1. What do I do when I have been involved in a motor vehicle accident?
The first thing you should do is contact an experienced lawyer so that you are not making any mistakes when you call your insurance company. Normally, people trust that their insurance company will work on their best behalf and, sometimes, that is true. However, unfortunately, there are many times when the insurance company’s primary goal is to save money as opposed to pay full benefits which are owed. Therefore, it is essential that you be educated in the complex world of Michigan No-Fault Law before you ever speak to an insurance adjuster.
2. What am I entitled to and who pays for my benefits after an automobile accident?
Under Michigan’s No-Fault Law, the usual answer is that your own automobile insurance will pay for many vitally needed benefits. These include payment of full medical expenses; wage loss payments when you are disabled from work; travel and mileage reimbursements relative to medical appointments; replacement service benefits to help with matters around the house which cannot be performed due to the injury; attendant care which is needed for those people who cannot care for themselves due to severity of the injuries; modified vehicles which allow the injured person to resume driving safely notwithstanding limitations from injuries and modifications to your home which accommodate all of your physical needs. There are very definite requirements under the Michigan No-Fault Law which, if not fulfilled, the insurance company will have no obligation to pay the benefits until those requirements are fulfilled.
3. What if I am seriously injured by another driver who was at fault for the accident?
Under our laws, you are entitled to complete compensation for the devastation which can occur to your life. You may no longer be able to work, perform your obligations at your home, enjoy traveling and recreational activities, be restricted to a wheelchair or any number of other serious effects on your life. Monetary compensation is the only form of compensation that our state allows in terms of helping a person cope with severe limitations and reducing the financial stress which is inevitable. It takes an experienced trial attorney who understands this system to achieve full compensation and not settle for something less than you deserve.
4. Do I have to accept the case managers or doctors that my insurance company “recommends?”
No! You have paid your premiums over the years and this insurance company is to provide the benefits the insurance contract and the law of the State of Michigan require. You are in charge of who you see as your physician and you have the opportunity to select your own case manager, if necessary, so that you have people around you that you can trust at all times have your best interest in mind. Again, an experienced no-fault attorney has a network of professionals who are not bound to the insurance companies in any way.
5. What if I have both health care insurance and automobile insurance – who pays?
Normally, when you purchase your automobile insurance, the sales agent asks you if you have health insurance and if you do, they will offer you “coordinated coverage” which will reduce the premium payment amount on your automotive coverage and make your health care provider “primary” in terms of paying medical bills. The correct identification of the appropriate insurer is critical at the beginning of any case to make sure that bills are being paid on time and that your credit rating is not affected in any negative manner.
6. What if I am permanently disabled from my previous employment? Am I entitled to any retraining?
Yes. Under Michigan’s No-Fault Law you are entitled to “vocational rehabilitation.” This consists of coordinating with an experienced and trained vocational rehabilitation specialist who understands the limitations of certain injuries and will recommend retraining programs, including potentially college, so that you may rejoin the work force as quickly as possible.
7. If I am severely injured and/or permanently disabled, am I entitled to Social Security Benefits?
Yes. Our office coordinates with a social security specialist who understands the complex world of social security benefits. There are also affects on your no-fault benefits if you obtain social security benefits which you must be aware of in order to avoid financial difficulties in the process. This type of information is fully explained at your initial free consultation.
8. If I need a lawyer, how can I afford to pay for this legal assistance?
There are several options available to all clients regarding payment. First, if you are involved in an automobile accident and the other person is at fault and you are seriously injured, a contingent fee may be available which would only pay the attorney if he was successful in obtaining compensation for you. Therefore, there would be no periodic bills. If the issue is with your own insurance company in that they are not paying for the insurance benefits to which you are entitled, the insurance company may be liable to pay for the attorney fees if they “unreasonably” deny your benefits.
9. How do I know if I have the right lawyer?
Our law office provides access to former clients who are gratefully willing to share time and their experience with Mr. Decker. We are entirely confident that once you hear what they have to say, you will know you have the right lawyer.