Personal Auto Injury Litigation
The laws of the State of Michigan require that motor vehicles operated in a place open to the public must be insured. The “basic” automobile insurance policy required, however, will not adequately protect you and your loved ones. The reason is that it does not include features necessary to compensate if you receive a debilitating or crippling injury!
Sad to say, but usually true: Many major automobile insurance companies do not even offer necessary coverage to fully protect you and your family. Vining Law Group, PLC, recommends that you discuss your automobile insurance needs with an Independent Insurance Agent. Independent Insurance Agents represent multiple insurance companies. Therefore, they will not only be able to locate a company offering the protection you need, but they will also be able to find a competitive price by comparing several quotations. For the protection of yourself and your family, you should have:
1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage.
Think about it. Many serious collisions are caused by irresponsible individuals. Some are unlicensed and many are also driving in violation of the law with NO insurance whatsoever. Should such an individual injure you, you probably will go uncompensated for very significant losses. Your basic No-Fault insurance policy will only pay you up to 85% of your work loss for three years and the medical. You will lose all compensation for pain and suffering and disfigurement. Also, you will be uncompensated for work loss benefits beyond three years.
To remedy this situation, you should purchase “Uninsured Motorist Coverage.” The premium for this additional and essential coverage is very small. This coverage will help you maintain your family and lifestyle without depleting your hard-earned savings. Instead of looking for payment from the irresponsible driver who has no coverage, you will be able to look to your own insurance company for compensation. You may purchase the amount that is consistent with your own needs and lifestyle.
2. Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
A similar, but more common problem, is an injury caused by an irresponsible individual who has coverage but in a minimum amount. It is unbelievable but true that the State of Michigan allows people to drive automobiles with only $20,000 of coverage. In this day and age, that is not nearly enough to compensate for even a minor injury. Underinsured Motorist coverage is designed to protect you from such a situation. For instance, if you have $500,000 in pain and suffering and future wage loss but the negligent party only has a $20,000 policy, your future is at very serious risk. If you have Underinsured Motorist coverage, your own insurance company will compensate you for the difference. Again, this essential insurance coverage is available for a modest premium.
3.Coordinated Medical Benefits Are A Trap.
Your automobile insurance policy requires your insurer to provide you with “First-Party benefits.” You can save a buck or two by “coordinating” your medical benefits with your other medical insurance coverage. However, you should NOT do so. The reason is that the savings is very, very little. In addition, some medical insurance plans have a right to claim a lien, dollar for dollar, for reimbursement of all medical paid if you recover from the negligent driver! For instance, if the medical paid is $75,000 and you are awarded by a Court $75,000 for crippling injuries, the lien will eat up your entire recovery and you will receive nothing for your losses! The few dollars saved in the short run by coordinating medical benefits could end up financially injuring you and your family.
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF YOUR RIGHTS
A person injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to receive from his/her own insurance company 85% of their wage loss (up to the statutory maximum), subject to certain set-offs. In addition, Replacement Service benefits are available for up to $20 per day for three years. These, by way of example, include payments for assistance to you with housekeeping, preparation of meals, outdoor maintenance, and driving. Moreover, in more serious cases where comprehensive care is required, you may be entitled to Attendant Care benefits. Finally, you are entitled to all reasonable medical, including appliances and modifications, which are necessary for your care and rehabilitation (if benefits are not coordinated).
You must make application for these benefits within one year of your injury. In addition, if benefits owed are denied, you must file suit within one year or those benefits are lost.
If the negligence of another driver causes the collision and it results in death, disfigurement, or serious impairment of a body function, then that individual may be responsible for non-economic losses caused. This is known as a Third-Party claim. A Third-Party claim must be commenced within three years of the injury.
Non-economic losses include damages for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation and mortification. In particularly serious cases, the injured individual may be entitled to work loss beyond the three year No-Fault cap as well.
MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE AND COLLISION CLAIMS ARE
COMPLICATED AND THERE ARE MINE FIELDS FOR THE UNWARY
It is essential that you review your insurance policy and make sure that you have the essential coverages necessary to protect you and your family. Please feel free to call Guy Vining and/or your Independent Insurance Agent to review your automobile insurance coverages. Secondly, should you be a victim of a collision, you should call Guy Vining immediately (or other competent legal counsel) to review what your rights are. Guy Vining has over 25 years’ experience representing injured individuals and their families. Feel free to call him for legal advice, case planning, and litigation, if necessary.
It is the policy of the Vining Law Group, PLC to discuss attorney fee arrangements with you during your first office conference. In most cases, First-Party benefit claims and Third-Party benefit claims are handled on a “contingency fee” basis. Under this arrangement, the fee for legal services is based upon a percentage of money obtained for you with the Court costs and expenses figured separately.
It is the firm’s policy to never charge a consultation fee with respect to discussing whether your insurance coverage is adequate and whether you should have representation after a collision.