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Solar eclipses only happen every so often, making them interesting events many people don’t want to miss. However, the enthusiasm and chaos of the event can have unfortunate consequences, as solar eclipses often cause car accidents, resulting in injuries and sometimes even fatalities.

If you’re involved in a collision during a solar eclipse, you may have the chance to pursue monetary recovery. Don’t wait to discuss your case with a qualified car accident attorney in your area for advice and guidance.

What Is an Eclipse?

An eclipse occurs when a planet crosses over the sun. On Earth, there are two types of eclipses: lunar and solar eclipses.

During a lunar eclipse, the earth interferes with the sun’s light hitting the moon. These types of eclipses happen at night, and the full moon fades away for some time while the earth’s shadow covers it. On the other hand, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon covers the sun, causing temporary darkness.

Solar eclipses are not as common as lunar eclipses, making them more rare and exciting.

How Can an Eclipse Increase the Chances of Car Accidents?

A solar eclipse is an exciting event. Numerous individuals stop what they’re doing just to take in the moment as the moon covers the sun and causes unusual darkness during the day.

While the sun and moon do not directly cause accidents, the thrill of the event can indirectly increase the likelihood of car accidents for many reasons, including:

  • More drivers on the road
  • Drivers taking unfamiliar routes
  • Speeding
  • Distractions
  • Drivers pulling over in unsafe locations

Solar eclipses are not perfectly visible everywhere, so more drivers get on the roads to travel to areas where the event is noticeable. This contributes to worse traffic congestion and more dangerous driving behaviors.

Residents and visitors of certain states were better positioned to see the most recent eclipse, including those in Michigan, Illinois, and Vermont. Consequently, these states saw a rise in auto accidents during the eclipse.

Seeking Compensation for Eclipse Collisions

In order to recover compensation after an eclipse collision in Michigan, it’s important to keep in mind that the state follows no-fault insurance rules. This means that drivers purchase personal injury protection (PIP) through their insurer, which will cover medical claims. Property damage, on the other hand, is handled by the at-fault party’s insurer.

If you cannot recover enough compensation through PIP to cover the cost of your injuries, you can often pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s bodily injury policy to make up the difference. You might even be able to file a lawsuit.

However, because of these policies, car accident lawsuits are not as common in no-fault states as they are in other jurisdictions. With that said, you might be eligible to file a lawsuit to recover various damages not typically covered by these policies, such as pain and suffering.

You might also be able to sue if you’ve suffered a serious impairment of body function. But keep in mind that Michigan has strict requirements that lay out an injury threshold that you must meet — otherwise, you have no right to sue. To properly evaluate your claim and determine whether you’re eligible to file a lawsuit, it’s critical to meet with a personal injury attorney.

Keep in mind that PIP does not cover property damage. So even in no-fault states, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance for damage to your vehicle and property.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Help

If you’ve experienced a car accident during a solar eclipse, do not wait to consult with a local lawyer, as time is limited. A Michigan car accident attorney can take on your case, thoroughly review the specifics of your situation, and create a plan of action to seek the most beneficial result on your behalf.

On Behalf of

Every winter, Michigan gets its fair share of snow and ice – and all that winter weather can bring a lot of challenges. 

To ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road, here are some essential tips for driving in winter weather:

Make sure your vehicle is well-maintained

Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is winter-ready. Check your tires for proper inflation and tread depth. Consider switching to winter tires, if possible, for enhanced traction on the icy roads. Test your brakes, lights and car battery to make sure they are in optimal condition.

You should also be prepared for unexpected situations by packing an emergency kit. Include items like blankets, non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit.

Slow down and put more distance between you and others

Icy and snow-covered roads are hard for even good tire treads to grip, making it essential to reduce your speed. Allow for extra time to reach your destination and increase your following distance. This gives you more reaction time in case you encounter a sudden hazard, like a car that’s sliding out.

Apply the gas and your brakes slowly and gently

Make smooth and gentle movements while accelerating and braking. Sudden actions on slippery surfaces can lead to loss of control. Gradual movements allow your tires to maintain traction and reduce the risk of skidding. Brake early and gently to keep from sliding out. If your car has anti-lock brakes (ABS), use steady pressure on them until you can stop. If you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes to prevent lock-ups.

Make sure that you clean your vehicle thoroughly

Clear visibility is crucial, so remove all the ice and snow from your windows, mirrors and lights before you start out on the road. Use a quality windshield washer fluid that won’t freeze in cold temperatures.

Skip the cruise control and stay focused

When roads are slick, avoid using cruise control. Maintaining manual control over your vehicle allows you to respond quickly to changing road conditions. You also need to avoid distractions and focus on the road. Watch out for other drivers and be prepared for sudden stops or maneuvers.

Remember, it’s not just about getting to your destination; it’s about arriving safely. If you do end up in a wreck on winter roads, it’s always wisest to find out more about your legal options.

On Behalf of

Just a few years ago, anyone injured in a Michigan car crash could expect thorough medical coverage. The law in Michigan once required unlimited no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Regardless of how severe someone’s injuries were or who caused the crash, their policy could pay for their medical expenses. 

When state lawmakers reformed Michigan’s no-fault insurance law, they asserted that this move would save people money. Unfortunately, policies across the state have not become much more affordable. At the same time, those with catastrophic injuries may find themselves struggling for care. 

Some people have no PIP coverage at all

Under no-fault reform, drivers still have the option of investing in unlimited PIP coverage. They can also reduce that coverage to lower amounts. Some people only need $50,000 worth of PIP coverage if they have Medicaid coverage. Those on Medicare may eliminate PIP requirements entirely. They would then rely on the insurance coverage of the person who caused the crash to cover their medical expenses. 

The law in Michigan currently only requires $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage if one person gets hurt or dies in a wreck. Those with extensive medical costs and lifelong lost wages may find that the available insurance is not nearly enough. They could also discover that the person who caused the crash didn’t have an active insurance policy, leaving them unable to file a claim at all. 

People hurt in a crash caused by someone else shouldn’t have to absorb those expenses. Filing a personal injury lawsuit could sometimes help those who discover that no-fault reform left them without the coverage they require.

On Behalf of

Motor vehicle accidents in Michigan and around the country claimed more than 40,000 lives in 2021, and excessive speed was a factor in many of them. Speeding and driving too fast for prevailing road conditions is now the leading cause of fatal car accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the problem is getting worse. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of road users killed in speed-related accidents rose by 28.1% from 8,632 to 11,057.

Risky behavior

The most worrying surge in speed-related deaths occurred in 2020 when travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders emptied the roads. Experts believe that these conditions explain a sudden rise in risky behavior like speeding and driving drunk. In Michigan, 2,344 of the 9,293 fatal motor vehicle accidents that took place in 2020 involved at least one driver who was exceeding the posted speed limit or driving at a dangerous speed.

Young drivers and motorcyclists

Young drivers and motorcyclists are the groups most likely to be killed in speed related crashes according to the NHTSA data. In 2020, speed was a factor in more than 35% of the fatal accidents involving motorcycles and drivers under the age of 25. The data also reveals that men are more likely to drive at reckless speeds than women. Between 2012 and 2021, speed was a factor in 29% of fatal accidents involving male drivers and 23.5% of the deadly crashes involving female drivers.

Harsher speeding penalties

Motorists who drive at excessive speeds are a danger to all road users. Excessive speed is a factor in more than a quarter of all fatal traffic accidents, and the problem has become much worse in recent years. If the penalties for speeding and reckless driving were made more severe, the nation’s roads could become safer.

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Michigan Traffic Crash Facts reports that more than 10,000 motorcycle accidents occurred in Michigan between 2017 and 2021. Some of those accidents may have been prevented if anti-lock braking systems (ABS) were standard on all motorcycles.

ABS became a mandatory safety feature on all cars produced for use in the United States since 2011. It’s believed that ABS helps prevent some motor vehicle accidents by preventing tires from locking up. A driver has a better chance of steering to safety if the tires can freely move.

ABS and motorcycles

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is petitioning the federal government to require ABS on all new motorcycles. This is the second attempt, as the first attempt was made 10 years ago to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Although it’s not required by law, some motorcycle manufacturers have started to include ABS as standard equipment. In 2013, around 20% of new motorcycles included ABS. As of 2023, around 59% of new motorcycles have ABS.

Evidence for ABS

A 2021 IIHS study of motorcycle ABS found that accident rates for motorcycles with ABS are 22% lower than those without ABS. There’s also evidence that shows insurance claims for motorcycles with ABS are up to 24% lower than those without ABS.

Is ABS always beneficial?

There’s some concern that ABS is less efficient when motorcycles travel on gravel and other loose surfaces. However, the argument is made that motorcycles could have a switch that allows riders to disable the ABS on certain surfaces. In addition to adding a switch, an indicator light could remind riders to turn the ABS back on when it’s safe.

Crashes will still occur, even if all motorcycles have ABS. However, those in support of making ABS mandatory for motorcycles believe the technology will help save lives.

On Behalf of

Trucking companies in Michigan and around the country must obtain operating authority from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration before they can engage in interstate commerce. In 2019, the FMCSA processed about 8,500 applications for it each month. In 2021, the number of applications surged to approximately 17,000 per month. In April 2023, an FMCSA statistician linked the rise in applications for operating authority with a corresponding rise in truck accidents.

New carriers

The statistician made connection during the FMCSA’s Analysis, Research, and Technology Forum, and he based his observations on preliminary data gathered by the federal road safety agency between 2018 and 2021. The data reveals that new carriers only maintain excellent safety records for about a year. In 2018, trucking companies that had recently been granted operating authority were involved in about 1.3% of all bus and semi-tractor trailer accidents. By 2021, that figure had risen to 3.5% of motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks and buses.

Electronic commercial vehicle inspection

Those who attended the FMCSA forum also learned about a new commercial vehicle inspection that will be conducted remotely while semi-tractor trailers are in motion. The FMCSA believes that the new approach could lead to a tenfold increase in commercial vehicle inspections. Commercial vehicle safety systems will be evaluated during Level VIII inspections, and hours of service and commercial driver’s license information will be checked against FMCSA and state databases in real time.

Bad habits

When a vehicle operator is involved in an increasing number of accidents, it often means corners are being cut and safety guidelines are being disregarded. When tens of thousands of vehicle operators crash more often, it could indicate that safety regulations are not being enforced strictly enough. The FMCSA data linking new carriers to a rise in truck accidents suggests that stricter oversight may be needed.

On Behalf of

It is common for car accidents to lead to shoulder injuries in Michigan. Shoulder injuries can affect the shoulder and other parts of the body near the shoulder. Understanding how car accidents can cause shoulder injuries is key in helping people understand the care they may need and the factors impacting compensation.

A complicated joint

The shoulder, supporting a wide range of motion, bears much of the weight when you carry things with your arms. Its complexity makes it susceptible to various injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

In a car crash, your shoulder may collide with a seatbelt, steering wheel or flying debris, resulting in injuries requiring extended recovery or even causing permanent damage that limits your ability to work and move independently.

The intricate nature of the shoulder joint means it can sustain complex injuries not immediately apparent after an accident. This may lead to insurance companies undervaluing shoulder injuries, leaving individuals with less compensation than they rightfully deserve.

Car accident shoulder injuries

Recognizing the signs that your shoulder is injured after an accident is important. Quick action is needed to prevent the symptoms from getting worse. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Weakness
  • Persistent pain
  • Instability
  • Numbness
  • Cracking sounds when moving the arm

Sometimes, you may notice shoulder injury symptoms immediately after the crash. At other times, the high adrenaline levels in the immediate aftermath can mask the pain. If inflammation hasn’t set in, pain may not be apparent. Consulting a medical professional after a car accident, even if you’re not in pain, could assist in identifying injuries not immediately apparent.

Cost of shoulder injuries

Until a car accident inflicts a shoulder injury, it might not be evident how extensively you rely on your shoulder for daily activities. A loss of range of motion translates to an inability to groom yourself and lead a full life. Whether the damage is enduring or temporary, it can have far-reaching effects on your family and future, encompassing medical expenses, lost wages, diminished life enjoyment, pain and suffering and the inability to operate a motor vehicle.

Feeling entitled to compensation for financial losses resulting from a shoulder injury in a car accident doesn’t guarantee that you will receive it. However, understanding the mechanics behind shoulder injuries in such accidents can be beneficial in helping you gauge the type of compensation you may rightfully deserve.

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Michigan motorists surely know that bad weather conditions make driving more hazardous. Slippery roads or poor visibility often triggers many types of motor vehicles accidents. On top of this, distracted, drowsy or impaired drivers add to traffic dangers. Although all crashes have the potential to seriously injure drivers and passengers, some kinds have a greater likelihood of causing serious injuries.

Head-on collisions

This can be a devastating form of accident because it involves two vehicles heading in opposite directions and then colliding. As a result, the forward momentum of each vehicle adds to the force of impact. Head and neck injuries and deep lacerations from broken glass commonly occur. Wearing your safety belt can make the difference between surviving and dying in a head-on collision.

Side-impact collisions

Two scenarios generate side-impact collisions. In the first one, the front of a vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. These car crashes are also known as T-bone collisions. Due to the direct impact with the vehicle cabin, occupants have a high risk of broken bones, lacerations and head trauma.

A side-swipe accident describes the second scenario. The vehicles are traveling parallel to each other and something causes one car to drift into the other lane and cause the sides of both vehicles to collide. The impact could force one or both vehicles to spin out of control and perhaps hit another vehicle head-on.

Rollover accidents

In a rollover, a car flips or rolls and typically lands on its roof. Losing control on ice or turning too fast represent two causes of rollovers. They may also happen when a driver brakes suddenly at high speed to avoid an object or other vehicle. Injuries may be severe and could include burns because a rollover increases the chance of fuel spilling and igniting.

On Behalf of

Fall in Michigan is a beautiful time of year, and when thinking of hazardous driving, it’s more likely that your first thought will be about winter. But fall brings its own set of hazards on the road.

Several unique factors during fall can contribute to motor vehicle accidents. As such, it’s a good idea to remember how fall can increase your risk as a driver.

Unique fall risks

Auto accidents don’t just happen between two vehicles – A large percentage involve a single vehicle and a pedestrian, stationary object or other party. The fall season increases the risk of single-vehicle accidents in several ways.

First, fall is when children are back in school, which means both increased vehicle traffic when school starts or ends and a large number of additional pedestrians, most of whom are children who may not attend to traffic properly. After a summer with no school-related traffic, fall can be a re-adjustment period for drivers.

Second, fall is mating season for deer, spiking deer activity and substantially increasing the risk of colliding with a deer. Hitting a deer can damage your vehicle and endanger your safety.

Weather-related hazards

Nothing makes driving less safe than winter’s snow, but the increased precipitation during fall does increase driving risk. Most summers are relatively dry and the roads are in good shape, but once fall arrives, you’ll be contending with wet driving surfaces far more frequently.

The colder weather also means that trees begin to shed their leaves, and those leaves can often accumulate on the roads. The combination of leaves and the increased precipitation can create a driving surface that’s treacherous and slick.

Fall driving brings its own set of hazards and risks. It’s important to be vigilant and aware of how the fall can increase the danger on the roads to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

On Behalf of

Teens are always excited when they finally get their driver’s licenses. It allows them to go driving on their own, giving them a sense of independence and freedom. However, teens have a higher rate of accidents than older drivers. These are some tips for younger drivers to stay safer while traveling in Michigan.

Remove distractions

All drivers are prone to getting distracted, but teens have a much higher risk. Distractions rank as one of the top reasons behind motor vehicle accidents. Teens should avoid using their phones, eating and having multiple passengers their age in the vehicle while driving as it can reduce the risk of distracted driving.

Avoid speeding

Teens often feel invincible, so they take risks behind the wheel. One thing that’s a bad habit for many young drivers is to travel over the legal speed limit. However, speeding is a dangerous behavior that can lead to car accidents. Teens should stay within the limit and be mindful of their speed to avoid potential disaster.

Wear your seatbelt

Unfortunately, teens are less likely to wear their seatbelts than older drivers. Seatbelts save lives; they can keep you in your seat in the event of an accident. If you are a parent whose teen just got their driver’s license, instill in them the importance of seatbelt usage every time they get in a vehicle.

Give enough room

Tailgating is one of the biggest problems leading to accidents. Teens should take care to give plenty of room between their vehicle and the one in front of them. It allows for enough time to slow down and stop when necessary and avoid getting into a rear-end collision.

When teen drivers use common sense and follow all the rules of the road, they can be safe. These tips can help them avoid accidents.

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