most Americans cringe every time they need to go the doctor because of the high medical costs, just imagine how expensive diagnosing and treating a serious brain injury is. As you probably already know, Michigan utilizes a no-fault system. Unfortunately, by agreeing and adopting to this type of car insurance, drivers are severely limited in their ability to bring a 3rd party lawsuit against the driver who is actually responsible. Most people don’t realize this fact, but it’s certainly true. While nobody that has sustained a brain injury is fortunate, Michigan does have an exception for this law by using what is called a traumatic brain injury exception. Under normal circumstances, an injured victim must prove that that the injury passes a certain “threshold”. If the victim has a brain injury, then this threshold no longer applies to the injury.
The official term for this waived exception is the closed-head injury exception. I can’t get into the entire injury threshold which Michigan has, but all you need to know is that with a brain injury you no longer have to show that the injury was objectively manifested. Sounds simple right? Lawmakers and insurance companies have purposely made it extremely difficult to bring a 3rd party lawsuit even if your injury substantially alters your life. Anyways, objectively manifested means that under usual circumstances (no brain injury) that your injuries can be viewed or seen by others around you or your close friends/family. In other words it needs to be evident to others that you have a serious injury. Fortunately, Michigan lawmakers came to their senses and realized that some brain injuries are near impossible to detect by others. For this very reason, if you have suffered a brain injury from an auto accident you no longer have to prove the injury was “objectively manifested”.
This exception is many times the difference between the ability to bring a 3rd party lawsuit and receiving a fair financial compensation or not being to able bring the lawsuit at all. It’s important to keep as many records following the accident and that you visit a doctor that specializes in head trauma. The more detailed and organized your records, the easier it is to show that you have indeed suffered a brain injury. For more information about brain injuries and the closed-head exception in Michigan, please call us today at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation.
Michigan No-Fault Law has recently come under heavy scrutiny by republican lawmakers claiming that reform is required to stave off insolvency to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association Fund. As a reminder, the MCCA fund is created through residents taxes and is responsible for paying injured car accident victims’ medical expenses once the medical costs rise over $500,000. Your own insurance currently covers the cost of medical expenses up to this $500,000 amount.
Just today, the MCCA announced a rate increase of 6%. Last year they increased rates by $30/per insured vehicle and this 6% increase equals roughly another $11/per insured vehicle. The MCCA claims that this increase is meant to fight the rising costs of Michigan’s unlimited lifetime medical expenses, but there is not one shred of proof showing these increases are necessary or how they are even calculated. Is it just a coincidence that the MCCA decided to increase rates during talks of no-fault reform??? Think again……
This is clearly a scare tactic used to create fear that Michigan residents will pay EVEN more if we don’t do something drastic. If this insolvency or shortage of fund was real they would be more than happy to share that information. The very fact that they are unwilling to disclose any financial information should be telling by itself! The fact of the matter is that they are raising rates just to scare residents and we have absolutely no way of finding the REAL TRUTH. This “major situation” could easily be fixed if we would just have the facts, but instead they are appealing the decision that they have to comply with the freedom of information act. Is this something that a normal company/person would do when facing bankruptcy??? Major corporations are required to publicly disclose balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flows, and more. Do Insurance companies have this sort of oversight? The short answer is no even though these insurance companies are banking billions of dollars. The only way to have a positive informative discussion on the current status of no-fault and the MCCA is for them to disclose rate calculations and how much is left is the fund. That would just make too much sense, why would we actually want to fix the underlying problems.
A new bill was just introduced that is attempting to cap medical expenses at $50,000. We would go from unlimited lifetime medical benefits to $50,000. If you or someone you know has had surgery or been in an auto accident you know just how quickly this will be exhausted. What is someone to do when your medical expenses go past this amount? Well they don’t want to talk about that. In most states you’d be able to sue the other driver responsible, but in Michigan your ability to sue the other driver is extremely difficult and even harder too prove in a court of law.
If lawmakers really want to cap medical benefits at $50,000, they are severely limiting your ability to get medical expenses paid and there is no talk of changing the injury threshold for making a 3rd party lawsuit. Currently, you must prove that your injury is a serious impairment of a bodily function in order to sue the negligent driver instead of your own insurance company. In states without no-fault there is no such restriction. If Michigan is going to cap first party benefits (medical expenses) and not change or increase your ability to sue the driver at fault, then there is no point to keeping no-fault. We would be much better off with an at-fault system, which is unfortunate, but it is the harsh reality.
The insurance companies don’t want to change to an at-fault insurance system because they would make LESS money. It’s much easier to cap your benefits and limit your ability to sue the negligent driver. They limit their own risk to pretty much zero while increasing profits, not exactly fair to the residents paying the highest premiums in the country. This way they don’t have to hire a lawyer to fight most of these cases and actually pay when they are required. Take some time to inform yourself about this Michigan no-fault reform, it really could change your life forever.
Even though this hasn’t been covered by many news outlets, there is a set of senate bills that hopes to increase the transparency on how exactly the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association calculates their rates. They were introduced last month without much notice from anyone. Governor Rick Snyder has openly stated that he wants to focus on No-Fault Reform, but WE want to make sure that any change would be beneficial to the residents of our state. Seems fair enough right? The only way to make informed logical decisions is to have the facts when making these decisions! Rick Snyder has been mute about this MCCA rate calculation “secrecy” issue when he should be leading the fight for more transparency. How can he possibly make this decision for Michigan residents when there is no access to the information supposedly responsible for needing reform?
If you are unfamiliar with the complexities of Michigan No-Fault Law, here is a quick overview of the MCCA. Under No-Fault Law in Michigan, your own insurance company covers your first party expenses which include medical related expenses for the life of your injuries. If an accident or injury is particularly severe, it’s possible that medical costs over the victim’s lifetime will surpass $500,000. This is where the MCCA fund starts to play a role. As I just stated, your insurance covers the 1st party benefits up to $500,00 and this MCCA fund covers medical expenses past the $500,000 to make sure the victim can live a relatively normal life without going bankrupt due to these high medical costs. Here is where the battle begins. The MCCA claims that this fund is low and these serious injuries are causing them to hurt financially thus making this unsustainable into the future. While this sounds like a valid point, it just simply isn’t true. They have no accountability and can increase rates without showing any reasoning or evidence to do so. They have refused to divulge this information multiple times over the last year…..I wonder why?
These senate bills (102 and 103) aim to hold the MCCA accountable for their rate calculations and make the public aware of the REAL financial situation of Michigan auto insurance. We as taxpayers who fund this claim deserve to know how much money is in the fund and how they are calculating our insurance rates, which are now the highest in the country by the way.
Have You Been Injured Due to Another Driver Running a Red Light or Stop Sign?
Red lights and stop lights are designed to manage traffic and keep drivers safe. Most drivers adhere to the rules of red lights and stop signs, but those who don’t can end up causing serious injuries and sometimes even fatalities. Unfortunately, many drivers disregard their own safety and the safety of others simply because they are in a hurry to get somewhere or they are distracted while driving and don’t even realize they failed to stop at an intersection. Just about everyone has run a red light or a stop sign on accident before, but some drivers that are speeding excessively or driving recklessly speed up during a yellow light and end up causing a major accident. Most accidents where a driver speeds up to avoid stopping at a red light are severe and cause serious injuries to both parties.
How Dangerous Are Car Accidents Caused By Running a Red Light or Stop Sign?
The Federal Highway Administrations claims that roughly 45% of car collisions take place at a road intersection and the cause is usually related to running a stop sign or running a stop light. This means tens of thousands of car accidents occur because a driver fails to stop at a red light or stop light and collides with another motor vehicle in the United States every year. With more and more people driving, we are dependent on red lights to keep us safe, and it only takes one mistake to cause a serious injury or fatality. Regardless of the reason for running a light, if you have been injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, you should talk with a Michigan auto accident attorney to make sure that justice is served and you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
We Can Investigate The Accident and Preserve The Evidence
The insurance company for the negligent driver often denies any fault whatsoever, so it’s important that you contact a Michigan personal injury lawyer who routinely deals with insurance companies and will work hard to help you receive payment for your mounting bills related to the injuries you have sustained. These insurance companies have not become rich by happily writing you a check for your injuries; they fight tooth and nail to keep the money they have made, and you need an experienced attorney who knows their tricks and strategies well. The faster you retain a lawyer, the better chance we have at preserving evidence and strengthening your claim. We can hire reconstruction experts and investigators to make sure the truth is found and use this to your advantage during trial. Questioning witnesses, reconstructing the accident, and analyzing all the documents corresponding to the accident can help you get a favorable result for your case.
Get The Compensation You Rightfully Deserve
We understand that medical expenses, wage loss, and other costs related to the car accident can put you in a tough financial position and sometimes can even lead to bankruptcy if the accident was serious. You can trust us to make sure the driver does not go unpunished and that you get the compensation that you need and deserve.
States across the country have all different types of auto insurance systems, but the main 2 include what are commonly referred as the no-fault system and the tort system. I have dealt with both types of systems as my career as a personal injury lawyer since I have practiced in both Michigan (no-fault) and South Carolina (tort system). In order to give you a better idea of how the two differ, here is a made-up example to help clarify the intricacies of the laws. I feel this is the best way to express the concepts without making it too difficult to understand or becoming too confusing.
Let’s assume that there is a simple auto collision between two parties. For simplicity sakes, the two driver’s names are John and Steve. Steve is completely at fault for the accident and this is obvious to anyone at the scene including both drivers. To make this example even better, Steve’s car was not only at fault for the accident, but his car happened to damage a building/home of a third party, let’s call the owner of the building Mark. Mark was just sitting in his home when he watches Steve and his car knock through his kitchen wall. So how would no-fault law treat this incident? How would the tort-system treat this incident? First let’s establish certain losses/injuries in which you can bring a recovery and then I’ll give a short explanation of how they are treated under both types of auto insurance laws.
About the Author: David M. Clark is a practicing auto accident attorney for over 30 years. David is the lead attorney and founder of The Clark Law Office which has locations in Okemos and Lansing, Michigan.
Discovery that follows a Michigan truck accident is important to strengthen your case. Discovery is a process where lawyers obtain information from the other parties involved and can then use this information during the trial or settlement. Usually, discovery is used to collect important documents and interview key witnesses. If you have been involved in a serious truck accident, you should immediately call an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney who frequently handles cases that pertain to trucks. Truck law is much different than regular auto accident law and it is important to have an attorney who knows these differences and can handle your case uniquely.
There are many more documents that will be used during trial in a truck accident case compared to an auto accident case. Truck drivers are held to a higher standard of care compared to regular residents driving an automobile. Truck drivers are only allowed to drive so many hours during the day in order to keep fresh and make sure that their driving ability is not lowered due to lack of sleep or being tired. Many good attorneys will also try to get cell phone records for the driver in question along with all types of fuel bills, freight bills, delivery receipts, and other invoices. Many of these documents will help determine if the truck driver followed proper procedures and safety regulations. As most people know, trucks must also follow law that requires the truck to be weighed frequently. Weigh stations are located along all highways and most trucks are required to stop. A good Michigan auto accident attorney will also look into the driver history and find information that may have led to driver misconduct. Some truck companies routinely use international travel and a good defense lawyer can request access to the border crossing reports from Michigan to Canada. This can help determine the time of the accident as well as how many hours the driver has really been driving regardless of what he may say or testify to. Make sure that when you hire an attorney, he knows the intricacies of trucking accident law in addition to Michigan auto accident law.
There are many complexities dealing with a serious Michigan truck accident. Sometimes it is difficult to determine which insurance policy will actually be covering the truck driver after an accident occurs. For this reason, you should contact a Michigan truck accident attorney who routinely deals with truck accidents. It is also important to find all the corresponding insurance that will end up protecting the victim of the accident.
Truck drivers are usually contracted by multiple companies and the insurance policies for each of these companies are usually much different. Simply finding the auto insurance policy for the truck driver can be a daunting task. Looking at the background history of the trucking line can also be helpful to determine how safe their drivers really are and if they have any lawsuits against them in their previous history. You should also ask the driver if he has ever been involved in a serious truck accident before. Another good question to ask is whether the trucking company has a set of safety standards and how closely they are adhered to. A good truck accident attorney will also look into the company’s hiring policy, safety regulations, training of the driver, compensation of the driver, and how many hours he has been driving leading up to the accident. Many times, a deposition is required to gain access to the information from the trucking company.
If you would like to find some information for yourself about the particular company, you can always use the Internet to do a little investigative research. Simply visit their website or other review sites that could possibly give you insights into how they run their business. Truck accident injuries are usually severe or even result in death because of the sheer size and force of many of the trucks colliding with smaller vehicles. It is vital that you receive your proper medical expenses and any other compensation that you are deserved. Don’t let the trucking company get away with negligence; make sure that you do everything within your power to strengthen your case against the trucking company. For more information visit our page dedicated to truck accidents.
Michigan is one of 12 states in the country that have adopted a no-fault auto insurance system. This means that in most cases you end up suing your own insurance company to cover your medical expenses and other out of pocket costs. Most people assume that you are able to simply sue the negligent driver who caused the auto accident. In most states this is true, but not so in Michigan.
Many people come to us and can’t believe they have to sue their own insurance company, so we realize there is still some confusion out there on what type of cases you can bring following your auto accident. This infographic is meant to inform the reader about the different potential cases types under Michigan No-Fault Law and help residents realize how important purchasing auto insurance really is. If you found this useful please share this infographic with your friends and colleagues! For more information regarding no-fault law in Michigan, please visit our auto accident page.
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Michigan is a no-fault state, but it also provides what is called limited property damage for all drivers in Michigan. This limited property damage is also referred to as a mini tort claim. The purpose of this loophole is to help drivers pay for damage done to your own vehicle, but unfortunately this protection is extremely limited in nature. As you probably already know, your own insurance company is responsible for paying your first party benefits which include wage loss, medical expenses, attendant care, medical mileage, and replacement services. But what about the damage sustained to your vehicle? Who is going to pay that? The mini tort is a way for drivers to recoup a small amount from a negligent driver’s insurance coverage to pay for damage done to your vehicle, up to a maximum of $1000.00.
If you are less than fifty percent at fault for the accident, you are able to file a mini tort claim against the driver is more than 50% at fault. This claim can be made by a driver who is not at fault for the vehicle accident in Michigan. There are a few restrictions and conditions which you must meet in order to bring this claim successfully. These conditions include
Many drivers are confused by all the requirements and conditions, so here is an example to make this easier to understand. For example, imagine that you were involved in a semi-serious auto collision which damages your vehicle substantially. It is determined that the other driver is 80% at fault for the accident, this is just a simple example; proving the other driver is at-fault can sometimes be difficult. The first thing you would be required to do is prove how much actual damage was done. This can be done by an adjuster or of course a car mechanic. Let’s say you take your car to a repair facility and they determine the total amount of damage is $2500.00. Finding the amount you can recover is now pretty straightforward. Simply take the amount of damage and multiply it by the percentage the other driver is at fault. In this case you take the $2500 and multiply that by 80%. That amount comes to $2000 which you are entitled to. Unfortunately, the maximum allowable amount that you can recover is $1000. Even though you should be given $2000, you will only collect $1000 in these set of circumstances. Many drivers feel this is unfair, but it’s just the reality of the no-fault law which has been established. For more information about auto accidents in Michigan, check out this page. If you need help with your mini-tort claim, contact us today for a completely free consultation.
In Michigan, a third party case is against the driver that was negligent in causing the accident and the injuries that were sustained during the accident. 3rd party benefits are referred to as a non-economic loss. However, because we have a no-fault law in our state, not every driver is entitled to sue the person who caused the accident. There are additional jumps and hurdles which must be met in order to even bring a case for your non-economic losses. Most other states without no-fault law don’t have such strict standards and thresholds.
In order to sue the person that was at fault for the accident and receive pain and suffering compensation and other 3rd party benefits, Michigan law states that your injuries have to meet a certain threshold. The threshold that your injuries have to meet is what is called a serious impairment of an important body function. Additionally, a serious permanent disfigurement meets the threshold along with the uncommon result of death.
While serious permanent disfigurement and death are easy to define, serious impairment of an important bodily function is much more difficult to prove. Proving this concept is usually the most important argument made on your behalf. There are several factors that courts use to determine whether an injury is a serious impairment of bodily function.
As you can see, sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether an injury meets this threshold. Every case and every injury is different. Whether your injury resulted in a broken bone, a back problem, ligament tear, knee or shoulder injury, or a more serious condition, it is important to figure out what your rights are and whether your injury meets this threshold for Michigan third party benefits. To determine whether your injury meets this threshold, contact one of our Lansing accident lawyers at The Clark Law Office and arrange a completely free initial consultation by calling (517) 347-6900. We charge no fees unless you win!