Getting hurt in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and navigating the process of filing a claim in the aftermath is almost always overwhelming. If you have been injured in a crash in Michigan, it’s important that you understand what to do—and not do—before proceeding.

By following the right steps and seeking the guidance of a compassionate and experienced personal injury attorney, you can increase your chances of a successful claim. Read on to learn more:

The Dos:

1. Seek Medical Attention

Your health and well-being should be your top priority after a car accident. Seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries appear minor. Prompt medical care not only ensures your well-being but also establishes a record of your injuries, which is crucial for your claim.

2. Gather Proof

Collect any evidence you can at the scene of the crash. This may include taking photographs of the accident scene, damages to vehicles, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from witnesses and make note of any important details, such as weather conditions or road hazards. This evidence will help support your claim.

3. Report the Accident

Contact the police and report the accident, even if it appears to be minor. The police report will serve as an official record of the incident and may contain valuable information for your claim. Be honest and provide accurate details about the accident.

4. Notify Your Insurance Company

Promptly notify your insurance company about the accident. Cooperate with them during the claims process, providing all necessary information and documentation. Failure to notify your insurance company may result in the denial of your claim.

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t Admit Fault

Avoid admitting fault or making any statements that could be used against you. Michigan follows a comparative fault system, which means that your compensation may be reduced if you are found partially responsible for the accident. Stick to the facts when discussing the accident and avoid speculating or accepting blame.

2. Don’t Sign Anything Without Legal Counsel

Refrain from signing any documents, settlements, or releases without consulting with your personal injury attorney. Insurance companies may try to pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer or signing away your rights.

3. Don’t Discuss the Accident on Social Media

Avoid discussing the details of the accident or your claim on social media platforms. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may monitor your online activity to undermine your claim. It’s best to refrain from sharing any information related to your case until it is resolved.

4. Don’t Delay in Filing Your Claim

In Michigan, there is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, within which you must file your car accident claim. Failure to file within this time frame may result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure you meet the necessary deadlines.

Speak with a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

If you were seriously hurt by a reckless driver, you deserve justice. For help seeking it, turn to Smith & Johnson.

Our compassionate team has been representing accident victims across northern Michigan since 1965, and we’re backed by decades of collective experience. To schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident attorney in Michigan, submit our Contact Form or call 231-946-0700.

Who Could Be Liable for My Car Accident Injuries?

If you were injured in a car accident, you may be wondering who is liable for your damages. In Michigan, the at-fault party is generally responsible. That means in order to seek compensation, you must first determine who was to blame for the crash.

Naturally, those who are deemed liable will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident. Let’s take a look at some of the parties who are most often found responsible:

1. A Motorist

The liable motorist might be the driver who was behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit you, or it could be the operator of the vehicle in which you were riding. If he or she was driving recklessly and caused the accident, you would likely be able to file a third-party claim with his or her insurer.

2. A Parts or Vehicle Manufacturer

Sometimes, a collision is the result of a defective vehicle. If this turns out to be the case, you will probably have grounds for a product liability claim against the company that manufactured the problematic part or the entire affected vehicle.

3. A Government Entity

A government entity may be liable for your injuries if the accident was caused by a government employee or a government-owned property. For example, if you ended up crashing because you lost control while driving over a massive pothole, you may be able to sue the city. Likewise, if you were struck by a bus, you may be able to put together a claim against the municipality that employed the bus driver.

If you think there’s a chance the government is to blame for your damages, make sure to find a firm that’s well-versed at going up against its agencies. The government has certain protections under tort law, and the proceedings for seeking compensation are slightly different.

4. A Motor Carrier

If you were hit by an 18-wheeler and the investigation reveals that the trucker was to blame, the motor carrier that employed him or her is likely liable for the damages. As a general rule of thumb, employers are responsible for any damages their employees cause while on the job.

How Can I Prove Liability for a Car Accident?

When putting together your personal injury claim, the strongest evidence of liability is going to come down to the facts of the case. There are a few pieces of proof, however, that almost always come into play. These include:

  • Photographs of the wreckage,
  • The official police report,
  • Eyewitness testimony,
  • Dash camera footage,
  • Black box data,
  • Cell phone records,
  • Statements from accident reconstructionists, and
  • Toxicology reports.

Call 231-946-0700 to Discuss Your Case with a Michigan Car Accident Attorney

If you were hurt in a car accident through no fault of your own, turn to Smith & Johnson for strategic legal counsel. Our team will conduct a thorough investigation to identify all liable parties, so you can seek the compensation you deserve from them. Call 231-946-0700 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Michigan.


36 Michigan municipalities represented by Timothy Smith of Smith & Johnson Attorneys are now closer to receiving pivotal Opioid Settlement funds to heal their communities from the effects of the ongoing opioid crisis. Judge Fresard of the 3rd Circuit Court recently sanctioned Ottawa County for filing a lawsuit that delayed disbursement of $81 million to nearly 270 local governments in the State of Michigan after finding that the county’s lawsuit demanding more funds made deceptive claims.

“Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate based on where someone lives or how much money they make,” said Chris Forsyth, Deputy County Administrator, Grand Traverse County. “We are anxious to use settlement funds to help our community heal and prevent any more lives from being destroyed. Thankfully, this ruling finally allows us to move forward in that mission.”

Learn more about the lawsuit here.

What to Do Following a Motorcycle Accident in Michigan

With the snow melting and the temperature rising, it won’t be long before Michigan residents across the state dust off their motorcycles and gear up to hit the road. Riding is a thrilling hobby that many are eager to start up again as soon as winter is over.

Unfortunately, it also happens to be an incredibly dangerous hobby. No matter how careful you might be, you can’t rely on others in traffic to exercise the same level of caution.

With that in mind, here are some of the most important steps to take following a motorcycle accident. Taking these steps will allow you to put together a compelling claim should you end up hurt through no fault of your own:

1. Get Medical Attention

Visit a doctor immediately. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. This will ensure your injuries are treated and documented, making it easier to prove your case later.

2. Preserve All Medical Bills

Save all of the receipts, statements, and invoices you receive associated with your care. This includes paperwork resulting from doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, pharmacy visits, and physical therapy sessions.

3. Request a Copy of the Police Report

Get a copy of the police report that responding officers filed after leaving the scene. This document will provide a starting point for your legal team when it comes to conducting an investigation.

4. Consult a Personal Injury Attorney

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to advise you on your rights and options, while fighting tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.

5. Save Potential Evidence from the Scene

Photographs of the damage to your motorcycle, the damage to the other vehicles, and any skid marks or debris could be helpful in your case.

Eyewitness testimony could also prove valuable. If you obtained any statements before leaving the scene, give them to your legal team for safekeeping.

6. Refer the Opposing Party to Your Lawyer

Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company.  They are not on your side, and they may try to get you to say things that could hurt your case. Instead, refer them to your attorney, who will be happy to handle all correspondence on your behalf.

7. Refrain from Signing Anything Prematurely

Do not let the insurance adjuster coerce you into signing anything without first consulting your lawyer. This includes any settlement agreements or releases. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on whether it’s actually in your best interests to sign.

Discuss Your Case with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Michigan

If you were recently hurt in a motorcycle accident and you don’t know where to turn, you can count on the compassionate team at Smith & Johnson. We’ll use all the resources at our firm’s disposal to help you seek the maximum payout possible. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Michigan.

What Kinds of Damages Can You Include in a Dog Bite Claim?

If you were bit by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to compensation for the associated damages. The total amount you can seek will depend on the severity of your injuries and the laws in the state where the attack occurred.

In Michigan, for example, dog bite victims can pursue funds for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that are tangible and can be easily quantified. Non-economic losses are those that are more difficult to quantify because they’re intangible and don’t have a corresponding dollar amount.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific damages you may be able to include in a dog bite claim in Michigan:

Economic Damages

Economic damages make up a significant portion of most personal injury payouts and can be proven using dated documentation like receipts, bills, and invoices. Examples include:

  1. Medical Expenses

The cost of the care associated with treating your injuries, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, surgery, and physical therapy, is recoverable.

  1. Lost Wages

If you’re unable to work while recovering from your dog bite injuries, you may be able to include every missed paycheck in your personal injury claim.

  1. Property Damage

If the dog damaged any personal property in the attack, like clothing or glasses, you can seek compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it.

Non-Economic Damages

Michigan tort law recognizes the fact that a victim’s non-monetary losses can be just as devastating as their monetary damages. As such, injured parties can include the following in their claims:

  1. Pain and Suffering

You may seek funds for any physical pain you experience over the course of your recovery. You can use medical records, doctor’s statements, and personal journal entries to demonstrate the extent of your suffering.

  1. Emotional Distress

Getting bitten by a dog is an inherently traumatic experience. If you suffer from depression or anxiety in the aftermath, you can account for such distress when putting together your damages claim.

  1. Disfigurement

Animal attacks often cause permanent scarring. If your injuries leave you disfigured in any way, you can seek additional compensation to cover the devastating psychological impact of the scars.

Punitive Damages

Most dog bite claims do not warrant punitive damages, but there are scenarios in which they may be called for. In addition to the compensatory damages listed above, you may be entitled to a punitive award if the animal’s owner or handler acted with malice or a willful disregard for your rights. For example, if they encouraged the dog to attack without any provocation, you could likely make the case that their actions were malicious.

Call 231-946-0700 to Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney in Michigan

If you were attacked by someone else’s dog and you want to file a claim in pursuit of damages, turn to Smith & Johnson. We’re determined to see every claim through to the end, even if that means going all the way to court. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Michigan.

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes After Getting Hurt in a Large Truck Crash

Large truck accidents are a serious problem in the United States. If you were hurt in a wreck with an 18-wheeler, it’s imperative that you avoid making critical mistakes in the aftermath, so you can preserve your right to seek compensation.

To learn what not to do, read on. Here are some of the most common mistakes that truck accident victims make, hurting their potential damages claims in the process:

1. Corresponding with the Opposing Party

Do not talk to the motor carrier or their insurance company without first speaking to an attorney.

Both parties will be looking out for their own interests, which are in direct opposition to yours.

Furthermore, if you do engage, they may try to get you to make a statement or sign a release. Depending on the circumstances, doing either could jeopardize your rights or threaten your credibility.

2. Accepting Fast Cash

As tempting as it will probably be, you should not accept the insurance adjuster’s first offer. Even if it seems like a fair amount of money, it’s highly likely that you’re entitled to more, which an attorney can help determine.

Additionally, accepting the money could prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the trucking company down the road, regardless of what the investigation turns up.

3. Changing Your Story

The aftermath of a crash is always chaotic. As such, your initial story regarding what happened may end up differing from a later version of events.

If the opposing party has proof that you’ve changed your story, however—perhaps from a recorded statement, for example, or in the form of social media posts—it’s going to open the door for a dispute.

4. Ignoring Medical Advice

You have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures to mitigate damages. This starts by seeking prompt care and then following your doctor’s orders over the course of your recovery.

Do not skip appointments or return to work before you receive approval for doing so, as the insurance adjuster will attempt to use such actions to invalidate your claim. They may try to argue you’re exaggerating your injuries or that you’re at least partially responsible for their severity.

5. Failing to Log Recoverable Damages

You’re going to have to prove that you suffered the losses you claim, so make sure to start tracking them from day one. Write daily journal entries to log your non-economic damages like pain and suffering. As for logging your economic losses, preserve all associated paperwork, including bills, invoices, and receipts.

Discuss Your Claim with a Truck Accident Attorney in Michigan

Was your life turned upside-down when a trucker lost control of their vehicle? For help determining how best to proceed in pursuit of the compensation you deserve, turn to Smith & Johnson.

We have been representing accident victims and their loved ones since 1965, and we have what it takes to go up against even the largest motor carriers and insurers. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a truck accident lawyer in Michigan.

5 Devastating Ways Car Accident Injuries Can Affect Your Life

Getting hurt in a car accident can be a life-changing event. In addition to the physical injuries you sustain, you will likely suffer significant emotional and financial devastation.

While you may be entitled to compensation for all the associated losses, you’re going to have to put together a compelling claim in order to seek it. This starts by logging all the damages that you do, in fact, incur, as well as the ways in which the accident has changed your life for the worse.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways getting hurt in a wreck can affect your life:

1. Emotional Turmoil

Car accidents can be traumatic events that can cause emotional distress. You may experience fear, anxiety, anger, and depression. You may also have flashbacks or nightmares about the accident.

These emotional problems can make it difficult to cope with the aftermath of the accident and can lead to problems at work, at home, and in your relationships.

2. Financial Strife

The cost of medical care and car repairs can be overwhelming after a wreck. Such losses are only compounded for those who are unable to work while recovering from their injuries.

If your condition is keeping you home, make sure to log every missed paycheck, so you can include the lost wages in your personal injury claim, as well.

3. A Loss of Independence

A car accident can force you to rely on others for help completing simple tasks, from bathing and grooming to preparing meals and running errands. You may also need to modify your home or car to accommodate your injuries and give up certain activities that you used to enjoy but demand a certain amount of self-sufficiency.

4. A Loss of Trust

After a car accident, you may have difficulty trusting other motorists, which can make it difficult to get back to your normal life. You may be unable to get behind the wheel for quite some time, forcing you to rely on others for transportation.

Depending on the severity of the situation, you may not want to get back on the road at all, even as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Naturally, this will seriously hurt your quality of life, forcing you to stay home even after the doctor has given you the okay to leave the house.

5. Social Isolation

It’s not uncommon for car accident victims to isolate themselves while recovering. If your friends and loved ones reach out offering help, though, don’t be too proud to accept it. They want to be there for you, and spending time with them will inevitably boost your morale.

Speak with a Michigan Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a car accident, the experienced attorneys at Smith & Johnson can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We will fight for your rights and help you pursue the full value of your damages. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Michigan.  

Strengthening Your Drunk Driving Accident Claim

If you were recently struck by an impaired motorist, you probably don’t know what to do or where to turn. Should you have grounds for legal action, though, it’s imperative to handle the aftermath properly, so you can protect your right to compensation.

To help you get started, here are five steps you can take immediately to give your personal injury claim the best chance of success:

1. Visit a Doctor

Even if you feel relatively okay, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be apparent right away, and waiting too long to seek treatment could result in complications that ultimately jeopardize your claim.

Putting off treatment will also make it difficult to prove causation. Since there won’t be any dated medical records linking the accident to your condition, the opposing party may try to argue that you were hurt in some other way and you’re merely trying to hold them liable since it’s convenient.

2. Save Evidence from the Scene

Preserve any potential evidence you have from the scene. This might include photographs of the wreckage, statements from eyewitnesses, black box data, and dash camera footage.

If you hire a resourceful car accident attorney, your legal team should be able to conduct a comprehensive investigation on your behalf. You can support their efforts—and streamline the proceedings—though, by handing over whatever evidence is already in your possession.

3. Track Your Associated Expenses

Keep a detailed log of all the costs you incur as a result of the crash. Examples include vehicle repair expenses and hospital bills. Tracking your economic damages diligently will make it easier to seek every dollar you deserve.

As for tracking your non-economic damages, start writing daily entries in a journal. As long as you record how your condition is hurting your quality of life, you may use these entries to demonstrate damages like mental anguish and emotional distress.

4. Stay off Social Media

It’s advisable to lay low online until your claim has been resolved. You can be sure the insurance adjuster will be monitoring your online activity in an effort to find cause to challenge your claim.

Since you cannot stop them from spinning what you post, it’s best to avoid posting altogether. If you must use social media, however, you can protect yourself by activating the strictest privacy settings. You should also avoid posting about anything that has the potential to be misconstrued.

Speak with a Michigan Car Accident Attorney

At Smith & Johnson, we know all too well the devastating toll that a drunk driving accident can take on the whole family. If your life was turned upside-down by an impaired motorist, you deserve justice, and our tenacious team will help you seek it.

We have been representing Michigan citizens since 1965, and we know what it takes to resolve even the most complex legal disputes. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Michigan.

How Much Is My Dog Bite Claim Worth?

Getting bit by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. In addition to the pain and suffering that accompany any kind of animal attack, dog bites can result in exorbitant medical bills and quite a few missed paychecks, among other losses.

If you were attacked by a dog and you want to hold the owner or handler accountable, you’re probably wondering how much your claim is worth. Here are the kinds of factors that can have the biggest influence on the value of your dog bite claim:

1. The Severity of Your Injuries

The extent of the physical damage that the dog caused will be one of the most significant factors in determining the how much your claim is worth. Victims who suffer permanent nerve damage, for example, can seek considerably more compensation than those who sustain minor lacerations and are expected to make a full recovery.

2. The Total Cost of Your Medical Bills

The cost of stabilizing your condition and then treating your injuries will also have a major impact on the potential value of your claim. This includes not only the cost of the initial treatment, but also the expenses associated with any ongoing medical care or rehabilitation you’re going to need in the weeks and months following the attack.

3. The Amount of Work You Miss

If your injuries kept you out of work, you may be entitled to compensation for the associated lost wages. This includes not only the time you missed immediately following the attack but also any lost earning capacity you incur if you’re unable to return to the job force at all.

4. The Extent of Any Scarring or Disfigurement

If the dog bite resulted in permanent scarring or disfigurement, you can account for its impact on the quality of your life going forward. Michigan tort law recognizes the fact that when it comes to dog bites, the associated non-economic damages can be just as devastating as the economic losses.

5. The Total Available Liability Coverage

In Michigan, dog owners are generally liable for any injuries caused by their pets, regardless of whether the animal in question has a history of aggression. However, the value of your claim may be limited by the dog owner’s liability insurance coverage, assuming they have an active policy.

6. The Animal’s History of Aggression

If the dog has a history of attacking people, it could impact the value of your claim. This may be evidence of the owner’s negligence in controlling the animal and, depending on the circumstances, may even warrant a punitive award in addition to the standard compensatory damages.

Discuss Your Case with a Dog Bite Attorney in Michigan

If you were attacked by someone else’s dog and you don’t know where to turn, you can count on the compassionate and strategic team at Smith & Johnson. We have been representing injured parties since 1965. Call 231-946-0700 or complete the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free case review with a dog bite lawyer in Michigan.

Evidence to Strengthen Your Car Accident Claim

Getting into a car accident can be traumatic both in the moment and the aftermath. Not only do collisions cause physical injuries, but they can also leave immense emotional devastation and financial destruction in their wake.

Fortunately, if you were recently in a car accident and suffered injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. In order to seek it, though, you’re going to have to gather a lot of compelling evidence.

If you’re wondering where to start, here are some of the most common pieces of proof that claimants present in pursuit of damages:

1. The Official Police Report

The official police report is one of the most valuable pieces of evidence in most car accident claims. It should contain important details about the wreck, including the date, time, and location where it occurred, as well as the names and contact details of all those who were involved. It should also include the responding officer’s impressions of the scene, which may address fault.

2. Eyewitness Statements

If other people saw the accident occur, their statements can help corroborate your account of what happened. Depending on how detailed it is, eyewitness testimony can provide valuable information about the other driver’s behavior leading up to the accident, which might include speeding or driving erratically.

Referring to the police report is a good place to start when it comes to tracking down eyewitnesses. People worth interviewing might include other motorists, their passengers, and any cyclists or pedestrians who were in the area at the time.

3. Medical Records

Make sure to preserve all documentation associated with diagnosing and treating your injuries. You’re going to need these records to demonstrate the extent of your injuries and the treatments you received. Such records may include nursing logs, diagnostic images, progress reports, and hospital bills.

4. Photographs

Images of the accident scene, any visible wounds, and the damage to your vehicle can help paint a clearer picture of what happened. Preserve all photos in a safe place until you can give them to your legal team.

5. Video Footage

If there is video footage of the incident, either from dash cameras or surveillance systems that were overlooking the scene, it will likely serve as incredibly compelling evidence. Since it may be overwritten in a matter of weeks, though, it’s imperative to request copies from the owners of any such footage as soon as possible.

6. Cell Phone Logs

Distracted drivers are responsible for thousands of traffic fatalities and many more injuries every year. If you have reason to believe the driver who struck you was using their cell phone at the time, the associated logs can be subpoenaed and used to support your claim.

Speak with a Michigan Car Accident Attorney

If you were seriously hurt in a wreck through no fault of your own, turn to Smith & Johnson to determine how best to proceed. A compassionate personal injury attorney on our team can help you navigate the claims process in pursuit of compensation for the damages you incur. Call 231-946-0700 or fill out the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Michigan.