Michigan auto accidents must be handled correctly if accident victims are going get the all the compensation and benefits they need for medical costs, loss income and any negative impact on their daily lives.
Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws make insurance benefits available to almost any driver regardless of who’s at fault. But that doesn’t mean insurance companies are happy to pay up. When it comes to Michigan no-fault accidents, the attorneys at Sachs Waldman, P.C., frequently see insurance companies try to deny accident victims’ claims for a variety of petty reasons. Our Detroit personal injury attorneys have put together the following list of things everyone should do immediately after a Michigan auto accident to prevent or fight claim denials by their insurance company.
1. Contact police immediately
If you are able to do so without leaving the accident scene, call police right away. Inform them that there’s been an accident and where it occurred. If people are injured let them know that too so a medical team will be dispatched as well.
2. Don’t leave the scene of your Michigan auto accident
Stay on the scene until police tell you that you can go. Failure to do so could result in sanctions against your driver’s license or even criminal charges. Additionally, your insurance company could claim your injuries are not as serious as they really are because you had the ability to get up and leave the scene. The only exception to this is if you leave in an ambulance because you sustained serious injuries.
3. Get contact and driver’s license info from other drivers
If you’re able to do so, collecting contact information and driver’s license information from other drivers can be useful in the accident investigation your personal injury attorney will conduct and ensure that all drivers are included in the investigation.
4. Get contact information from witnesses
Witnesses disappear quickly after a Michigan auto accident. Get names, phone numbers and addresses from witness as soon as possible after an accident if you are able to do so. The sooner your attorney can contact these witnesses, the more likely he or she will be able to remember important details that may support potential lawsuits against other drivers and insurance companies.
5. Don’t admit fault or sign release forms from insurance companies
Determining who’s at fault is not always easy. There may be contributing factors you’re unaware of that indicate someone else is at fault. Making statements that put blame on yourself could make you liable for damages not covered by no-fault insurance. Similarly, don’t sign any statements without approval from your attorney, not even from your own insurance companies. Without having a statement reviewed by an attorney, you could unwittingly be signing away your rights to benefits or assuming liability unnecessarily.
6.Get medical care – even if you don’t think you’re injured
Adrenaline or other factors could be masking injuries you’re not aware of in the minutes and hours following an accident. It is common for Michigan auto accident victims to suffer injuries they don’t feel until hours, sometimes days after the accident. Only an examination by a physician can reveal for sure what the extent of your injuries is. Get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t think you’re injured. And don’t make any statements about your injuries or lack of injuries to anyone until you’ve been checked out. If you tell someone, especially an insurance representative, that you’re not injured and days later end up in the hospital because of delayed brain injury symptoms, your insurance company may claim that the head injury was due to something other than the car accident and you may have difficulty proving otherwise.
7. Call your Michigan no-fault accident attorney ASAP
The only person on your side in a Michigan auto accident is your Michigan no-fault accident attorney. The representative from your insurance company is there with the intent to minimize the benefits the company will have to pay out. Get your attorney involved before you involve your insurance company to ensure your rights are protected.
8. Notify your insurance company
Once any medical needs are taken care of and your attorney is involved, then notify your insurance company of the accident. While Michigan law provides up to a year to report an accident and file benefit claims with a no-fault insurance company, each insurance company has their own rules and deadlines that are often much more restrictive. However, be sure your attorney is with you any time you speak with a representative from the insurance company.
Note that all these action steps apply only if you are not seriously injured and are capable of doing them. If you’ve sustained serious or potentially serious injuries in a Michigan auto accident, remain still and do nothing until help arrives. If someone is with you at the scene and they are uninjured, you may ask them to assist with some of these tasks, such as calling police, collecting information and calling your lawyer.
In Michigan, the no-fault accident attorneys at Sachs Waldman, P.C., can assist in protecting you against insurance companies and lawsuits and get you the benefits you’re entitled to when you’ve been involved in a Michigan auto accident. Call our Detroit personal injury attorneys’ office at 1-800-638-6722 to schedule a free consultation.