At Miller & Tischler, P.C., we fight for victims who have been seriously injured in multi-vehicle accidents throughout Michigan. Our experienced car accident attorneys are well-credentialed and have an impressive history of positive outcomes. More than that, we pride ourselves on treating our clients with the respect and customized attention they deserve. If you have suffered a serious injury in a multi-vehicle accident, contact our office for a free evaluation of your case.
Why Multi-Vehicle Accidents Are Hard to Decipher
Multi-vehicle accidents are more complex than 2-car collisions or single-vehicle accidents, especially when serious injuries occur. For one thing, multi-vehicle crashes most often occur at high speed on parkways or thruways. For another, there are so many more details to untangle. In addition, each player has a distinct story to tell making determining liability extremely difficult.
It may at first seem that one party bears all the blame, typically for crashing into the car in front of him or her and precipitating a domino effect. Nonetheless, a thorough police investigation may uncover other salient facts. For example, the driver in front may have darted too closely in front of the driver who was initially blamed and then stopped short. Or it may turn out that one of the vehicles towards the front of the chain was tailgating, or that a speeding driver caused the multivehicle accident.
Other factors may further complicate the situation — bad weather, a poorly maintained road surface, debris falling from a vehicle, or a car with defective brakes — all of which make it more challenging to determine who is liable for your injuries.
How does the Michigan No-Fault System Work for Multi-Vehicle Accidents?
Michigan uses a “no-fault” automobile insurance system. This means that those insured with no-fault insurance are covered for economic damages regardless of who was responsible for the accident. In Michigan, everyone is required to obtain no-fault Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits if they own vehicles being driven on Michigan roads and highways. See MCL 500.3101.
Limits of PIP Insurance
PIP will cover the following:
- Allowable expenses including medical expenses, personal attendant care, housing accommodations.
- Replacement services (commonly referred to as the household chores benefit).
- 85 percent of your lost income for up to 3 years after the accident. There is also a monthly maximum at which your work loss can be paid. This monthly work loss cap is revised annually.
- Funeral and burial expenses (in the event of death).
It used to be that every one insured with no-fault PIP insurance had a right to lifetime PIP benefits that were unlimited in dollar amount. Unfortunately, Michigan’s No-fault laws were amended to allow for “PIP Choice.” This means that people may now choose from various levels of PIP coverage in exchange for lower PIP premiums (including $50,000 with qualified health coverage; $250,000; $500,000; and Unlimited). Persons with “qualified health coverage” may be able to opt out completely from PIP insurance. While having such “choice” sounds like a good thing now, one may regret choosing any level of coverage less than unlimited if they are catastrophically injured in an accident. Therefore, we recommend that everyone continue to choose the Unlimited PIP coverage option.
When is fault considered?
Catastrophic injuries can completely incapacitate victims and resulting in a lifetime of specialized care, lost income, and a great many intangible losses. For such intangible (i.e., noneconomic) losses, you may be able to sue the person responsible for your pain and suffering where your injuries meet one of several thresholds. Those thresholds are:
- Permanent serious disfigurement;
- Serious impairment of an important body function; or
In contrast to claims for PIP benefits in which fault is irrelevant, claims for noneconomic damages rest on proving that the responsible party was at fault (i.e., negligent). Therefore, if you are unable to prove that your injury meets one of the above thresholds or that the responsible party was negligent in causing your injuries, you will not be able to recover noneconomic damages.
What happens if you bear some responsibility for the accident?
All states recognize that there may be shared blame in a multi-vehicle accident. However, the particulars vary among the states. Michigan follows the principle of modified comparative negligence. Under this principle, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover for your noneconomic damages. However, economic damages will only be reduced by the percentage you are found to be at fault.
How Our Skilled Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you have been harmed by another person’s negligence, we will help you navigate the legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.
We have comprehensive knowledge of Michigan’s No-Fault system and the insurance benefits you may be eligible to receive if you are injured in an automobile accident. We are well-prepared to:
- Have the accident site and any physical evidence (e.g. car damage, skid marks) examined
- Read through and interpret police reports and medical data
- Interview all the witnesses
- Consult with automotive, medical, or accident reconstruction experts as necessary
You can rest assured that we will handle all the details of your claim so that you can focus on recovering.
Contact Our Experienced Michigan Multi-Vehicle Accident Attorneys
We know all too well how overwhelming a multi-vehicle accident can be for you and your family. Such an accident can take its toll physically, emotionally, and financially. Remember that Miller & Tischler’s compassionate attorneys are here to help you now — when you are most in need. In many situations, we won’t charge you any attorneys’ fees unless we recover damages for you. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation.