Driving can be a pleasurable experience – until you are involved in a serious automobile accident. Car accidents can be frightening and life-altering, causing injuries that can result in broken bones, internal injuries, chronic pain, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and other physical and psychological trauma. Auto accidents also can be financially devastating, if you have severe injuries not covered by your insurance policy or for which your insurance company rejected as being related to your car accident.

In 2018, there were 974 people killed and 75,836 people injured in motor vehicle crashes (with 312,798 reported total motor vehicle traffic crashes for the year) on Michigan roads.* And with recent changes to Michigan’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Reform Law, coverage for car accident-related injuries has gotten even more confusing. (read Oakes Law Group’s blog article on the new auto insurance reform law).

Oakes Law Group has served the needs of Michigan auto accident victims since 2003. Our expertise in auto accident law and extensive track record of winning for those injured in auto accidents provides us with the knowledge and experience to fight for your rights, get your medical bills covered, and win for you in the event of a lawsuit. With our team of the industry’s best auto accident attorneys and legal professionals, augmented by experts including private investigators and medical and auto insurance industry consultants, Oakes Law Group builds solid auto accident cases that lead to solid wins for our clients.

What Do I Do After I Have Had A Car Accident in Michigan? The period following a car accident can be a confusing and frightening (and possibly painful) situation, with a lot to process. Here are the steps to take after you have been involved in an auto accident in Michigan:

Immediately contact the police and obtain a copy of the police report. Police will document your accident and create a police report of the incident. Take photos of all of your injuries as soon after the accident as possible, if you are able.

Report all injuries to first responders and emergency room personnel. After a car accident in Michigan, it is extremely important that all personal injuries suffered as a result of the accident are well-documented and addressed, particularly if you experienced loss of consciousness. Insist that medical personnel at the accident scene and/or the emergency room record all of your injuries. Even if your injuries initially appear to be minor, be sure to mention all symptoms resulting from the accident such as:

Headaches
Dizziness
Lightheadedness
Ringing in the ears
Blurred vision
Problems with short-term memory or concentration
Emotional changes

3. Notify your insurance company immediately and file an application for benefits. Include as much detail as possible in the benefits application, and make a copy for your records. Check your auto insurance policy for very specific notice requirements, in the event there is information or other documentation you need to include with your benefits application, and deadlines. Provide a copy of the police report to the insurance company, and save a copy for your records.

Completing the application for benefits is essential for protecting your no-fault rights, and so you can receive the following important benefits:
Medical benefits
Wage loss
Replacement services (household help)
Mileage reimbursement for medical appointments
Attendant care benefits (nursing services)

4. Seek additional post-accident medical treatment. After a car accident in Michigan, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you feel your injuries are only minor. In addition to care and treatment you have immediately following the accident, be sure to follow up with your own medical provider.

A car accident can have devastating impact on your body and present injuries into the future, even if you cannot see or feel injuries immediately after the accident. If you experience new symptoms related to the accident in the future, return to your doctor and inform your auto insurance company. Many injuries that initially appear to be insignificant can later cause substantial pain and discomfort. These injuries are often referred to as delayed injuries and must be documented promptly to prove they were caused by the crash, not some other event. It’s also important to return to your doctor if you experience any new symptoms that were not apparent during initial treatment.

5. Never give statements to an insurance adjuster or sign a release. The goal of insurance companies is to pay as little in benefits as possible. Never give statements to an insurance adjuster, allow the insurance adjuster to look at the damage without the presence of an attorney, or sign a release after a car accident in Michigan.

Claims adjusters often try to get written statements early before accident-related pain and injuries set in, and use them later in court to try to undermine the accident victim. When there is low vehicle damage, insurance adjusters often try to claim no one could have been seriously injured in the accident. Many accident victims are coaxed into signing release documents without having their language reviewed by an attorney first. This could potentially lead to the accident victim losing their right to sue the negligent driver later or to receive no-fault insurance benefits for their accident-related injuries.

6. Attend all medical appointments and keep good records. Failure to do so could jeopardize your insurance claim and your right to ongoing, accident-related medical treatment. Insurance adjusters often contend that an accident victim who fails to attend their doctor’s appointments must not be experiencing pain.

Records to keep include (but aren’t limited to):

Documentation of all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, over the counter medications, laboratory services, physical therapy, hospital visits, treatments, medical documents, bills and x-rays, along with service dates and the amount you were charged, and photos of your injuries.
A diary of your daily pain, discomfort, emotional distress, fatigue, tenderness, inconvenience, etc., and how your accident injuries have impacted your daily life and relationships. Keep your medical appointments, including physical and occupational therapy, follow-ups with your family doctor, so that you can heal.

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