Getting into a car accident that was not your fault can be frustrating and stressful. You may wonder if hiring Michigan car accident lawyers is truly necessary if you are not liable. In Michigan, having legal representation can often make a significant difference in whether you ultimately receive full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages, even in clear-cut cases.
Navigating Michigan’s Complex “No Fault” Laws
Despite being free of fault, Michigan’s no-fault insurance system means your options for recovery are complex. Under no-fault law, you first make a claim through your own auto insurance policy for injury and vehicle damages up to the coverage limits you purchased, regardless of fault. However, for major injury damages that exceed your coverage limits, you have the additional option to pursue a third-party claim against the negligent driver who caused the crash by proving their direct liability.
An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to navigate both the no-fault and third-party liability components in Michigan. They will fight to maximize your compensation at every stage, leaving no potential damages unclaimed. Although you may not be at fault, having legal representation remains critical for full recovery.
Do not assume the at-fault driver’s insurer will voluntarily pay major damages exceeding your policy without a fight. Their goal is minimizing payouts, not fairly compensating you. Having a dedicated lawyer in your corner can help you fight against their team of attorneys.
Your Fight Is Our Fight
Proving the Other Driver’s Fault
Even when police have issued citations to the other motorist, their insurance company will still perform their own investigation into the accident. They will look for ways to downplay or dispute their driver’s liability in causing the collision. Some ways you and your lawyer can prove the other driver’s fault:
- A reconstruction professional will analyze physical evidence like skid marks, vehicle damage patterns, debris scatter, and more to credibly illustrate exactly how the specific negligent actions of the other driver resulted in the collision.
- Obtaining detailed witness statements that help corroborate and establish key details about how the crash occurred and each party’s respective role in causing the accident. Witness accounts can supplement gaps in memory common after a traumatic event.
- Gathering and presenting any available video footage of the accident, which provides definitive visual evidence of liability. Dash cams, nearby security or traffic cameras, and modern cell phone videos can sometimes capture video of how fault played out.
Accident cases depend on determining the negligent party responsible for causing the collision. Attorneys use all investigative means at their disposal to gather definitive evidence and prove legal liability. No assumption of fault should go unchallenged or unchecked if legitimate questions exist.
Fighting for Full Damages Recovery
Beyond just liability, a diligent attorney will also fight to prove the complete extent of all your accident-related losses and damages, not just the minimal compensation the insurer wants to provide. Some insurers refuse to accept or acknowledge clear injury claims stemming from an accident despite diagnostic medical records, imaging results, treatment expenses, physical therapy costs, and other documentation directly confirming diagnoses and costs from doctors, hospitals, surgery, and ongoing care.
A lawyer will force recognition of and payment for every validated medical claim. Projected costs for potential future medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and other care needs must be calculated by medical experts and actuaries, as chronic issues often cause long-term treatment plans. Insurers frequently ignore future costs.
Lost past and future income must factor in projected earnings and advancement potential over time based on the impact of any disabilities an injury has caused. Insurers try to minimize wage loss claims. You can experience physical, mental, and emotional pain, as well as suffering, lifestyle limitations, and loss of enjoyment of life. All of these injuries deserve fair compensation through non-economic damages, even though insurers fight against doing so.
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How Working with a Lawyer Can Help You Fight Against the Insurance Company
Your attorney can apply pressure on insurers through demand letters that show a willingness to pursue courtroom litigation if a reasonable settlement offer accounting for all damages is denied. This motivates the insurance provider to make higher offers rather than risk a lawsuit. Insurers wish to avoid costly litigation, giving your attorney leverage in demands.
Resist the pressure from insurance adjusters to accept an undervalued lowball insurance settlement. Have your attorney establish the maximum potential value of the case first. Insurers bank on pushing unrepresented victims into fast settlements before they realize their rights. An attorney ensures you understand your full legal entitlements before settling.
An ideal lawyer will possess equal command of the law and how the insurance industry works. This gives them an equal footing with the team of attorneys representing the insurer. When you try to negotiate on your own, the scales are tilted in the insurance company’s favor. Turning this task over to your attorney gives you a champion on your side to negotiate for you.
You will always work directly with your attorney throughout your case.
How to Determine If You Should Still Pursue a Settlement
With strong legal representation on your side, insurance companies become much more incentivized to settle a valid injury claim out of court rather than risk the uncertainties of trial. A negotiated settlement avoids additional litigation expenses for insurers. Settlements can provide full and fair compensation faster once your attorney has demonstrated the maximum potential case value.
Many times, pre-trial settlements reach or exceed what a jury verdict could have awarded. An experienced attorney can advise whether a settlement or trial pursuit is strategically optimal based on the nuances of your case. Both options become readily accessible with an attorney in your corner.
Do not assume settlement is always the best path. Maximize your leverage by letting your attorney lay out a convincing trial case, then negotiate from strength. However, most insurers will ultimately settle reasonable claims to avoid courtroom risk.
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