Articles Posted in Car Accidents

shutterstock_1426522850-300x200Car accidents frequently occur in the most unexpected ways and can yield devastating results. When an accident results in the death of a loved one and was potentially caused by negligence or wrongdoing of another driver, those who are responsible must be held accountable. In Michigan, you may be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death claim if you lost a loved one in a Michigan car accident.

According to a recent news report, a deadly local car crash killed a father and injured his family. The driver who caused the crash drove his pickup truck across the road’s centerline and crashed into a family heading in the opposite direction. Police who arrived on the scene reported that the driver who caused the collision was well beyond what constituted “super drunk” under Michigan laws. Based on the police report, the driver’s blood-alcohol level was at 0.34 percent, which is more than four times the legal limit in Michigan. Following the crash, the driver is facing several charges in connection with the accident and other crimes, such as possession of a loaded firearm. The local family that was hit had the father pronounced dead on the scene and the wife and two children badly injured in the crash.

In Michigan, a wrongful death claim may be filed when a case involves a death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or fault of another.” When filing a wrongful death claim, it is typically executed by the estate or the family of the deceased person and liability is expressed in terms of monetary damages or compensation. The defendant would be responsible for compensating the family if they are found liable.

shutterstock_1170860896-3There have been many technological advancements in the motor vehicle industry, especially those involving self-driving vehicles. Autonomous vehicles, such as the self-driving Tesla, presents consumers with economic shifts and industrial changes. Although there are positive environmental and societal impacts of the state’s early adoption of these innovations, these vehicles pose many dangers to Michigan motorists. Those who suffer injuries in a Michigan accident involving a self-driving vehicle should consult an attorney to address their right to recovery.

A self-driving car is an autonomous or automated vehicle that can sense its environment and operate without a human driver. These vehicles use sensors, algorithms, actuators, and other sophisticated processors to detect their surroundings. Manufacturers market self-driving cars as a safer alternative to human drivers. However, these vehicles are still in their infancy and have shown that they pose significant dangers to anyone in their vicinity.

For instance, recently, a national news source reported that the federal road safety agency is investigating a recent Michigan Tesla crash. The federal government is involved because the accident included a state police vehicle. According to reports, a state trooper parked on the side of a highway while he was investigating a deer crash. The 22-year-old in the self-driving Tesla slammed into the police vehicle. Law enforcement issued the driver traffic citations for failing to move over and driving with a suspended license.

shutterstock_1329029651-300x200Michigan recently underwent drastic changes to its automobile insurance laws. Despite general guides and notices about the change, many people are left confused about how the reform will impact their right to recovery after a Michigan car accident. For 50 years before the change, Michigan followed the no-fault auto insurance system. Lawmakers framed the no-fault insurance system to allow accident victims a straightforward and efficient way to file claims and recover damages. Further, the law was designed to address the growing number of personal injury lawsuits. Under this framework, Michigan motorists generally carry unlimited medical coverage to cover expenses if they experience injuries in a car accident.

Under the new system, insurance companies must provide motorists with more choices that may fit their specific needs more adequately. Before the change, Michigan drivers had to carry unlimited Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP coverage is medical and rehabilitation insurance benefits that an accident victim can claim.

Now, the law allows Michigan motorists to keep unlimited PIP coverage or choose from six other options. The other options include the following:

Okay-Bone-240x300Motor vehicle accidents (“MVAs”) are extremely dangerous. An average mid-sized sedan weighs about one-and-a-half tons. Even when moving at relatively low rate of speed, the force of a one-ton collision is enormous. A head on collision is far worse. If a vehicle going 47 mph strikes another vehicle traveling 64 mph, the collision is of a similar magnitude to a vehicle traveling at 111 mph ramming into a concrete barrier. Modern safety features have dramatically reduced the risk of injury in a MVA, but there is little technological innovation can do to offset the impact of a high-speed head-on collision.

Some MVAs cause immediately life-threatening injuries. First responders take the injured directly to a hospital for critical care. However, other incidents may not cause injuries that require the same type of immediate life-saving intervention. The injured party will be offered the option to travel to a hospital in an ambulance, but instead of accepting emergency transport, the individual injured will decline for a number of reasons. He or she might feel embarrassed or ashamed of being in an accident; the cost of the ambulance service will cause financial hardship; the idea of taking an ambulance when not in a life-threatening situation may feel selfish; pride may play into the decision-making process; or the injured person may just not feel like they’ve suffered a severe enough injury to justify that level of attention.

While some of those who decline emergency transport may go directly to the emergency room by other means, many decide to wait and see their primary care physician. Others will not seek medical attention at all, or simply decide that the injury is not severe enough for pay for the office visit, waiting to see if the injury heals on its own. While financial concerns are valid—our system’s fundamental flaw is that seeking medical treatment can end in bankruptcy—it is always wise to see a doctor after an MVA.

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On July 19, one man was killed in a Michigan car accident involving a semi-truck and a law enforcement vehicle. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the fatal crash occurred in Dewitt, at the intersection of Old US-27 and Cutler Road. The crash occurred around 8:30 in the evening.

Evidently, a state trooper was pulling onto Old US-27 when the trooper’s vehicle clipped the side of a passing semi-truck. The trooper’s car spun out of control, crashing into an oncoming motorist’s vehicle head-on. The motorist’s vehicle ended up in a ditch along the road’s edge, while the trooper’s car remained on the road. The driver of the oncoming vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, and the trooper was hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The trooper is expected to recover. Evidently, the trooper was responding to a call reporting retail fraud. The accident is currently under investigation.

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While the duty of responding police officers is primarily to make sure that anyone who was injured in an accident receives the medical attention they need in a timely manner, law enforcement is also responsible for investigating the crash. Of course, detectives investigate Michigan car accidents to determine whether any of the parties involved broke the law. The question often arises whether a law enforcement investigation is sufficient in a personal injury case.

Police officers are humans and, as a result, can make mistakes. In addition, officers are subject to biases and are not typically experts in car accident cases. Thus, many personal injury victims realize that the investigation conducted by police officers was not as thorough as they would like. In some cases, an officer may fail to photograph the scene or record all the necessary information. However, in some cases, an officer’s conduct goes beyond a small oversight. A recent case acts as a good example of a situation where responding police officers failed to conduct a fair and complete investigation.

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Earlier this month, three children were killed when another motorist rear-ended the carriage that was carrying the children and several other family members. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the accident occurred in southeastern Branch County.

Evidently, the carriage was traveling along the side of the road when a driver crashed into the back of the carriage at a high rate of speed. The carriage contained seven people; two adults and five children. All seven passengers were thrown from the carriage upon impact. Two of the young children, ages six and two, were pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders. A four-year-old child was taken to the hospital, and later succumbed to his injuries.

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In a recent case, an appeals court considered a Michigan personal injury claim involving an employer’s refusal to pay personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits. The issue before the appeals court was whether the claim was timely filed after the employer stopped paying the claimant’s PIP benefits.

In May 2015, the plaintiff was in a car accident while she was driving a state vehicle as she was a state employee. She sought PIP benefits for her injuries from the state, her employer, and received them for almost two years. In August 2017, the state stopped making payments, and stated that it would no longer pay the plaintiff PIP benefits because the state believed she was not disabled. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the state in December 2017, alleging she was entitled to PIP benefits and that the state unreasonably refused to pay her.

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.

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