At Miller | Embury PLLC, we are dedicated personal injury attorneys serving individuals in Western Michigan who have been injured due to someone else's carless actions. We understand the hardships that our clients are facing, and we work hard to relieve them of the stress, worry, and financial burden they are experiencing.
Below, our team has compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive. We understand that you have concerns and questions, and we thrive to provide you with the answers you need. If your question is not answered below, call our firm today!
Disclaimer: The following questions and answers are meant to provide a basic understanding of frequently asked legal questions and are not a substitute for speaking with an attorney.
If I am involved in a car accident, do I need to speak with an attorney?
Yes. To begin, most attorneys will provide you with a free consultation, so it won't cost you anything to discuss your case. There are three reasons why you should speak to an attorney after an auto accident. First, lawyers are professionals who know the law, and know exactly what insurance benefits to which you are entitled. Insurance adjusters may take advantage of injured people who are not lawyers and who do not know the complex insurance laws. An attorney will protect you from being taking advantage of and make sure that you get every benefit the law requires. Second, legal representation often does a more thorough job investigating the facts and circumstances of an accident than law enforcement.
Attorneys can interview eye-witnesses, visit the accident scene, and ensure that key evidence is preserved. With time, witness memories fade, evidence may be lost, and insurance companies may attempt to pressure an injured party to settle for a reduced value. Without legal counsel, the value of your case may be substantially reduced. Another reason you should contact a lawyer is that there are specific time limitations, which, if overlooked, can prevent you from recovering anything. For these reasons, it is very important that you consult with a legal advocate if you have been involved in a car accident. And, remember, most attorneys will not charge you for an initial consultation.
If I am injured in a car accident and don't have health insurance, will my car insurance company pay my medical bills? What about other things such as lost wages if I am unable to return to work?
Yes. Every single auto insurance policy sold in Michigan provides "personal protection insurance" (PIP) benefits. Under these PIP benefits, your car insurer must pay all of your medical bills incurred as a result of injuries you sustained in the accident. Your auto insurer must also pay your wage loss if you cannot return to work. And it must pay up to $20 a day for someone to do your household chores if you are injured and cannot do them anymore. Because there are specific time limitations for reimbursement of PIP benefits, you should contact our experienced personal injury lawyers immediately.
If I am injured in a car accident, and I am at fault for causing the accident, am I still entitled to receive insurance benefits?
Yes. Michigan is a "no-fault" auto insurance state. This means you receive insurance benefits even if you were at fault for causing the accident.
If I am injured in a car accident, may I file a claim against the driver who caused the collision even though I have "no-fault" insurance?
Yes. Michigan law permits an injured party to file a claim against a negligent driver. This type of claim is often referred to as a "third-party lawsuit." Under Michigan law, an injured party is entitled to bring a third-party lawsuit for non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) if the injured person has suffered:
It is important to speak with an attorney to help navigate these issues and to provide legal guidance before deciding to bring an action against the negligent driver.
How long after an auto accident do I have to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver?
Generally, you must file a claim against the at-fault driver within three years after the accident. However, there are exceptions and variations to this rule. You should contact our attorneys as soon as possible after an accident to discuss the issue.
If I'm in a car accident, can I sue the at-fault driver for my vehicle damage?
No, except for recovering up to $500. Generally you cannot recover more than $500 from the at-fault driver for your vehicle damage. This $500 recovery is called a "mini-tort." In other words, even if the other driver is negligent and is 100% at fault for causing the crash, you can usually only recover $500 for vehicle damage. This is why it is so important to purchase collision coverage for your vehicle through your own auto insurance company. If you have purchased collision coverage, your own auto insurance company will pay to repair the vehicle damage.
If I slip and fall on someone's property or within a store, can I recover damages for injuries I suffered?
Yes, but only if the landowner was somehow negligent. Unlike auto cases where insurance benefits are provided regardless of fault, in premises liability cases, you must prove negligence to recover damages suffered in a slip-and-fall accident.
If I'm injured at work, what insurance benefits are provided by workers' compensation?
If you are injured at work, the law requires your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier to provide you with the following insurance benefits:
If I am involved in a boating accident, can I bring a lawsuit against the negligent boat operator?
Yes. Boating accidents are more common than one might think, especially in Northern Michigan. Much like car accidents, an injured party is entitled to bring a lawsuit against a negligent boat operator. The same is also true if you are a passenger in a boat. You can bring a lawsuit against the boat operator if you are injured as a passenger. Like all personal injury actions, there are specific time limitations that could bar your claim. If you are involved in a boating accident and have sustained an injury, you should contact our firm immediately.
If a dog bites me, do I have a claim against the dog's owner?
Yes. Under Michigan law, a dog owner must pay the damages caused by their dog biting someone. This is true even if the dog never exhibited any vicious or violent tendencies prior to the biting incident. Normally, the dog owner's homeowner's insurance carrier will pay the injured person's damages.