What is The Average Timeline for an Auto Accident Claim in Michigan?

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Car crashes a.k.a auto accidents can result in personal injury claims which can be settled either in and out of court. Oftentimes, many claims can be settled between both parties even before a lawsuit is filed. However, each case is unique so how the claim proceeds depends on the specifics of the case.

With that said, below is an average timeline anyone can expect to see when dealing with an auto accident claim in the state of Michigan as well as the statute of limitations for personal injury claims.

Statute of Limitations

In Michigan, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years from the date of the accident. An individual has until this period to file a claim in court and the clock typically starts from the date of the injury or accident. Once this period has lapsed, you will lose your ability to claim the injury in court and to ask the court to award damages for your injury. There are only a few exceptions to this rule which grants an additional year to file a claim.

First Step: Accident

The first notch in the timeline consists of the accident – in this case – a car accident. Two individuals are involved in an accident and now either one or both of them have suffered injuries. They will both likely seek medical attention for their injuries and one or both of them might need to have surgery or therapy to recover from their injuries. They will also likely get their insurance companies involved and local law enforcement will put in a report of the accident.

Second Step: Consultation

More than likely, one or both individuals will seek an auto accident attorney in order to recover damages as a result of the accident. They will likely be placing blame on the other for the accident and will seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle damages. At this point, one or both individuals will secure a personal injury lawyer. If for any reason, a settlement can not be made beforehand, a lawsuit will likely be filed as a next step in this process.

Third Step: Settlement

During the settlement phase, the insurance company of the party in question will be contacted and a request for a settlement for their client’s damages will be made. This can be done informally or formally through letters. If the settlement request is successful, then a settlement agreement will be drafted and signed by both parties including the lawyers and insurance companies. If the settlement phase is unsuccessful, then a lawsuit will likely be filed and the case would then proceed to civil court.

Fourth Step: Civil Court

Papers will be filed by both parties through the courts and the court process will proceed while settlement negotiations will still try to be made. If needed, dispute resolutions like mediation will be used to come to an agreement. While most auto accident lawsuits will eventually be resolved with a settlement, sometimes, a civil trial might be necessary which would result in the normal trial process where the jury would decide if the alleged party is liable and if damages should be awarded.

Final Thoughts

Being involved in a car accident, and having injuries as a result no less, can be stressful, painful, and frustrating. In this situation, one would want to seek damages from the other party for their pain and suffering. At Marko Law, we’ve handled many personal injury and car crash claims and are quite knowledgeable of the process with the Michigan court system. You can be assured that we will do everything possible to ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case and receive the compensation you deserve.

 

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Injured and in need of Insurance Compensation? Don’t do it alone

Injured and in need of Insurance Compensation?

Injuries, wrecks, accidents or disasters, life is unpredictable and eventually you may need to face an insurance company to recover funds for damages inflicted by the negligence of another. In a best case scenario, you get the money you deserve with no problems and the issue is solved. This almost never happens. There will always be a risk of being cheated by insurance companies, and being denied the coverage owed. Without the proper legal representation, there will be no way to know when an insurance company has shortchanged you, or have any recourse in the event that this does. The chances of being cheated by an insurance company only grow worse the more time that goes by since your incident.

There are many ways that an insurance can cheat you. There is a time limit for insurance claims, as well as a need for recorded evidence for support. Without any evidence, such as police reports or documented records, a claim can be more easily dismissed. The longer you wait to get a case together, the harder it will be to gather the materials needed to create a strong case. A legal professional can iron out all the kinks in a claim that insurance companies will pounce on in order to deny coverage.

Legal representation is an important part of making sure any insurance case goes through the right channels and lacks any sort of weakness that can be exploited. Without any sort of legal background, there is plenty of room to make errors—errors that can severely weaken any claims. A typo in the documents, a single wrong impression, or even a forgotten date, could lead to benefits being denied. Hiring a legal professional lowers the risk, and strengthens your chances of receiving benefits.

Insurance Compensation

A good attorney studies the law thoroughly and is familiar with the requirements that insurance companies must meet—-which will improve your chances of seeing a favorable outcome in your case. A lawyer’s job is to make sure that your insurance claim is crafted well and presented professionally. A lawyer also makes sure that all angles are covered, and dates set, making sure to avoid the mistakes that could weaken your case. A licensed attorney also knows what aspects of a case need to be taken care of for a successful claim, such as making sure a police report was filed or that an accident was properly documented. By waiting on the insurance company or on getting legal representation you only harm your own case and jeopardize the coverage you are owed.

Insurance agencies are infamous for lulling victims into complacency. Make sure you hire an attorney at once to maximize the potential for a result in your case that is commensurate with the pain and suffering undergone.

Call me at 313-965-5555 so I can help you take on the insurance companies or email at jon@ernstmarkolaw.com

WHAT TO DO WHEN FIDO IS A BAD DOG

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to everyone out there. I sincerely hope that you and yours had a good 2014 and that 2015 will be even better. With many of us home for the holidays, there is a lot of parties, guests over, and people we haven’t seen in a long time around. For those of us with animals in the house, these events can lead to unexpected incidents. Today we will be discussing what happens if you are bitten by a dog, or if you have a dog and it bites someone else.

Dog bite cases are some of the easiest cases for a lawyer to try. Why? Because under the law you don’t have to prove that anybody did anything wrong. In almost every other type of case that lawyers handle you have to prove that someone did something wrong. Not in a dog bite case. Michigan has what lawyers call “strict liability”. Strict liability means that under almost any circumstances, if your dog bites someone you are responsible for the injuries, regardless of who is at fault.

It didn’t use to be this way. Back in the day, to win in a dog bite case (or other animal case) you had to show that the dog owner did something wrong. Normally, this meant that you had to show that the dog owner knew that his or her dog had vicious tendencies, or was likely to attack, and owner didn’t stop it. This was a pretty hard standard to prove. You usually had to show that the dog had been vicious in the past or that it had bitten someone else.

This changed when the Michigan legislature passed a law that specifically governs dog bite cases. Under the law, an owner is always responsible for the damage that a dog does except in two main circumstances. The first exception is if the dog was provoked. This would mean that someone was taunting the dog, poking it with a stick, or something like that. The second exception is that the dog bit someone who was trespassing. An examples is if a person jumped over your fence to grab a ball that had fallen on your side of the fence and the dog bit them.  In such a situation, the dog owner is generally not responsible.

We’ve seen several pretty horrible dog bite cases over the years. For example in one case, a young girl was mauled in the face by her grandmother’s dog which literally tore the braces out of her mouth and left her permanent scarred and disfigured. I litigated that case on the girl’s behalf and obtained a substantial recovery.

 

GET INSURANCE!

In my experience, homeowners’ insurance always covers dog bite cases. If you own a home and have an animal and don’t have insurance, it could be a serious problem if the animal bites someone. A good friend of mine consulted with me on a case where his parents ran a hotel up north. His parents had a dog who was getting older and had been getting a little more testy. One day, the dog bit a guest and my friend’s parents were sued. His parents didn’t have any insurance so they ended up having to pay $75,000.00 out‑of-pocket to settle the case. You definitely don’t want this to happen to you.

Even if you don’t own a home, and you have a pet, you should carry some kind of renters’ insurance that will cover you in case something happens. Most of us would say “hey, not my dog, it would never bite somebody”. But animals can act unpredictably. I have another good friend who had a wonderful and very gentle dog. I knew this dog my whole life and it had never hurt a soul. The dog developed a brain tumor, which unbeknownst to its owners, grew in the dog’s brain. The brain tumor caused the dog to lash out one day and maul someone.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE BIT BY AN ANIMAL?

If you’re bitten by an animal the first thing is to get medical attention and make sure that you are safe. The second thing to do is contact a lawyer. In most circumstances, you are entitled under the law automatically to certain benefits.  The medical bills, loss of work, and other damages can add up.

My own brother was mauled by a dog when we were younger and had a large portion of his nose bitten off.  It required operations and a large amount of medical bills. The dog was owned by a family friend, so my brother never did anything about it. I didn’t know anything about dog bites back then. Had that happened today, I would tell him the first thing he needs to do is contact an attorney, because his friend’s homeowners’ insurance would have covered all of his medical bills and other issues. His friend’s family probably wouldn’t have had to pay a penny. That’s what they have insurance for, to cover these unforeseen and unfortunate occurrences.

Be sure to take pictures of the injury and keep all documentation. You may need this later. Also, don’t make any statements to the insurance company before talking to your lawyer.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG ATTACKS SOMEONE ELSE?

If you’re in the unfortunate situation where your dog or animal attacks someone else, make sure that they get medical attention immediately and are in a safe environment away from the animal. After that person is safe you should immediately contact your insurance company and file a report letting them know what happened and the circumstances surrounding it. Your own insurance company will take over from there and handle the claim on your behalf. If a lawsuit is filed against you, your insurance company will give you an attorney and will work to resolve the claim on your behalf.

Dog bite cases are pretty routine and they happen more than one might think. If you or someone that you know has been injured by a dog or other animal, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.