Car Accidents in Michigan
Unfortunately, at some time in our lives, most of us will experience an auto accident. When you are in a car accident, even if you are not injured, there are certain things that you should and should not do.
If you are involved in an accident involving injury, or substantial damage to property, stay at the accident scene until the police tell you that you can leave. If you have any question about whether the damage caused by the accident is substantial, err on the side of caution -- when the law requires you to wait for the police, leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges and driver's license sanctions.
If somebody is injured, and you are trained in administering first aid, try to help. Do not move an injured person. Have somebody call the police to report the accident. The person who contacts the police should tell the police that people are injured, if possible also providing the number of injured persons, so that enough emergency personnel respond to the scene. If you are on the roadway, turn your flashers on, or use flares to warn approaching traffic of the accident.
In any accident, you should obtain the following:
Be aware that if litigation results from the accident, you may have to share your notes with somebody that you are suing, or somebody who is suing you.
Even if you think you are at fault, do not admit liability. There may be factors which you don't know, which played a role in the accident, and it may turn out that the other driver was more at fault than you.
Do not make statements to anybody at the accident scene, except for the police. When you speak to the police, tell them only the facts of what happened. Let the officers draw their own conclusion from the facts.
See a doctor. Michigan's no
fault insurance law covers medical treatment necessitated by a
car accident. If you don't seek medical attention, you may
find that you are unable to obtain "no fault" benefits for
your injuries -- your insurance company may argue that your
injuries arose from something that happened after the accident. If
you sue the other driver for injuries you suffered, you may similarly
find that the other driver argues that your injuries were not related
to the accident. Also, the "adrenaline rush" from the accident
can mask your symptoms -- a physical examination may reveal an injury
that you do not yet feel.
There are special rules which govern the operation of large commercial trucks (such as semi tractor-trailers and "eighteen wheelers"), which are meant to lower the risk of truck accidents by keeping trucks in good working order and keeping tired drivers off of the road. As accidents involving these extremely large vehicles have a much greater chance of causing serious injury, companies which operate trucking fleets know very well that violation of the safety rules can carry very serious consequences. A lawyer can help you evaluate whether rule violations contributed to a truck accident, and how that may affect liability.
If you are injured in a car accident, please be sure to learn your rights under Michigan's "No Fault" law, including your right to medical care, lost wages, and rehabilitative services under "First Party" No Fault law, and your right to sue for damages under "Third Party" No Fault law.
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