The period after an auto accident in Michigan can be stressful. Besides recovering from physical and mental trauma, you will be dealing with insurers, police, and healthcare providers. All this stress can affect your ability to make the right decisions. Fortunately, the auto accident checklist below will help you think clearly if you ever find yourself in a Michigan auto accident.
Contact the Police
It is a good idea to call the police, even in a minor fender bender. Under Michigan law, motorists must report auto accidents where someone is killed or injured or in cases where the vehicle damage is $1,000 or more.
The officers will document the scene and complete an accident report, which comes in handy when you file insurance claims. If the officers can’t reach the accident scene, it is best to visit the nearest station and fill out a report. Also, you shouldn’t move the vehicles while waiting for responding officers unless the vehicles are blocking traffic. If the accident happens at night, leave the hazard lights on to make your car visible to other motorists. It is also important that you obtain a copy of the police report for your records and get the names and badge numbers of responding officers. The police report will also help your attorney identify the at fault driver to make a claim for pain & suffering
Seek Medical Treatment
It is typical for adrenaline to dull pain, so you should see a physician after an accident. Often, minor symptoms can become severe, and a doctor will check for internal organ damage, concussions, and other undetected injuries. It is common for auto accident injuries to present delayed symptoms like whiplash that may not manifest for several days following an accident – or longer.
At the emergency room, insist that health care providers record all of your injuries, such as loss of consciousness, blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness. These medical records will support your personal injury claim.
Photograph the Scene of the Car Accident
Many people get confused about what to do after an auto accident in Michigan since a car crash can be disorienting. Since you may not remember the exact details of the crash after some days or weeks, it is advisable to take pictures if you can.
Take photos of the involved vehicles and the area around the collision scene. Additionally, capture any nearby road signs that can support your claim. If there are any witnesses, solicit their names and contact information as they can be crucial parties to subsequent lawsuits or insurance claims.
Do Not Talk to an Insurance Adjuster
The last person you should talk to after a Michigan auto accident is an insurance adjuster. Claim adjusters are notorious for being friendly and feigning concern for accident victims. However, this is just a façade to get you to say something that will hurt your case.
An insurance adjuster may also ask you to record a statement. Then, the insurance company will point out any inconsistencies between this statement and the testimony at trial. These contradictions can make the jury doubt your credibility. In other cases, the claim adjuster can propose a settlement, which will be less than the actual damages you have suffered.
Therefore, make sure you seek legal help instead of talking to an insurance adjuster. In fact, don’t let a claim adjuster examine the damage if there is no attorney present. An attorney will assure that your rights are protected and advise you against taking actions that may jeopardize your case.
Call Your Michigan Insurance Provider
Report the auto accident to your insurer as soon as you can. Insurance firms set deadlines for auto accident notifications, and some are as short as 30 days. The insurer will want the accident details and your responses should match those of the police report.
The next step on an auto accident checklist is to file a No-Fault benefits application. In Michigan, an auto accident victim has a three-year window to seek damages due to the negligence of an at-fault motorist. You can get the application form from your auto insurance company. The form entitles you to five kinds of benefits, including wage loss, medical benefits, and mileage reimbursements for medical consultations.
Keep Good Records
It is essential to maintain good records after an auto accident in Michigan. Such documents include:
- A copy of the police report. Call the police station where the collision occurred or order the report online
- All medical records, including prescriptions, doctor’s visits, over the counter medications, laboratory services, x-rays, and physical therapy
- Photos of physical injuries immediately after the crash
- The date of each service and the amount you paid
- Note down how your physical and mental trauma from the accident has affected your relationships and daily life
- Get the name and badge number of responding officers
Check Your Insurance Policy’s Fine Print
It is advisable to check and understand your insurance coverage before contacting your insurer, especially since Michigan has recently updated laws regarding no-fault insurance. Have an attorney read your policy’s fine print for any exceptions or caveats relating to your auto accident in Michigan. Also, keep in mind that insurance firms have deadlines for reporting auto accidents.
Talk to a Michigan Auto Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
Don’t wait to contact an attorney, especially if you’ve been injured. A car accident attorney will assure that the case is handled correctly from the start and your actions don’t jeopardize your lawyer’s ability to fight for every dollar.
Many legal issues can result from an auto accident in Michigan. Remember, if you are the victim, you are entitled to compensation for physical and mental injuries and lost wages. The Michigan auto accident lawyers at Kajy Law will work hard to protect your legal rights after an auto accident. Contact us today to understand your options.