Articles Posted in Car Accidents

SMDA is proud to report that survivors of catastrophic crashes and their loved ones, including a number of my clients at Serafini, Michialowski, Derkacz & Associates, PC, won a major victory in the Michigan Court of Appeals today. The Court issued its long awaited decision in Andary v USAA and held that benefit reductions passed as part of 2019 auto insurance reforms could not be applied retroactively. The decision Represents a Major Victory for Survivors of Catastrophic Crashes and their Families, has binding effect on retroactive application of benefit reductions.
The Court ruled 2-1 in favor of the plaintiffs in the case of Andary et al. v USAA Casualty Insurance Company et al. The lawsuit was filed in 2019 by guardians of two catastrophically injured auto accident victims — along with the nationally renowned brain injury rehabilitation clinic Eisenhower Center — and names Citizens Insurance Company of America and USAA Casualty Insurance Company as the defendants. The victims, on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed, are Ellen Andary, of East Lansing, and Philip Krueger, of Ann Arbor.
The decision will enable thousands of severely injured accident victims to continue receiving medical expense and home care reimbursement at the benefit levels that were legally enforceable under insurance policies that those victims bought and paid for for years before the new law went into effect. The decision will prevent insurance companies from reaping windfall profits by retaining premiums they collected to pay benefits they would no longer be required to provide if the Court had allowed the Insurance Companies to retroactively apply the new law to these claims some of which stem from catastrophic collections that occurred more than thirty years ago.

Some car accident victims suffer from evident pain immediately after a car accident, such as a broken bone or back injury. Others, however, may not experience the pain right away. Some people may think that their pain is not severe and will go away on its own.

There is no question that it would be in your best interest to see a doctor after a motor vehicle accident. You may not immediately experience pain, but that does not mean that you have not suffered an injury, or that you will face one down the road. Clients have frequently stated that immediately after an accident they were not in pain and that the pain came days, or even weeks, later.

Being a victim of a car accident can be a very scary and confusing time. Many people are unsure of the steps they need to take to ensure they receive benefits they are entitled to. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car accident, call SMDA Law today to schedule your free consultation. It is important to know and understand your rights.

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.

The family initially lost the case regarding the claim against the coach when the Court of Appeals ruled that the coach was protected by governmental immunity. The Michigan Supreme Court subsequently held that the Court of Appeals had failed to properly analyze the cause of the child’s injuries and when the case was reconsidered, they found that the coach was not necessarily protected by governmental immunity and he could be sued for the runner’s injuries.

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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.

Michigan law prohibits texting while driving. Texting and driving, or any cell phone use, has become a very dangerous epidemic that causes accidents that result in serious or life-threatening injuries. These accidents occur every day.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident caused by a driver who was texting and driving, call SMDA Law today to learn your rights and let us give you the help you need.

Ok, It was bound to happen.
You have been in a car accident.
You felt OK right after the crash, but the next day your back and neck are really sore.
What to do??

Well, first and foremost go see your family doctor and follow their advice.

Whether you caused the accident or not, you are entitled to certain benefits from the insurance company. You need to contact the insurance company and complete a simple form called an application for no-fault benefits. These benefits are called 1st party or PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits. If you suffer an injury in a car accident you are eligible for these benefits no matter how the accident happened.

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.

If the injured person requires help with these services, the person who is helping is entitled to receive compensation for the services they provide on behalf of the injured victim. Anyone can provide these services, including family members or friends.

The service provider can receive up to $20 per day for three years from the accident date. Typically, the insurance companies require that the service provider document the tasks and chores that are performed. This can be done on monthly calendars that will be provided.

Bicyclist in Michigan are considered vehicles that have the same responsibilities and rights as other motorized vehicles on the road.

If you are a victim of a bicycle accident and were injured as a result of an accident with a car or motor vehicle such as a motorcycle, truck or bus, then you are entitled to certain rights. You are entitled to no-fault benefits such as reimbursement for medical bills, medical mileage, lost wages and for help with household chores. These benefits are paid by your auto insurance company. However, if you do not have auto insurance then you can file with the insurance company of a relative that resides with you or you can collect benefits from Michigan’s Assigned Claims Facility.

You may also file a lawsuit for the pain and suffering you suffered. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will compensate you for the injuries you suffered.

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.

If you are the victim of a car accident, call SMDA law firm in Sterling Heights to see how we can help you.

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What happens when you are involved in a car accident and it affects an injury you had prior to the accident?

When a person is involved in a car accident it can cause the victim to suffer new injuries, but sometimes the accident can make a pre-existing injury worse. In other words, it “aggravates the pre-existing injury”. This is a very common situation. Even though there was a prior injury, the victim is still entitled to benefits for the increase of pain and suffering, and expenses related to the aggravation of that injury.

People may think that they are not entitled to benefits unless they sustain new injuries, however, you are entitled compensation for the aggravation of an old injury as well. If you have been involved in a car accident and have sustained new injuries, or if it made an old injury worse, call Serafini, Michalowski, Derkacz & Associates today to learn your rights and let us help you.

It is important to know that if you are a pedestrian and have been hit by an uninsured driver, even if you are not insured, you still can make a claim for no-fault PIP benefits.

The first thing you must do, is look to a relative that is residing in your household and who has a no-fault insurance policy. That insurance policy would be responsible for paying your PIP Benefits. If that is the case, you must contact that insurance company and fill out an application for PIP Benefits.

If you do not live with anyone who has such a policy you can apply to the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility who will assign an insurer to your claim. This is typically the last resort when there is a priority dispute among insurers.

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