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Car Accidents Archives

Why You Should Report All Drivers On Your Car Insurance

Everyone loves saving money, but it could cost you if your current means of doing so include not listing all drivers of your vehicle on your insurance policy. SMDA recently worked a case where the insurance company claimed they were entitled to deny no-fault insurance benefits to our client because he allegedly was not listed as a named insured on his commercial vehicle automobile insurance policy. The company attempted to apply the holding from the Court of Appeals in Barnes v Farmers, 308 Mich App 1 (2014), to this case involving a commercial policy to ask the Court to rule that our client was not entitled to receive No-Fault insurance benefits following a collision. However, the Court determined that the Barnes case only pertained to personal automobile insurance policies and not commercial policies. Since the SMDA client was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, the holding from Barnes was inapplicable to our client. However, our case should act as a good reminder for anyone, especially families, with a personal No-Fault automobile insurance policy to list all drivers of the car on the policy, no matter how little time they spend in it and here's why:

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS HIGH SCHOOL RUNNER TO CHASE THEIR CLAIM

The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeals decision preventing a 13 year old member of a high school cross country team from suing the coach in addition to the driver that hit him as he was on a training run with the team. The team was on a pre-dawn training run when they came to a traffic light. The team initially stopped at the light, but continued to cross the street, against traffic laws, on their coach's instruction. The plaintiff was one of two members of the team who were injured by a vehicle which hit them while crossing the street. In addition to the driver, the family sued the coach alleging that he was partially responsible for their son's injuries when he ordered the team to cross the street.

One Step Closer to Justice for Grieving Family

SMDA is pleased to update the status of the victory in the trial win against the auto insurer of a grieving family of their minor daughter who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision. SMDA tried this case to verdict and successfully defended the case in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The case was tried over three days in August of 2015. SMDA, with the assistance of counsel for Mary Free Bed Hospital and Covenant Health Care, won a verdict of over one million dollars following a hard fought trial. Plaintiff's daughter, who passed away in a house fire before trial, was 15 years old at the time of the crash. She sustained serious injuries as a result of a single car accident while she was on her way to school. Her right to receive automobile no-fault insurance benefits rested on whether or not the she had permission to drive the car. Since the insurance company alleged that she did not have permission and thus was not entitled to receive any benefits from her mother's automobile insurance policy, it was their burden to explicitly prove she took the car without her parents' permission. Although her mother initially stated that her daughter had taken the car without permission, under testimony both parents and the minor plaintiff unequivocally testified that she had permission to take the family car. The insurance company also argued that permission could not be legally granted because the minor only had a permit and she could not legally operate the vehicle without a licensed adult in the car.

DANGERS OF TEXTING AND DRIVING

Texting while driving continues to increase and is a very dangerous distraction. Texting while driving causes you to take your eyes off the road, your hands off of the wheel, and your mind off of driving. These three forms of distractions, whether individually or combined, can lead to a fatal accident. When texting or using your cell phone and driving combines all three distractions at one time, which makes it especially dangerous.

Paying for car damage after an accident

In Michigan, if you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you are entitled to recover up to $1000 from the at-fault driver's insurance company. You must contact the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident and ask for the mini tort coverage. You should include photos of your vehicle, estimate of repairs, the police report, and a declaration sheet from your own automobile insurance company.

Understanding Replacement Services

Michigan's No-Fault Law entitles car accident victims to certain benefits. Among these benefits are "Replacement Services". These are services that the injured person was able to perform for him/herself prior to the car accident. They typically involve household chores such as cooking, cleaning, taking out the garbage, mowing the law, etc.

How to find the right attorney for your auto accident case

Aggressive litigation in no-fault cases is extremely critical to good resolution of claims. How do you find the right firm to take your no-fault case? It is important to find an attorney who not only understands the law but who will take the time to carefully understand your case and aggressively litigate it. Your personal protection benefits are a critical part of your claim. It is a very intricate part of the law. It is important that the firm you hire to protect you, knows how to get the most benefits available to you. Our firm specializes in the payment of no-fault benefits and protecting our clients rights. Our attorneys have decades of experience in helping injured persons obtain their no-fault benefits. We are not like the high volume personal injury firms that you may see on TV. We understand that victims of car accidents can be very vulnerable and most are unsure of their rights. For that reason, we do not treat our clients like just a case number. We spend time and thoroughly prepare for each case to ensure the best results for our clients.

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