Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

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Car accidents can happen for various reasons, and Michigan enforces several laws for resolving accidents that are very different from what you would encounter in most other states. If you or a family member recently experienced an accident and you are unsure how to recover your losses, it is vital that you consult a Detroit car accident lawyer as quickly as possible to determine your optimal path to recovery.

Helping Car Accident Victims Recover in Detroit, MI

The team at Wigod & Falzon has years of professional experience helping injured car accident victims through auto insurance and, in some cases, personal injury claims. If you have been hurt in an accident, it is natural to have many questions about your recovery options and what to expect when it comes to filing your insurance claim. Our goal is to help you feel more at ease in this situation and to maximize your recovery as quickly as possible.

Michigan enforces strict rules for resolving car accidents largely under a no-fault system, meaning every driver is required to purchase their own auto insurance and to use this insurance when they experience an accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, there are many caveats to this law, and it is important to understand how your auto insurance will function if you experience an accident because of another driver’s actions.

Even when your case appears straightforward, it is possible for you to encounter a wide range of unexpected complications that can be very difficult for you to resolve on your own. You also face procedural obligations that you must meet for both an auto insurance claim and a personal injury suit, and gathering evidence to prove the exact cause of your accident will be crucial to your recovery efforts.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can successfully resolve your car accident case alone, regardless of how clear the fault for the accident may be. Even if you think you understand the full breadth of your claimable damages, you could be entitled to a greater recovery than you initially realize. The right Detroit car accident lawyer can be crucial not only for succeeding with your recovery efforts but also for securing as much compensation as state law allows.

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Detroit

Despite the fact that the state upholds the no-fault rule for resolving most vehicle accident claims, it is still vital for all drivers to know the greatest risks they face while driving and the most likely causes of accidents. The majority of accidents reported in the Detroit area happen because of driver negligence, which can take many forms:

  • Distracted driving is the most common form of driver negligence reported throughout the state each year. Whenever drivers do not pay attention to the road, they put themselves and others at grave risk. If you believe another driver was distracted behind the wheel when they caused your recent accident, an experienced Detroit car accident lawyer can help gather evidence to prove the truth of the situation.
  • Speeding is not only another common form of driver negligence but can also qualify as illegal misconduct in many cases. Drivers are expected to abide by posted speed limits, but it is relatively common to see drivers speeding slightly over these speed limits to maintain a flow of traffic. Speeding can increase not only the chance of an accident but also the severity of any resulting damages.
  • Traffic violations such as failure to yield the right-of-way, performing an illegal turn or U-turn, failing to signal, or running a red light or stop sign are common causes of accidents in Detroit. Accidents like these are especially common in dense urban areas with lots of congested traffic, and it is possible for moving violations to cause harm to bicyclists and pedestrians as well as other motor vehicle drivers.

Along with these common examples of driver negligence, intentional misconduct behind the wheel can also be very damaging. The most common example of this in the Detroit area is intoxicated driving. It is illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and if they cause an accident, they face criminal prosecution for breaking the law, along with potential civil liability for any damages caused to others.

Reckless driving can also cause accidents. The term reckless driving can apply to any incident in which a driver demonstrates a willful disregard for the safety of others. This may include excessive speeding, street racing, violating traffic signals, drifting around corners, and more. Reckless driving is likely to lead to criminal charges, especially if the reckless driver harmed anyone with their actions.

After most car accidents in Detroit, the no-fault rule will apply, and the injured driver will need to file a claim against their own auto insurance policy to recover their losses. Because Michigan allows drivers to choose their levels of coverage, the amount of compensation an injured driver can expect from their insurance policy generally depends on how much coverage they have purchased.

However, there are some situations in which it is possible for an injured driver to pursue a lawsuit against whoever caused the accident. These situations include any car accident case in which the victim suffered a severe permanent disability or if the accident was caused by an out-of-state driver who does not have auto insurance in the state. Your Detroit car accident lawyer can determine whether you have grounds to file such a case.

ecovering Compensation Through Auto Insurance in Detroit

When a driver purchases no-fault auto insurance in the state, the policy includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This can compensate the policyholder in several ways up to the coverage limits outlined in the policy. If you have this coverage and experience an accident, your PIP coverage may pay for your medical bills, a portion of your lost income for up to three years, and replacement services that can provide a daily stipend to cover household tasks you cannot do alone.

If you are purchasing auto insurance in Detroit, it is vital to find the right balance of coverage and affordability under the choice rule for auto insurance. Drivers have the option of purchasing whatever level of personal injury protection and bodily injury/property damage (BI/PD) coverage they feel is necessary. They can also purchase property protection insurance that can pay for some types of property damage they may cause in an accident.

It is also important for drivers to remember that under Michigan law, their no-fault auto insurance coverage also includes residual liability coverage that can apply if another party is injured by the policyholder. At a minimum, this coverage must include at least $20,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person injured in a single accident with a $40,000 total accident minimum, as well as $10,000 for property damage in an accident that occurred in another state.

Dealing with any insurance adjuster can be challenging, even if you think your claim is simple and straightforward. Insurance companies typically look for all the reasons they can find to deny a claim or justify the lowest possible settlement offer, sometimes engaging in bad faith tactics in their efforts to avoid paying out fair settlements. Having a Detroit car accident lawyer help you will dramatically reduce the chance of encountering such mistreatment.

As soon as an insurance company sees that a claimant has legal counsel, it will be more inclined to process the claim efficiently and in good faith. If any unexpected complications arise with your claim, your attorney can direct you as to how to resolve these problems efficiently. Once you receive a settlement offer, your attorney can review it to ensure it is fair and reasonable under the terms of the policy.

When to File a Personal Injury Suit for a Car Accident

Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law is meant to curb the number of lawsuits filed in response to motor vehicle crashes, so it is only possible for an injured driver to file a personal injury suit after an accident under certain conditions. Generally, if an accident caused severe damages that far exceed the scope of available auto insurance, such as a catastrophic injury resulting in permanent disability, the victim is likely eligible to file a personal injury suit.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to file a personal injury claim after a car accident, but you are certain that another driver is directly responsible for causing the accident, it is crucial that you consult an experienced Detroit car accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney can review the details of how your accident happened, examine your recovery options through auto insurance, and help build a personal injury case if you have grounds to do so.

To succeed with any personal injury claim, you will need to identify the party or parties you believe to be responsible for your damages, and then you will need to prove exactly how they caused those damages. Additionally, you must accurately assess the full value of these damages, determine how much you can recover through auto insurance, and then assess how much you can foreseeably obtain from the defendant with your personal injury suit.

While proving fault is not always necessary to recover from a car accident in Detroit, it will be essential for success in your personal injury suit. You must prove the defendant breached a duty of care they owed to you and, in doing so, directly caused your claimed damages. Your Detroit car accident lawyer can help build the foundation of this claim.

Understanding Shared Liability for a Car Accident in Detroit

The state enforces a modified comparative fault rule that can apply to any civil claim for damages in which a plaintiff shares fault with a defendant for causing the damages. However, while many states enforce similar modified comparative fault statutes, Michigan’s is quite different from most other states. Under this law, each liable party has a fault percentage assigned to them, indicating their levels of responsibility for the damages cited in the claim.

If a plaintiff is found partially at fault for a personal injury, their fault percentage dictates how much of their case award they lose as a penalty. For example, 20% fault results in losing 20% of their case award. The modified comparative fault rule in most other states bars plaintiff recovery at 50% fault, meaning if a plaintiff is proven to be 50% or more at fault, they cannot claim compensation from the defendant,

In Michigan, this rule works a bit differently. If a plaintiff is found 50% or more at fault, they lose the ability to claim compensation for their non-economic damages, and their fault percentage will dictate their penalty from their economic damage recovery. For example, if a plaintiff is 70% at fault when seeking $200,000 in economic damages and $200,000 in non-economic damages, they would only receive compensation for 30% of their $200,000 in economic damages.

Determining fault for a serious car accident in Detroit can be challenging, which is yet another reason it is so crucial for an injured driver to have legal counsel they can trust. The right attorney can help them gather the evidence needed to firmly establish fault for their damages, accurately assess the extent of their damages, and successfully assert liability for these damages to enhance their client’s case award as much as possible.

Claimable Damages in a Personal Injury Case

When you are successful in proving liability for your personal injury, you have the right to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages that the defendant caused. While you may be able to recover some of your economic damages through your auto insurance claim, compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages is not available through insurance.

If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim in Detroit, your attorney can help you maximize your total compensation by accurately assessing immediate and long-term economic damages and assisting you in calculating appropriate pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant who caused your personal injury.

Economic damages can include any direct financial losses you suffered that insurance will not cover. For many car accident victims in Detroit, economic losses they can potentially recover from their personal injury claims may include:

  • Medical expenses, including the cost of future medical care they may need for a serious injury. Auto insurance can cover medical expenses in some cases, but if you have any medical treatment costs that are not covered by insurance, it is possible to seek compensation from the defendant who caused your injury.
  • Lost income, including lost future wages, if you suffered a permanently disabling injury. PIP coverage in a no-fault auto insurance policy is limited in terms of the income replacement benefits it will provide if you are unable to work after a covered accident. A Detroit car accident lawyer can help their client secure compensation for their future lost wages when an accident is serious enough to leave them permanently disabled.
  • Property damage. Insurance is often able to cover a portion of vehicle repair or replacement costs after an accident, but any remainder not covered by insurance may be claimed through a personal injury suit. The plaintiff may also seek compensation for any property damage not covered by insurance.

The average car accident victim may be able to recognize their immediately noticeable economic losses, such as hospital bills and vehicle repair costs, but accurate assessment of their long-term economic damages will be very difficult with an attorney’s help. Similarly, if they intend to seek compensation for non-economic damages, the average person is unlikely to determine a suitable amount without the help of legal counsel.

Non-economic damages in a personal injury case can include any losses that are intangible and not easily measured. These include physical pain from injuries, emotional distress caused by the trauma of experiencing the accident, and psychological anguish resulting from diminished enjoyment of life due to a serious injury. State law does not limit how much pain and suffering compensation a car accident victim may seek.

If you sustained any permanently disabling or otherwise catastrophic injuries from your accident, the pain and suffering compensation you obtain from a successful personal injury suit could potentially outweigh the total of the compensation you secure for your economic damages. Your Detroit car accident lawyer can be invaluable when it comes to maximizing your case award as much as state law permits.

Resolving Your Personal Injury Claim in Detroit

Your Detroit car accident lawyer can be invaluable not only for the help they can provide in building your claim but also in helping you navigate the proceedings necessary for resolving the claim as efficiently as possible. When you choose Wigod & Falzon to represent you, you will be able to trust our team to develop a comprehensive legal strategy to help you recover your damages with maximum efficiency.

It is possible for a low-value personal injury suit to be resolved in small claims court; otherwise, the plaintiff must file it in the district court if they are seeking less than $25,000 in compensation. If your case is valued at more than $25,000, you will likely need to file it in the circuit court. Your attorney can explain what to expect when it comes to filing your case and the next steps you will need to take afterward.

It is also possible to settle a personal injury case outside of court. As long as the defendant accepts liability for the damages cited in the claim and both parties are willing to negotiate and compromise, they can potentially resolve the claim outside of court through a private settlement negotiation process. A Detroit car accident lawyer can still be an essential resource even if you think you can resolve your claim in this manner.

Otherwise, you will need to prepare for litigation. Your case may be heard by a judge and/or jury, and litigation will take much longer to complete than settlement. Many civil claims for damages are resolved through settlement because this is beneficial to all parties involved. Your Detroit car accident lawyer can advise you as to what you can expect when it comes to finalizing your personal injury claim.

What to Expect From Your Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

The right legal team is an invaluable asset to have on your side for your impending car accident case. At Wigod & Falzon, we approach every civil claim we accept with the goal of helping our client maximize their recovery in the most efficient manner possible. We take time to learn as much as we can about every client’s story, help them determine their optimal paths to recovery, and maximize the compensation we secure for them.

If you are hesitant to hire legal counsel due to the anticipated high cost of attorneys’ fees, it is no cause for concern if you choose Wigod & Falzon to represent you. We take all personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means we only take a fee if and when we win your case, and you pay nothing if we are unable to obtain a case award for you. If we do take our contingency fee, it will only be a percentage of the total amount we recover for your damages.

Whether you believe you can fully recover your losses through an auto insurance claim alone or you will need to build a more comprehensive personal injury suit, our firm can provide the guidance and support you will need to approach the situation with confidence and peace of mind. You have a relatively limited time in which to pursue your recovery, so it is vital that you connect with the right attorney as quickly as possible.

Contact Wigod & Falzon today and schedule your free consultation with a trustworthy Detroit car accident lawyer. During your initial consultation, we can listen to your story and help determine the most viable path to recovering as fully as possible from your recent accident.

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