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Who to call first after an auto accident
Michigan's winter has reared its ugly head once again. Which means one thing — auto accidents are on the rise.
Although we’d like to believe that auto accidents only happen to those people we see out of our windows as we rubberneck past the highway wreckage, the reality is that auto accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. Having dealt with countless auto accident victims, there seems to be one common theme: none of them planned on being involved in an accident. Not having the opportunity to plan ahead, auto accident victims are often overwhelmed by an abundance of questions:
- What should I do first?
- Who’s going to pay my medical bills?
- What if I’m unable to work?
- Who’s going to pay to fix my vehicle?
- Does it matter who caused the accident?
- What else am I entitled to?
- I’ve paid for an auto policy, but what does it do for me?
An auto accident victim’s first step should always be contacting an attorney who specializes in Michigan auto accidents before talking to any insurance company — even your own. Navigating the Michigan No-Fault System can be extremely challenging. You’ve just been involved in an accident, your vehicle is totaled, you’ve been injured and now you’re faced with the daunting task of trying to sort it all out on your own. Let an auto accident attorney worry about the burdens of the No-Fault System, while you focus on your recovery. Don’t think you can afford an attorney — think again. Auto accident cases are generally handled on a contingency fee, meaning you pay no attorney fees unless you receive a recovery.
The good news is, persons, regardless of fault (hence the name “No-Fault”), who are involved in an auto accident are entitled to certain benefits, commonly referred to as PIP benefits. In very general terms, PIP benefits include all reasonable and necessary expenses related to an injured person’s care, recovery or rehabilitation (i.e., medical bills), which can last for the person’s lifetime. Additionally, for a period of three years after the date of the accident, an injured person is also entitled to their wage loss (85 percent thereof, because the benefits are not taxable) and replacement services (not to exceed $20 a day).
In addition to the PIP benefits outlined above, which are recoverable regardless of fault, a person involved in an auto accident may be entitled to a large monetary recovery for non-economic damages. Unlike PIP benefits, non-economic damages are not automatic. There are certain hurdles an injured person must overcome in order to be entitled to non-economic damages, making it even more important to contact an auto accident attorney early.
This overview is a very generalized analysis of how the No-Fault System works. In reality, each auto accident has very unique fact that can drastically impact the general analysis stated above. Which brings me back to step No. 1 after being involved in an auto accident: call an auto accident attorney.