Michigan, New York, Florida, and a few other states have no-fault insurance laws. These laws expedite claims, and limit damages, in “fender-bender” crashes that only cause property damage. Michigan’s no-fault law has been amended several times, most recently in 2019. Due to the fluid nature of this law, it is always important to contact an attorney regardless of the extent of damages in a vehicle collision.
At Buchanan Firm, our dedicated injury lawyers in Grand Rapids handle all types of injury and medical malpractice claims. No case is too big or too small for our experienced team to care about and handle successfully. We approach every matter with the same careful attention to detail, and we are never satisfied with anything other than the best possible result under the circumstances.
Most vehicle owners have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance. A PIP claim is the best way to resolve non-injury claims.
As a rule of thumb, if your vehicle was driveable after the accident, a PIP/no-fault claim is probably appropriate.
Property damage means more than collision repair. These victims are also entitled to personal property replacement. If a dog or other pet is injured in the crash, PIP may or may not compensate pet owners for that loss. In most cases, PIP only pays for economic pet-related losses, such as a “stage” dog or cat.
If your car was not drivable after the car accident, you probably suffered a “serious impairment of an important bodily function,” as that phrase is defined in MCL 500.3135. That’s probably true even if you do not feel injured.
Many vehicle collisions involve head or traumatic brain injuries. The brain is very adept at concealing its own injuries. That is predominantly why many concussed football players tell their coaches they “feel fine” and ask to go back into the game. They do not realize the extent of their injuries, and neither do accident victims.
Other conditions, such as whiplash, develop slowly over time. Doctors and patients alike often dismiss initial symptoms, like mild neck pain, as soreness from the collision. But whiplash is a muscle injury which can cause paralysis if not properly treated.
At Buchanan Firm, our Grand Rapids car accident attorneys arrange for immediate medical treatment. Typically, victims pay nothing upfront for this care. We have medical professionals on staff. Additionally, our lawyers send letters of protection to doctors. Since these letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved, doctors do not bill patients directly. They send their bills to us, so our lawyers have a chance to negotiate lower fees before they pay them.
If liability is relatively clear, Michigan insurance companies have a duty to settle the case within a few weeks.
However, there is usually some dispute as to accident responsibility. So, our lawyers file legal paperwork to preserve your rights. If cases get to this point, most Kent County judges refer them to mediation. During mediation, a neutral third party, who is usually an unaffiliated lawyer, works to facilitate a settlement between the two sides.
If both the victim’s attorney and the insurance company’s attorney negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Car crashes usually, but not always, cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Buchanan Firm. Home and hospital visits are available.