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Sometimes, when you are involved in an accident, the at-fault party is charged criminally for his actions. Most commonly, this typically involves a driver who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is a crime in most states. When the at-fault party is charged criminally, however, it does not guarantee that you, as the victim, get compensation. In fact, to receive damages for your injuries or property damage from the crash, you have to file a separate civil claim against the driver. Understanding this distinction between criminal and civil cases is crucial to getting the compensation you deserve.

According to a recent local news report, a pickup truck driver took a number of substances before he was involved in an accident that killed one teen passenger and severely injured another. The prosecutor stated that the driver picked up two teens and others before heading to a house party, where he consumed alcohol and “whippets,” which are inhalants that substantially affected his ability to drive and operate his vehicle. After the accident happened, the driver fled the scene on foot. Various witnesses corroborated that the driver was drinking at the party, and the prosecutor also obtained a video of the driver inhaling whippets before the crash. The driver pleaded no contest to several counts, including operating while intoxicated and causing death and failing to stop at the scene of the accident when at fault for causing death.

When an at-fault party is charged criminally, they are typically being prosecuted by the state. The result of the criminal case is typically a punishment handed down by the state, such as jail time or community service. The victim in the accident is not involved in the criminal case outside of potentially being included as evidence of the at-fault party’s wrongdoing.

shutterstock_1768652843-225x300Choosing whether to formula feed or breastfeed a baby is a big decision for new parents, and the decision can be fraught. Generally, the formula provides babies with nutrients they need to thrive; however, contaminated products can lead to risky situations. Those who believe that contaminated or unsafe formula caused their babies to suffer injuries should contact a Michigan product liability attorney.

Premature babies require extra nutrition to support their developing systems. Parents should feel confident that companies developing and manufacturing baby formulas take all steps to ensure the quality of their products. In addition to quality control, companies should clearly list all potential risks and side effects of using their products. The failure to do so can lead to life-long or deadly consequences for these vulnerable babies.

Recently, in light of a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigation, Abbott Pharmaceuticals recalled more Similac baby formula. The recall comes in response to a tragic situation where a child consumed the formula before getting a severe bacterial infection and dying. The CDC believes the infection may have contributed to the child’s death. The company stated that they found evidence of the bacteria in their Michigan facility but have not discovered any evidence of Salmonella.

shutterstock_1086785336-300x200A wrong-way driver on the interstate in Michigan caused a head-on collision at night last month that resulted in serious injuries to the other driver. According to a local news report discussing the accident, a 37-year-old woman was driving a minivan headed north in the southbound lanes of I-75 when she collided with another driver who was driving a Cadillac SUV. Both drivers were seriously injured in the crash, and the driver of the minivan was trapped in the mangled wreckage of her vehicle for several hours before being extracted and taken to the hospital by ambulance.

It is more common than one would think for a driver to enter a divided interstate highway heading the wrong direction, especially at night. Most freeway exits have “wrong way” or “do not enter” signs facing the surface roadway to prevent drivers from inadvertently driving up the exit and into oncoming traffic. While the signs prevent some drivers from entering the freeway into oncoming traffic and certainly save lives, there is often only a single sign where the exit meets the roadway, and if a driver misses that sign and fails to notice the yellow line on the right side of the road, then it may appear that they are on the right track. The dangers from these crashes increases at night or when visibility is reduced, as drivers may not notice other signals that they are driving into oncoming traffic as easily as when visibility is better.

Determining fault and liability in the event of a wrong-way accident is usually quite simple, as the driver who is driving the wrong way was clearly negligent and should be held accountable for the crash. Legally, an accident victim can easily demonstrate that a wrong-way driver was negligent by demonstrating negligence per se, which is a legal doctrine for proving negligence that is centuries-old. To prove negligence per se, a plaintiff simply needs to show that the defendant was violating a law or regulation that was designed to prevent the type of accident that occurred, and that the defendant’s violation of the law resulted in damages or injuries to the plaintiff. Because wrong-way traffic laws are codified in the Michigan traffic code, proving liability in a wrong-way accident should not be difficult, although certain obstacles may still apply.

shutterstock_1086785336-300x200According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, head-on and wrong-way accidents disproportionately represent fatal accidents on two-lane highways. While any accident can result in serious injuries, wrong-way accidents tend to have the most disastrous consequences. For example, a Detroit news report recently described a harrowing Michigan wrong-way accident.

Michigan State Police explained that they received a call regarding a wrong-way driver; however, two people were found dead by the time police arrived. This accident is the second major Michigan wrong-way accident this year. In early January, the other accident occurred when a 25-year-old driver traveling the wrong way crashed into a 33-year-old woman and her 6-year-old son. The wrong-way driver and the woman died in the accident, and her son was released nearly a month after the crash.

The Michigan Department of Transportation started testing technology to flash at wrong-way drivers due to the growing number of accidents involving wrong-way motorists. The technology will notify MDOT to alert police if the driver does not turn around. An MDOT spokesperson states that this technology will alert authorities faster than a passing motorist. They believe that quick notification is the key to preventing a catastrophic incident.

shutterstock_182286515-300x200Michigan is no stranger to freezing temperatures, snowy conditions, and icy weather. Familiarity with cold weather, however, does not mean that accidents because of weather conditions are less common. Because driving on a slick or snow-covered surface can be a challenge for even the most careful and safe of drivers, it is crucial to drive with care to prevent serious accidents from taking place.

According to a recent local news report, two people died and a third is experiencing life-threatening injuries after a multi-vehicle car accident in west Michigan. Local state troopers reported that a pickup truck was traveling west when the driver lost control, crossed the center line, and crashed into a Ford head-on. Police believe that ice on the road was the primary culprit for the accident. Both the driver of the pickup truck and the driver of the Ford were pronounced dead on the scene, and the passenger riding in the Ford was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. The accident remains under investigation.

In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 182,000 crashes across the country that involved winter weather conditions. Unfortunately, Michigan is also no stranger to these accidents, despite its familiarity with icy weather. If you must drive during poor weather conditions, there are several things you can do to stay safe and to keep others you’re sharing the road with safe as well.

shutterstock_1721662828-300x169A roadside accident is a car accident that occurs on the shoulder, or side of the road. Roadside accidents usually happen when a driver pulls off onto the shoulder of the road and then is either struck themselves or their vehicle is struck, by another passing car or truck. However, these accidents also involve police officers, emergency responders, utility workers, tow truck drivers, and construction workers because they spend so much time on the side of the road. In fact, roadside accidents are what prompted lawmakers to pass the Michigan Move Over Law, which provides enhanced penalties to drivers who fail to change lanes as they approach emergency vehicles.

According to a local news report, one man was killed earlier this month when he was struck by a passing car while assessing damage from a minor accident. Evidently, the driver collided with a guardrail on I-75 at the off ramp to 8 Mile Road. The driver pulled his vehicle onto the shoulder, exited the car, and went to check on the damage.

As the driver was standing next to his car, another motorist crashed into the rear of the stopped vehicle. The force of the collision pushed the car into the driver, who was standing near the front of the vehicle. The driver of the stopped vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The other driver suffered minor injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

shutterstock_46373200-300x200As winter approaches, road conditions often get icier, and, because of this, roads become more dangerous. While individuals will often be more diligent on the road due to these conditions, it can also lead to more car accidents. And if someone is injured in one of these accidents, they may want to bring a lawsuit against the blamable party. Unfortunately, the defendants—the people sued in these accidents—will often try to escape responsibility and argue that they are not responsible for the incident because of the weather. However, experienced personal injury attorneys know how to defeat this line of argument and recover monetary compensation for their clients.

Recently, in West Michigan, icy conditions led to multiple crashes. In one accident, a pickup truck was headed southbound when it lost control, crossed the median and landed in the northbound lanes. A car then hit the truck, and both the driver of the pickup truck and a passenger in the car sustained injuries. In another accident, a crash near Grand Rapids involved eleven vehicles and numerous people had minor injuries.

When someone is injured in a car accident and wants to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party, they will often bring a negligence lawsuit. In order to prove the defendant was at fault in Michigan, the plaintiff—the individual bringing the lawsuit—must prove five elements: (1) the defendant had a duty to be safe and careful; (2) the defendant failed to meet that duty; (3) the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injury; (4) if not for the defendant’s actions, the plaintiff would not have been injured; (5) the plaintiff has suffered because of the accident.

shutterstock_1967134333-300x199The construction industry is an integral part of commerce and the growth of Michigan’s economy. Many construction companies are working in overdrive to make up for the slowdown in projects during the height of the pandemic. While these valiant efforts might be necessary, they also increase the risk of workplace injuries in Michigan. Although state and federal laws impose safety standards on worksites and construction companies, accidents and injuries continue to occur.

These cases are challenging as they often involve multiple parties and a chain reaction of events. Every stage of a claim has its burdens, and an attorney can work with an accident victim and their family to make sure that the court hears the most compelling and legally sound case.

The first stage is one of the most time-sensitive parts of a claim involving the accident investigation. An experienced attorney can review whether the construction site or workplace followed the standards set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) and Michigan’s state plan. These agencies govern safety issues surrounding dangerous items and workplace conditions and emergency protocols. For instance, they issue rules regarding boilers, contaminants, personal protective equipment, electrical hazards, cranes, scaffolds, elevators, and hoists. Any deviance from the safety standards can have severe and potentially life-threatening consequences.

shutterstock_760039594-300x169Following Michigan’s historical auto insurance reform, many consumers faced uncertainty about their coverage limits. If someone suffers injuries in a Michigan auto accident, the state’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage pays for the medical care, recovery, and rehabilitative treatment. Before the change, Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) provided coverage to uninsured non-motorists, like bystanders, pedestrians, and passengers. The new insurance laws cap coverage at $250,000 for claims commencing July 2, 2020. However, uncertainty prevailed among uninsured non-motorists who suffered injuries between the law’s enactment on June 11, 2019, and the effective date of July 2, 2020.

Citing consumer protection concerns, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) issued an order that required MACP to provide unlimited PIP medical coverage to those who suffered injuries before the July 2020 effective date. According to a recent report, the agency that administers the MACP filed a lawsuit asking the Court to overturn the order. After the Court ruled to uphold the order, the The Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF) filed an appeal. However, the appeal was dropped after DIFS reached a settlement that allows unlimited PIP coverage for uninsured vehicle occupants and pedestrians who suffered injuries before the July 2020 implementation. The DIFS director explained that a premature implementation could have seriously affected the livelihood of many Michiganders.

Under the new PIP coverage options, drivers must choose the coverage that pays for medical care if they are in an accident. In return, the law requires insurance companies to reduce the PIP medical portion of premiums based on the policyholder’s choice. There are six levels available, including unlimited coverage, up to $500,00 in coverage, up to $250,000 in coverage, up to $250,000 in coverage with PIP medical exclusions, up to $50,000 in coverage, and PIP medical opt-out.

shutterstock_115285153-300x168The thrills and dangers of Michigan’s amusement parks are two sides of the same coin. While these places are popular and fun attractions for residents and tourists, they pose many dangers to visitors. While the risk of dying on a roller coaster is relatively rare, there are nearly 30,000 amusement park-related accidents and injuries every year. Michigan amusement park accident lawsuits are challenging because of the various statutes and immunity that these parks purport as defenses to their negligence. Those who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a theme or amusement park injury should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

The leading causes of Michigan amusement park injuries involve insufficient warnings, improper signs, failure to enforce safety standards, defective rides, and ineffective supervision. These forms of negligence can result in serious physical injuries, psychological damage, and death. For example, national news reports have described a harrowing accident involving a Michigan woman who suffered injuries at Cedar Point amusement park. According to reports, the woman was standing in line waiting for a ride when a piece of a ride struck her in the head. An investigation revealed that the L-shaped metal object was approximately the size of an adult man’s hand. The object, a “flat plate,” became dislodged when its securing bolts loosened and fell off.

Safety officials stated that the bracket should hover over the track, and sensors track its movements. However, during the ride’s descent, the bracket ripped off, causing it to fly off of the ride. It appears that the brackets exhibited signs of deformation and damage, which may have contributed to the incident. The woman continues to fight for her life as she receives treatment for her head injuries.

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