Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Car accident

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan car accident case discussing the state’s personal protection insurance (benefits) system. The case is important for all Michigan accident victims because it shows how the PIP system works, and under what circumstances an injury victim may not be covered.

As a general matter, Michigan’s PIP framework is a no-fault system, meaning that an injury victim does not need to show that the other driver was at fault to recover PIP benefits. However, questions can come up regarding whether a person is covered under a PIP policy. In situations involving multiple vehicles and multiple insurance policies, issues may also arise regarding which insurance policy has “priority,” or is responsible for covering the claim.

bicycle ride

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Under Michigan law, bicyclists have an absolute right to ride on public roads and are entitled to all the same rights as those operating motorized vehicles. At the same time, bicyclists must obey the rules of the road, including both generally applicable laws as well as bicycle-specific laws. The most important rule for Michigan bicyclists to remember is that they are required to ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable.

While bicyclists are responsible for exercising due care while riding on public roads, motorists must respect cyclists’ right to use the road. Thus, motorists must yield to bicyclists when it would be appropriate to yield to another motorist. When a driver causes a Michigan bicycle accident, they may be held liable for any injuries occurring as a result of their negligence.

Motorist Charged in Recent Fatal Michigan Bicycle Accident

Recently, a bicyclist was killed while he was on the way to his mother’s home to watch the Super Bowl. According to a local news report, the bicyclist was struck by a motorist near the intersection of Groesbeck Highway and 10 Mile Road in Warren, Michigan. The exact circumstances surrounding the accident are not known; however, law enforcement estimates that the motorist was traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour when he struck the bicyclist. After the collision, the driver fled the scene, leaving the bicyclist seriously injured and alone on the side of the road.

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drunk driving

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For years, the top causes of Michigan car accidents have been speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving. According to the most recent data from the Michigan State Police, of the 937 auto accident fatalities that occurred in Georgia in 2017, alcohol was involved in 320 accidents. Almost a third of those fatal Michigan DUI accidents occurred in Wayne County, Oakland County, or Kent County.

While driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has long been against the law in Michigan, motorists continue to get behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink. If someone causes an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may face criminal charges. However, even a successful criminal prosecution against a drunk driver will not likely result in any significant restitution being paid to the accident victims. If a victim of a Michigan DUI accident hopes to recover financial compensation for their injuries, they can pursue a Michigan personal injury or wrongful death case against the at-fault driver.

In either a personal injury or wrongful death case, a plaintiff must be able to establish that the defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to them, and that the defendant’s violation of that duty resulted in their injury or the death of their loved one. Because there is a criminal statute that prohibits drunk driving, personal injury plaintiffs may be able to more easily prove their case of negligence against an alleged drunk driver. Thus, a plaintiff may be left only with the need to establish that the defendant’s actions were the legal cause of their injury.

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bus accident

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In a recent personal injury case before a Michigan appeals court, the plaintiff sued a school district after the plaintiff’s car crashed with a school bus. The plaintiff filed a claim of negligence against the bus driver and argued that the school district was vicariously liable. The school district argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred due to government immunity.

Governmental Immunity

A governmental agency is generally immune from lawsuits, although certain exceptions apply. If a government employee is engaged in a governmental function, both the employee as well as the agency are generally protected by immunity.

The Motor Vehicle Exception

The plaintiff claimed that the case fell under the motor-vehicle exception. Under MCL 691.1405, a governmental agency is liable for injuries and property damages that result from “the negligent operation by any officer, agent, or employee of the government agency, of a motor vehicle of which the governmental agency is owner.” In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove duty, breach, causation, and damages, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving a negligence case.

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drunk driving

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Despite decades of government programs discourage drinking and driving, drunk driving represents one of the major causes of all Michigan car accidents. Indeed, it is estimated that approximately 27% of all serious Michigan car accidents are caused by drunk or drugged driving. Michigan lawmakers take drunk driving seriously, and have enacted a strict set of penalties to punish those found guilty of drunk driving. However, criminal cases are more concerned with punishing an alleged drunk driver for violating the law than providing financial assistance to injury victims. Thus, criminal proceedings often provide little solace for accident victims.

While a criminal case against a drunk driver may not provide much help to an accident victim, anyone who has been injured in a Michigan DUI accident may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the allegedly drunk driver through a civil personal injury lawsuit. If a crash results in the death of an accident victim, the surviving family members of the deceased may pursue a Michigan wrongful death claim.

In the event that the defendant dies as a result of the accident, injured parties are not without a remedy. This is because Michigan car accident victims can name the estate of an allegedly negligent driver in either a personal injury or wrongful death case.

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car accident

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When one party sues another, sometimes there may be other parties that also want to be part of the lawsuit. There are specific laws that govern who may do so and when a party can join into a lawsuit. The Eastern District of Michigan District Court recently heard a case that illustrates this concept and gives an example of when it may apply.

No-Fault Personal Injury Protection

Michigan is a “no-fault” state. That means insurance policies will pay insured individuals after a car accident no matter who was at fault. In this case, a driver had personal injury protection benefits through a commercial insurer. Personal injury protection is meant to pay for injuries suffered by the driver after a car accident. The plaintiff was later in a car accident where he was injured. As part of treating his injuries, he saw physicians at a Michigan medical provider. Instead of paying the healthcare provider directly, the plaintiff assigned his right to collect on the bills to the healthcare provider. Now, the injured driver is suing his insurance company to collect the benefits he is owed. Thus, the healthcare provider filed a motion to join the lawsuit against the insurer to collect on the money they are owed for the healthcare services.

The trial court dismissed the healthcare provider’s action under recently decided Michigan case law that held that healthcare providers do not have their own cause of action against insurance companies for personal injury protection payments. Further, the court held that under the insurance policy itself, the consent of the defendant is necessary in order for the collection rights to be assigned.

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car insurance

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When you buy insurance, you think that you will be covered in the event of the accident. This is especially true if you answer all the questions truthfully and continue to pay your premiums. However, sometimes insurance companies may see things differently and try to get out of paying the money that you are owed. If this happens to you, you should contact a knowledgeable Michigan personal injury to help you hold the insurance company accountable. In a case recently heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the court upheld a ruling that forced the insurance company to pay the damages that the injured plaintiff was entitled to.

The Insurance Policy

pedestrian accident

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If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan accident, there are many potential damages that you may be able to recover. Some of the potential categories of damages include lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and other costs or lost income related to the accident. This case revolves around one of those kinds of damages, specifically attendant care benefits. Attendant care benefits may be paid in situations where the injured person needs support that cannot be given by their family or caretakers. Attendants are people that come in anywhere from 24 hours a day/seven days a week to an hour or less a week to assist the injured person with their daily care.

The Accident and Injuries

A plaintiff was stopped on I-94 in Michigan when her vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by an FBI agent. The plaintiff asserted that the impact caused or exacerbated neck and back injuries and sued the federal government pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted in part and denied in part.In this Michigan car accident case, the district court explained, the accident occurred on a Michigan highway, and therefore, Michigan law governed the court’s determination of liability and damages. Under Michigan’s No-Fault Act, “tort liability for non-economic loss arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a qualifying motor vehicle is limited to a list of enumerated circumstances.”

The appeals court explained that the defendant discharged their initial summary-judgment burden of showing that the accident was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s spinal issues.

First, it was undisputed that the plaintiff experienced neck and back issues prior to the accident. Second, her post-accident care supported the defendant’s causation position. She did not seek medical attention immediately following the accident, but she did go to the emergency room with neck, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine pain on the following evening. But she also refused pain medication at this time, and the ER doctor noted that while she had some neck tenderness, she had a normal range of motion in her back and musculoskeletal system. Third, the defendant’s experts concluded that the plaintiff’s spinal issues were not caused by the accident.

A plaintiff appealed the trial court’s order granting the defendant’s motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10). Holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, the Michigan appeals court reversed and remanded.At around 9:15 p.m. on November 2, 2013, the plaintiff was walking home from the Applebee’s restaurant where he worked. He testified that he was walking northbound on Monroe Street, while the defendant was driving northbound on Monroe Street, talking on his cell phone with his girlfriend. The defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff near the intersection of Monroe Street and LaSalle Road, severely injuring him.

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