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On Behalf of

The roads in Michigan are sometimes difficult to navigate, even when the weather is nice. If you add in snow or sleet, you might find that you are facing some very serious challenges. Still, all drivers on the road must ensure they are driving safely so that everyone can make it home at the end of the day.

Before you head out this winter, be sure that you brush up on safe driving practices on slick roads. Here are a few to get you started:

Choose where to drive

When you leave home, you might not really pay much attention to where you are driving as long as you are in your lane. If the roads are snowy or icy, you should try to stay in the same path as the vehicles that traversed the roadway prior to you. Typically, you will have better traction in the tracks of other cars. This can help you to avoid slipping and sliding through the snow or slush.

Know what areas to avoid

Bridges will freeze before surface streets freeze. If you do have to drive over a bridge, do so slowly. Pay close attention to your speed going up the bridge because there is a chance that if you slow down too much, you might start to slide backwards, especially if the road is icy. Once you hit the top of the bridge, you need to make sure you are moving very slowly. There is a good chance that you will start to speed up as you are moving down the bridge. On bridges that are level, you should just pay attention to your speed from start to finish.

Watch other drivers

Give other drivers space to drive. Almost everything will take longer in the snow. This includes accelerating, stopping and turning. Even if you are in a rush, trying to rush other drivers or misjudging how long an action will take them might end up being a fatal mistake. Remember, your safety is more important than rushing to anywhere. You can control yourself, but other drivers might not be doing the same. You don’t need to be involved in a crash that can negatively impact your life.

Keep control of your vehicle

You also need to make sure that you are keeping control of your vehicle. This might not be easy when the roads are slick. Use your anti-lock brakes to stop or slow down; however, avoid braking if you are skidding. Remember to steer into the skid and remain calm until you are able to regain control of your vehicle. If you notice another vehicle skidding, give that car room since you know the driver doesn’t have any control.

On Behalf of

Any time you get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, there is some degree of risk involved. Certain factors can contribute to that risk, increasing the potential for a collision and serious injuries or death. For people who live in Michigan, particularly the Upper Peninsula, the powerful winter weather can be a major factor that contributes to risk in a vehicle.

Although different areas of Michigan receive different levels of snow fall annually and have different average temperatures, the whole state, from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie to Escanaba has more severe winters than many other states. Drivers across the state need to take special steps to reduce the risk posed by winter weather conditions.

Pay attention to maintenance needs and invest in snow tires

One of the best things you can do to reduce your risk for a winter crash is to maintain your vehicle as best as possible. Failing breaks or other mechanical issues could increase your risk for a collision in inclement weather. Before the snow starts sticking around, you should schedule a visit with a trusted mechanic to ensure that everything on your vehicle is in working order.

Similarly, the late fall and early winter are a good time to change out your summer tires for snow tires. You may even need to buy new tires if your old snow tires have gotten worn down. Loss of traction on slippery roads is a major contributor to winter crashes, so anything you can do to improve traction is a good idea. Newer tires and tires designed to offer better traction in cold, wet and icy conditions will offer the best protection from losing control of your vehicle on icy or slippery roads.

Slow down and adjust your schedule to leave earlier

You never know when a storm is going to hit, and the weather forecast can miss showers or major storms that seemingly blow in out of nowhere. Commuting to work in the morning after a storm can be a slow and dangerous trip. Your best hope for safety comes from being able to drive slowly and not feeling panic or stress due to running late. Depending on the severity of the storm and the amount of snowfall, you may have to substantially decrease the speed of your vehicle to stay safe on the roads.

Getting up earlier can ensure you leave with plenty of time for your drive. While cold winter mornings aren’t the most inviting thing in the world, waking up a few minutes early is preferable to experiencing a major collision in the winter. Plan for an extra 30-50 percent of your typical drive time.

Of course, you can’t control how others drive in the snow. Remaining alert can reduce your risks, but a driver who has lost control of a vehicle could still cause a crash and serious injuries. Stay alert and stay safe on those freezing winter roads.

On Behalf of

When the seasons change, especially in the state of Michigan, weather patterns follow suit. Since this can have an impact on your safety, health and well-being, it’s imperative to take note. For example, when the rain begins to fall, you must change your driving style.

If you find yourself behind the wheel and navigating slick roadways, here are some of the many things you need to do:

  • Slow down. Doing so will give you more time to react, while also minimizing the likelihood of hydroplaning. Even if you are in a hurry to reach your destination, you don’t want to drive too fast.
  • Use your headlights. There are two reasons to do this. To start, it allows you to see the road ahead of you. Secondly, it makes it easier for other vehicles to see you. It only takes a second to flip on your headlights, so there is no point in ignoring this tip.
  • Leave more space. You never want to drive close to other vehicles, but this is even more important in wet weather. It will take you longer to stop your vehicle when the roads are wet, so you need to leave some extra space.

The fall season is beautiful in the state of Michigan, but that doesn’t mean you will never face challenges on the roadways. You know that rain will move into the area at some point, so you need to be prepared to deal with this as a driver.

If you are part of a motor vehicle accident, move your car to the side of the road and call 911 for help.

Once you receive treatment, find out more about the accident. If the other driver is responsible, you may be able to file a claim to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages.

On Behalf of

A brain injury isn’t just an issue for the person who suffers it. The entire family is impacted, and numerous lives can change forever. This creates a multitude of realistic life changes, financial challenges, emotional hurdles and much more.

For instance, perhaps your spouse gets involved in a car accident on the way home from a friend’s house. What started as a low-key Wednesday night turns into the defining night of your life.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the Brain Injury Association of America notes that you may have to take on a multitude of jobs to keep life going smoothly. Things like banking, preparing meals, doing the laundry and taking the kids to school don’t come to a sudden stop.

Granted, you probably took on many of those jobs before, but you also split them with your spouse. It can feel overwhelming to do it all on your own.

This is especially true because your spouse is still in the hospital at this point. You want to be there for him or her. You’re grieving the unfortunate situation, looking into medical options and talking to both the doctors and the insurance company.

But the only change isn’t immediate. Even with minor brain injuries that heal relatively well, there can be serious alterations down the road.

For instance, your spouse could come home with no memory of the accident, just feeling frustrated and irritable about what happened. He or she may have undergone serious personality changes, to the point that family members may feel like they don’t even know the person anymore. Serious mental issues, like depression, are often reported.

Limitations may last forever. Some of those tasks that you took on right after the injury could wind up as yours to keep. If your spouse is no longer able to handle complex tasks and work with numbers, for instance, doing the banking, the taxes, and the family finances is no longer an option.

Of course, with serious brain injuries, there can be significant physical and cognitive changes. A person who can no longer speak needs assistance in simple communication. A person who can no longer walk needs physical assistance every day, likely for the rest of his or her life. Simple tasks like taking showers become time-consuming and difficult. Being a caregiver can turn into a full-time job.

You can’t ignore these costs. You and your spouse both used to work. If your spouse can never get back in the workforce and also needs you to quit your job to become a caregiver, how do you pay the bills and care for the kids?

As you can see, the impact of a brain injury is far-reaching and may last for years or for life. In the face of these changes and monetary issues, be sure you know all of the options you have.

On Behalf of

Immediately following a car accident, it’s important to focus all your attention on your health and overall well being.

Once you know that you are on the right path to making a recovery, you can turn your attention to details regarding the accident itself. This often means that you will be in contact with your insurance company.

While it’s important to inform your insurance company of your accident, there are things that you absolutely need to avoid:

  • Don’t provide a written statement or give a recorded statement unless you know exactly what you are doing. Anything you say to your insurance company can be used against you in the future.
  • Don’t accept the first offer you receive. Insurance companies are notorious for low balling customers as a means of putting the claim in the past as quickly as possible. You need to be aware of this.
  • Don’t sign anything. You never know what you will be asked to sign. Even if you review the document, you may still have questions. It’s best to consult with an attorney before you put your name on anything.
  • Don’t accept any money. When you accept a check that is marked as “final” it means that you are unable to receive any additional compensation in the future. Don’t do this until you are sure that you’re ready to accept a final payment.
  • Don’t let your insurance company push you around. Once you review your policy and understand the coverage, you should hold your insurer to this. You have been paying for your policy, so don’t settle for anything less.

It’s easy to make a mistake when it comes to a car insurance claim. You may find yourself in a hurry to get through the process as it’s causing a lot of stress.

Although this is a difficult time in your life, you want to be patient to ensure that you are making the right decisions. Don’t do anything that will tip the scales in favor of your insurance company.

On Behalf of

It’s summer and that means that many more vehicles will be on the roads. On top of that, you may enjoy running or walking around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, being a pedestrian has the potential to be dangerous, and it could lead you to suffer from serious injuries.

As a pedestrian, you have very few protections against a car accident. If you’re hit, your body takes the full impact. That impact can lead to internal injuries, traumatic brain injuries and other serious wounds.

The speed of impact affects your injuries

Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States. For pedestrians, the risk of death grows by the speed at which the vehicle travels. For example, if the car is traveling at less than 10 mph, it’s unlikely that the pedestrian will be killed. There is around a 0.5 percent risk. Comparatively, if the vehicle is traveling at 40 mph or higher, the risk of injuries climbs to around 54 percent.

At 16 mph, your risk of injuries is around 10 percent. At 23 mph, it’s around 25 percent. Your risk of a severe injury is 50 percent once you’re struck by someone moving at least 31 mph. At 46 mph, your risk of a severe injury climbs dramatically to 90 percent.

The vehicle type plays a role in injuries

The type of injuries you suffer also has to do with the kind of vehicle that hits you. You’re much more likely to survive being hit by a passenger vehicle than a semi-truck, for instance. The vehicles that weigh more impact you harder, and that means more serious wounds.

If you are struck by a vehicle, you deserve the best care possible. Your attorney can help you by fighting for an appropriate settlement or taking your case to court, so you can focus on recovery.

On Behalf of

In Michigan, you are required to have no-fault insurance coverage. This coverage is required to obtain your vehicle’s license plates. If you end up losing that insurance, it’s no longer legal to drive your car.

When an accident takes place and the parties have no-fault insurance, the insurance kicks in right away and begins to pay for wage loss benefits, medical expenses and damage caused to other people’s property.

What must all no-fault policies have?

It’s a requirement that all no-fault policies have Personal Injury Protection. This protection pays your medical expenses if you’re hurt in a crash. All medical expenses are covered. You’ll also receive wage-loss benefits of up to 85 percent of what you earned prior to the accident. The limit is presently $5,398 per month.

What happens to your family if you’re killed in a crash?

Your family has a right to receive wage-loss benefits of up to $5,398 for three years.

Does no-fault insurance pay for damage to your vehicle?

No. No-fault insurance doesn’t cover property damage that happens to your property. However, it does cover repairs to the other driver’s vehicle or property damage in the crash that you do not own. The other party’s no-fault insurance should cover your property damage. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, then your insurance will cover the cost of repairs for your vehicle.

No-fault insurance helps make sure you get the coverage you need as soon as possible. If your insurance coverage isn’t covering what you need or the other party did not have insurance coverage, you may run into a situation where you need to file a lawsuit. If you’re not sure which step to take next, your attorney can help.

On Behalf of

Michigan residents know that the vehicle insurance system here is the no fault system. This type of insurance is a good thing and a bad, depending on which side of an issue you are on.

Making a claim under the no fault insurance system means that you will turn to your own insurance company for benefits if a crash occurs. There are some instances in which a person might need to seek compensation for an injury that occurs during a crash. This usually occurs when the injury is catastrophic.

Who has coverage under a Michigan no fault insurance policy?

Every family member in the household at the address where the policy owner lives. This means that if you get into an accident, your own policy covers the injuries to your spouse or children. It can also cover people who don’t have no fault insurance, such as those from out of state. People who are disfigured, die or suffer a serious injury without their own no fault coverage are also covered up to specific limits.

The coverage that the no fault policy provides also extends to instances in which a family member suffers an injury in another vehicle or as a pedestrian. This is one of the good things about no fault coverage since you can count on coverage even if the accident doesn’t involve your vehicle.

What coverage limits apply to these policies?

In the case of medical bills for people in the household of the policy holder, no fault coverage pays for the lifetime medical care costs that occur because of the injury that was the result of the crash. It is also possible for you to receive compensation for lost wages. This equates to up to 85 percent of your normal pay with a maximum of $5,398 per month. There is a 3-year limit for these payments. These payments are made to your family members if you die in a crash.

When your insurance has to pay for medical care for other parties, there are limits in place. You have to review your own policy because the limits can vary. At a minimum, you must have $20,000 of coverage for a single person who suffers an injury or death during a crash. You must have a minimum of $40,000 of coverage if more than one person suffers injuries or dies.

Does a no fault policy pay for damages to my car?

A basic no fault insurance policy won’t pay for damages to your vehicle. These policies do cover damage to other people’s property because of the accident. You can purchase comprehensive and collision coverage if you want your own vehicle covered. Review your policy to determine coverage limits. At a minimum, your policy will cover up to $1 million of property damage in Michigan or up to $10,000 of property damage in another state.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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