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Auto Accident 1.29.2022

Who Pays In Lawsuit After a Car Accident? What You Need To Do After Settlement Offers

You were in a car accident, and you suffered serious injuries that affect your general ability to lead a normal life as compared to before the auto accident. You know who was at fault for the accident and your family and friends are telling you to get legal advice and think about filing a lawsuit to recover your pain and suffering damages compensation and financial losses. Before you take legal action, you may want to know who will pay you money compensation if you file a claim after a car accident.

In some cases, the answer is straightforward, but because there are many factors, and every accident is different, the answer can be complicated. Who pays depends on what type of insurance and amount of insurance the at fault driver carries, whether the other liable driver was “on-the-clock”, and the laws regarding liability based on “fault” for an accident in Michigan? Let’s explore the factors that may determine who pays for your car accident injuries and damages when you file a claim. Consult with an experienced car accident attorney to find out who may be responsible to pay in your specific case.

Understand the Role of Insurance Types

Insurance plays a significant role to paying compensation to victims of car accidents. Some driver’s are under the impression that auto insurance is the same for everybody in the state they live in. This simply is not true! Michigan like nearly every state (exception Virginia and New Hampshire) have mandatory insurance laws that require owners of vehicles and drivers to maintain minimum insurance. Every state has varying rules about what kinds of coverage the automobile insurance company must provide. Let’s take a look at Michigan’s auto insurance requirements and how the laws affect who pays when you sue after a car accident.

What Michigan Car Accident Victims Must Know about Insurance

Michigan is a no-fault insurance state. There is no option to choose between limited or full tort. This means a driver injured in a Michigan car accident file’s a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of fault for certain benefits covering medical bills, wage loss, household services and attendant care. All motorists must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage, which require motorists to carry at least $50,000 in each type of coverage. PIP coverage will pay up fee scheduled medical bills up to the PIP medical coverage limit.

Michigan residents can buy the following recommended automobile insurance coverages:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Covers costs for your own medical bills and lost wages if you live in a no-fault state. Recommended unlimited PIP medical coverage.
  • Residual Liability Coverage: Covers responsibility to pay for personal injuries you cause in an accident. Recommended minimum $250,000/$500,000
  • Uninsured/underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): Covers you when you are in an accident with another driver who does not carry liability insurance or does not carry enough liability insurance. Recommended minimum $250,000/$500,000

If someone suffers a qualifying serious injury, they have to go to the at fault driver’s coverage and file a third-party claim against the other liable driver. Michigan defines a qualifying injury as serious impairment of an important body function, serious permanent disfigurement and/or closed head injury that may be a serious neurological injury.

Even if you do not believe your injury falls into one of these categories, you should still contact a car accident lawyer if you suffered any injury at all to have your claim properly evaluated. Only then will you really have a full understanding of your legal options. You and your family should not have to bear the financial burden of your injuries, money lost from work, and other financial damages caused by another driver’s negligence.

Auto Insurance Claims Filing a Lawsuit

If you file a claim with an auto insurance company, you will need to work with an insurance claims adjuster who is responsible for investigating and processing your claim. Most victims of car accidents have never spoken with an adjuster before so typically don’t understand the adjuster’s role in a claim. Knowing the adjuster is tasked with limiting the insurance company’s financial exposure should alert you to take special care in what you say to an adjuster, as they are working for the insurance company and their ultimate goal is to minimize your pay-out to maximize the insurance company’s profits. Car accident victims often make the mistake of thinking an adjuster will help them get the most of their insurance claim. Claimants believe this, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Insurers are train their adjusters to know if they deny a claim or they make a low offer, the victim might stop making their claim. If a car accident victim or claimant has not hired a skilled lawyer who has experience dealing with car accident injuries to negotiate on behalf of the victim’s best interest, they will often accept a lowball offer. In other words, the insurance company wins — the insurance adjuster is jumping for joy, and they get to pay the lowest amount possible to resolve the claim that is possibly worth a lot more. In addition, the adjuster may not tell you there is an umbrella policy or excess liability policy much larger than the primary liability policy. This is yet another reason why you need an attorney, who can help you find out the coverages and negotiate a fair settlement with an insurance company and, if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement, file a lawsuit on your behalf in civil court to have the jury decide your damages claim.

How Are Car Accident Lawsuits Settled?

In some cases, in general, car accident lawsuits settle between victims and insurance companies. Typically, the adjuster will require your pre-accident medical records to see if you had any pre-existing condition which may not be related to the car accident. The adjuster will most certainly argue the pre-exiting condition will not be considered for payment of any compensation. After all of the medical records are retrieved, negotiations will begin when you make a demand for payment of your damages. If you file a claim the adjuster will try to make offers before you get a lawyer in hopes of getting you to accept a low ball settlement offer before you learn the true value of your claim. An insurer will most often make a lump sum settlement offer to close out your case quickly. The insurer’s adjuster may tell you this first lump sum is the best offer you will get because of certain excuse, which are usually slanted to make you believe the reason for the low offer —but that is usually false and only viewed in the light most favorable to the insurance company.  Do you get the picture here? Insurer adjusters usually make initial offers hoping the victim will settle quickly, allowing the insurer to avoid any future liability for their losses, which is usually must higher than evaluated by the insurance adjuster. This is bad for you because you let them keep money they owe you. Good for the insurance company because they made money by paying you less. To get the insurance company to settle for a fair amount, you will likely need compelling evidence organized and present in a manner that adds up your damages or losses rationally. We are experts in assessing and presenting damages in car accident cases to insurance companies.

Obtaining Compensation in More Complex Accidents

Some accidents such as trucking liability claims involving truck drivers or rideshare drivers tend to be more complex than standard passenger-vehicle car accidents because they have commercial liability insurance policies with higher money limits. The policy may have some legal considerations which could improve your ability to recover financial compensation.  

However, you will need an attorney who knows how to evaluate your truck accident case and properly bring the lawsuit against truck and rideshare drivers, as the damages they cause can often exceed what your own PIP policy will cover. There are also different reasons why commercial truck accidents occur and potentially liable parties can be complex. For example, in the case of a commercial truck accident, the truck driver’s employer could bear some responsibility for failure to train or supervise, failure to inspect and repair the commercial truck, the trucking company may have pressured their driver to violate hours of service rules to rush in a shipment (resulting in drowsy truck driver or fatigue), or if it caused an accident by unsafely securing the load on the truck.

Most often the truck and rideshare accident cases can have complex issues in terms of what policy you look to find for your compensation, what coverage limits apply, where you can sue them and when you can sue them, and what theory you use to sue them. Now you understand why it’s best to consult with a truck accident attorney in any car accident case, but especially if you were in an accident with a commercial truck or rideshare driver such as UBER or LYFT.

Reasons to Hire an Accident Injury Attorney

All too often, car accident victim becomes the car insurance company’s victim too because the victim has hesitated to contact a lawyer for various reasons. If you are hesitant to put someone else in bad financial straits by bringing a claim, or you may be concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney, or you may think you can handle your claim and negotiations on their own. These are all common mistakes we see people involved in car accidents make.

Bottom line, though, if you did not cause the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake. You can afford the best legal representation because The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm pays the up-front costs and only gets paid a percentage of what you get paid. You need an experienced accident personal injury attorney to do the critical negotiating for you fair settlement:

  • Don’t worry about placing the at fault driver in financial straits – in general, in the vast majority of cases, their insurance company will pay any final settlement up through the limits of their coverage.
  • Don’t worry about the cost of hiring an attorney – Our attorneys make hiring legal representation for a car accident case easy. First, if you are a victim, you get a free consultation with The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm’s best personal injury attorney to evaluate your case and determine whether or how to pursue compensation. Second, if you are a victim and the attorney decides to take your case, your attorney at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm promises to work on a contingency-fee basis. This means that instead of sending you bills as the case moves along, the attorney only gets paid if your claim is successful in settlement or jury award on your behalf. The lawyer’s legal fee is taken as a percentage of the settlement or court award. You have nothing to lose, and you can afford the best car accident attorneys.
  • It’s a mistake for victims negotiating on their own – unfortunately some victims believe they can negotiate on their own with an experienced insurance adjuster. You have a legal to do so. And the insurance company is certainly hoping to see this happen. Insurance companies know that most victims are unfamiliar with the process and may accept an unfairly low settlement than they normally get if they had an experienced personal injury attorney on their side to advise them about    the value of the claim and about whether any other source of insurance coverage is available.

Therefore, you should never hesitate to bring a claim after a car accident, and we do not recommend that you handle the claim yourself. You would be doing yourself and your family a huge favor by getting a personal injury lawyer to represent you. A trained lawyer can help you gather all the evidence to advocate for a fair settlement from the beginning, making sure your case is prepared to go to court, if necessary, and put up a fight to recover every dollar you deserve for your car accident injuries and damages.

Court Cases Versus Settlements

Every case is different, car accident injury victims should also be aware most cases never see a jury trial but end up in Court to use the power of the court to get the evidence you need to prove your case such as compelling witnesses to testify and produce records that may help your claim. However, almost of these matters resolve during a mediation or facilitation process where a settlement is negotiated with the insurance company prior to trial. Inevitably, the process will take some time, and the insurance company may make several offers before making you a final offer you can accept.

In our view, a reasonable settlement should ensure you are financial future and able to make your life whole in some fashion. You and your family should not have to face any financial loss because someone else broke the law causing you an injury that you suffered when an accident was not your fault. If the insurance company won’t offer an amount sufficient to cover your financial losses, you might need to take your case to trial to get the justice you deserve. If you choose to go to court, having a reputable trial lawyer on your side is all the more critical.

How You Receive Your Settlement Money

There are various ways a car accident settlement can be proposed. Once you accept a settlement offer, the insurance company will have you sign a release and waiver of all claims. This release and waiver will acknowledge acceptance of the settlement amount in exchange for the release of the insurance company and at fault driver from any further claims to liability.

After the settlement agreement is returned to the insurance company, the settlement check will be to your lawyer, who will deposit it the check into a pooled trust account for disbursement. The lawyer will get paid the fee agreed to in writing in the contingency-fee agreement and any other costs the attorney might have covered, and then you will get the balance of the funds.

In some cases, it’s in your best interest to take your settlement in a structed form. Usually, a structured settlement is when you receive your auto accident injury settlement over a period of time, in smaller periodic payments, instead of the one large lump sum payment. You receive the settlement funds over stated period of time, usually years, rather than shortly after the settlement. This is sometimes a better way because you are guaranteed payment over the time period you need the money because some people may mismanage the lump sum.

Need A Lawyer To Look Over Your Insurance Settlement Offer?  

Whatever you decide in how the claim is handled, you should always have an experienced personal injury lawyer look over the insurance settlement papers before you sign to make sure you are getting a fair settlement under the circumstances. Call us today at 1-866-HIRE-JOE, The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm offers free insurance settlement offer reviews.  Never sign any legal papers unless an experienced personal injury lawyer has reviewed your injury settlement offer.  

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No Fees Unless We Win
The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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