Advice From an Accident Attorney

If you have had an accident, you may be wondering, “What should I do now?” It can be a confusing and frustrating time. You may be injured, and reeling emotionally from the experience. You will receive advice from the police, bystanders, family, friends and more. If you find yourself in this situation, here is an easy to follow guide, which can help you maintain calm and control, and come out healthy and strong.

1.Stay at the scene of the accident; never leave until you have been released to do so. If you leave, you may risk severe criminal penalties if anyone else was injured or killed. You could be charged with a felony hit and run.

2. Check on All Drivers and Passengers. The first step it to make sure all people involved are OK; if they require medical attention, call 911 immediately. Make sure never to move someone until medical staff arrives, unless some danger requires you to do so.

3.Call the Police. This is an important step if there is property damage, injury, or death. Request that a police report be filed, and take note of the names and badge numbers of officers that are on the scene.

4.Provide your information to the other driver(s) involved, and obtain their information in return. Information should include:

a.Names

b.Addresses

c.Drivers’ license numbers

d.License plate numbers

e.Basic insurance information (company name, phone number and policy, if possible)

5) Keep conversations with others involved to a minimum.

Be respectful and cooperative, but don’t apologize for anything, as you could inadvertently be admitting liability for the incident. Do not state anything which can be considered to be accepting fault for the accident.

6) Approach witnesses.

Try to include details from any witnesses, such as if they’ve seen other accidents in the same place, ask their names and contact information, if they are willing to provide.

7) Call your insurance company.

Notify your company as soon as possible, and communicate with them directly and honestly regarding the accident and your injuries.

8) Request and go over any police report that is filed, to verify the information, what laws were broken, and to determine fault.

9) Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment

Start a file that includes any notes from doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other medical professionals that you visit, and each medical provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep an organized log of treatments or medications you receive.

10) Request copies of all medical reports and bills.

In addition, keep a journal or log of how your injuries are affecting (affected) your day to day life, duties, etc. Be sure to include time off from work, people hired to help complete tasks you generally manage.

11) Take Pictures.

Any photos of property damage are important to take as soon as possible. Before and after pictures of your car will also help your insurance company to figure out how much you should be compensated.

12) Obtain your property damage valuation from your insurance company.

If you aren’t satisfied with how your insurance company has valued your vehicle, don’t give up. You have the right to get independent repair estimates and replacement value quotes. Communicate your concerns to the insurance adjuster. If you cannot reach an agreement, consider mediation or an attorney’s help.

13) Exercise good judgment in talking about the accident

Don’t talk to anyone about the incident besides your legal adviser, insurance company, and the police. Do not talk to someone from the other insurance company, without the knowledge of your attorney or insurer. If called by the other insurance company, be polite, but ask them to call your attorney or insurer to arrange an interview. Make sure to tell your legal adviser or insurer about the call. Do NOT post anything on social media about the accident.

14) Carefully consider Early Settlement Offers

Do not accept the first settlement offer you receive until you verify all your physical injuries have been treated. Often, injuries fully develop or reach their height of severity up to several weeks later. Wait until you know you’ll be compensated for all your injuries and speak with an accident attorney before signing any settlement documents.

15) Think about hiring an accident attorney

If you or anyone else with you was injured in the accident, consulting an accident attorney who specializes in car wrecks or personal injury can assist you in maximizing your claim and recovery. Often, accident attorneys work on a contingent fee, meaning they only receive payment if you are awarded damages or a settlement. Contact an experienced accident attorney today if you have had an accident.

Michigan Mini Tort Claims – Recovering Vehicle Damage Costs in a Car Accident

What is Mini-Tort?

Michigan’s no-fault laws do not require collision coverage. That is where the limited property damage liability or mini-tort provision comes into play. Limited property damage liability, known as the mini-tort exception allows for Michigan accident victims to recover up to $500 of their vehicle repair costs under certain circumstances. The purpose is to compensate a person involved in a car accident that was not at-fault for out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the collision. Michigan mini tort law is premised upon people being free to purchase their own collision coverage. If an individual has existing collision coverage, the full vehicle repair costs from the accident will be paid from that policy. However, even if someone has collision coverage, he can still make a mini tort claim for incidental, out-of-pocket expenses such as a deductible. There are varying degrees of collision insurance, but generally speaking it covers the cost of repairs to the driver’s own vehicle.

How do you qualify and what can be collected?
If you are without collision coverage on your car, or your coverage is limited, and you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can recoup some of your out-of-pocket costs to fix your car via the mini-tort. How much you can recover depends on how much fault you bear. For example, let’s say the damage to your car amounts to $100 and the other driver is deemed 75 percent at fault for the accident. Then he or she would pay $75. These cases are normally handled in a small claims court, but either party involved in the car crash may ask to have the case moved up to a higher jurisdiction.

How do you file a Mini-Tort claim?
To recover vehicle damage costs, you can write a letter to the insurance company of the person who caused the accident, and request the money. Include the police report proving the person who caused the accident was at-fault; a declaration sheet from your own insurance company showing your coverage; and an estimate of vehicle repairs and/or photos including the license plate. You have three years from the date of the car accident to file a mini tort lawsuit or collect your mini tort claim. After three years, your claim will be time-barred and you will be unable to collect your mini tort claim under Michigan law.