Automobile Accident Injuries
Have you or a loved one been injured in a automobile accident in Michigan? Do you now feel lost in the system? Does the insurance adjuster assigned to you, while originally appearing to be kind and helpful, now refuse to answer your questions or calm your fears? Do you feel overwhelmed, scared, or fear you are about to lose everything you have worked so hard for?
Following an accident, learning to navigate and manage the claims process alone can be a nightmare because Michigan’s No Fault Law is highly detailed and complex.
For over 30 years, Attorney Richard J. Stolcenberg and RJS Law have been answering these questions and many others for individuals whose lives have been disrupted and destroyed by injuries from automobile accidents, or motorcycle or truck collisions. Representing individuals who have been injured or the families of individuals who have died in a car accident, Attorney Richard J. Stolcenberg guides his clients through the Michigan no-fault claims process. We secure the best possible recovery available to help secure the financial futures and address the medical care concerns of our clients until they are satisfied with the outcome of their case.
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident in Michigan and sustained a serious injury or death from the accident, it’s important to know what your rights are and how to pursue the claims process. Michigan no-fault insurance often leaves people confused and in need of a personal injury attorney to be their advocate.
At RJS Law, if you have questions, we have answers and our advice is always free. We have decades of knowledge and experience with auto accident injuries so let us help put your mind at ease. Take the first step by calling our Office Director with a question or to schedule a free consultation for a time that works best for YOU.
Michigan No-Fault Law: Car Accidents
Since 1973, Michigan has been using a “no-fault” law for auto accidents. Essentially, the system makes it so that your own insurance company covers your claim and pays for your basic immediate losses – Medical needs and Wage loss - regardless of whether the collision was your fault or not. Even if you were to blame for the car accident, you may be entitled to certain benefits.
Who Pays After a No-Fault Car Accident?
If you were injured in a car accident, the insurance company that pays for your benefits might be your own, or may be the other driver’s insurance, depending on a number of factors. The benefits are the same regardless of which insurer pays.
What to do if You’ve Been Injured
First, your safety and medical care are the most important factors to focus on. Get immediate attention for your injuries and do not worry about how this might factor into a later lawsuit. Your primary goal just be seeking care and following the medical advice of your doctors. While seeking treatment, remember to take pictures of your injuries: all bruises, cuts, casts, etc. Try to keep everything together so that you can get help filing your claim.
How to get Insurance Benefits
If you are seeking benefits after an accident, the first step is to fill out a simple one-page application that your insurance company will send you upon request. The form gives notice to the insurance company about the accident. You provide your name, address, details about the accident, and the nature of your injuries. It also includes permission for the insurance company to investigate your claim. You have one year from the date of the accident to make an “application for benefits” with your insurance company.
What No-Fault Benefits are Available To You
In summary, your rights consist of payment of reasonable and necessary medical bills, including medical services, accommodations and rehabilitation for the rest of your life for injuries suffered in the accident. Your benefits also include wage loss. You must have written medical restrictions from your doctor to qualify for wage loss benefits. These wage loss benefits from your insurance carrier are subject to monthly maximums and are paid only for the first three (3) years from the date of the crash.
Your insurance company will also pay up to twenty dollars ($20.00) per day for services you used to provide for yourself or your family (dishwashing, snow removal, lawn mowing, etc.) that you are medically restricted from doing and must hire someone else to perform. These are called “replacement services” and may be paid by your insurance carrier for services done within three years from the date of the crash. Additional benefits include mileage to and from medical and physical therapy appointments and payment to people who provide medical assistance to you at home, even if they are your relatives.
Long-term benefits for seriously injured people (spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, etc.) are perhaps the most complex area of No-fault law. These may include extended rehabilitation benefits as prescribed by your doctor. These also may include payment for the daily specialized care given to an injured individual, even if that care is provided by a family member. Your treating doctor should provide you with a script for these long-term benefits. It is beneficial to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the full range of benefits that are available under Michigan law.
Survivor losses in cases of Death
If a person who is covered by No-fault insurance dies because of injuries suffered in an auto accident, the insurance company must pay to that person’s dependents, spouse or minor children, lost contributions of “tangible things of economic value”. These benefits are limited to three years from the date of the crash. The maximum amount the No-fault carrier pays is limited by law to a “statutory cap” which increases slightly each year. Social Security benefits or Workers’ compensation benefits payable to the deceased individual’s survivors are subtracted from the monthly maximum paid by the No-fault insurance carrier. For further information see Frequently Asked Questions.
What if my Claim is Denied?
If your claim for the basic No-Fault benefits is denied, you have One year from the time the expense is incurred to file an action against the responsible carrier. This is called a First-Party action. If your claim is denied, or if you have questions and believe that you could benefit from having a personal injury attorney, call us for a free consultation. Even if we don’t work together on your case, we may be able to discuss the details of your situation and help steer you in the right direction.
Changes to your Quality of Life
If your injuries have affected your quality of life and limit or restrict you activities, then you may be entitled to a recovery for those “Human Loss” damages from the at fault driver or company. Michigan Law provides for the recovery of the value of those losses that have affected the quality of your life. This is referred to as a Third Party Claim for Human Losses. The limitations caused by your injuries must seriously impair the quality of your life as compared to your life before the crash. This is Michigan’s “Serious Impairment Threshold” under the No-Fault Statute. There is a Three year Statute of Limitations within which to file a law suit for these losses. For further information see Frequently Asked Questions.
Family losses for Wrongful Death
The death of a loved one creates an unspeakable sadness to the family members left behind. This loss painfully echoes throughout the lives of all those affected: Spouses and Children, Mothers and Fathers, and Brothers and Sisters are all uniquely impacted. If an individual dies as a result of the injuries they receive in a crash, Michigan law provides the family of the deceased individual to make a claim against the at fault driver for the loss of their loved one. The staff at RJS Law addresses these delicate situations with understanding and compassion. Those affected need to be aware that a Personal Representative must be appointed, and there is a Two Year Statute of Limitations to make this claim.
At RJS Law, we represent YOU and your family’s interests. We meet face-to-face with prospective clients to answer their questions, discuss their concerns, and explain their options. We take the time to get to know our clients very well because we cannot represent your best interests if we do not know you. Our clients reach out to us during very stressful and Trust is ultimately built in-person—not on the phone and, especially, not on the internet.
For review of your claim, please contact us at (616) 532-1666.