Kalamazoo Car Accident Lawyer


Personal Injury Results







Car Crash Attorney in Kalamazoo County

Pundits promised fewer car crashes would be a “silver lining” of the dark coronavirus lockdown cloud. But instead of decreasing, the number of fatal car wrecks hit a fourteen-year high in 2020, and the figure has kept going up. Drivers developed bad habits during the pandemic, such as excessive speeding and drunk driving. As is often the case, these bad habits have proven easy to form and hard to break.

If excessive speed, drunk driving, or another kind of negligence causes injury, the dedicated Kalamazoo car accident lawyers at Goodman Acker can obtain the compensation these victims need and deserve, so they can move forward with their lives. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Unfortunately, a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer does not have a magic wand that makes compensation appear out of nowhere. Instead, as outlined below, the path is often long and winding.

Why Partner with A Kalamazoo Car Accident Lawyer

The first step on this journey is deciding that the road is worth traveling. Many victims don’t want to “blame” someone for an “accident.” That’s especially true if a private or government-sponsored health insurance plan pays most or all of their medical bills.

Criminal courts blame people when they break laws. Civil courts compel tortfeasors (negligent drivers) to accept responsibility for their mistakes. We all make mistakes, and we must all face the music. If Ben runs over his neighbor’s mailbox, he should pay compensation by replacing the mailbox. If Ben runs over his neighbor, he should pay compensation as outlined above.

In a perfect world, people would step forward on their own and accept responsibility in such matters. But we don’t live in a perfect world, which is why a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer must get involved.

Additionally, car crashes usually are not “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They do not accidentally speed excessively or drive drunk and cause crashes. These incidents usually are not malicious, but they are certainly not accidents.

Finally, if an insurance company pays for Ben’s crash, we pick up the tab, in the form of higher insurance premiums or taxes. This point goes back to responsibility. If Ben makes a mess in the living room, Ben, and no one else, should clean it up.

Why Choose Us?

As outlined below, car crash claims are extremely complex. Some lawyers lose heart when the road gets long and bumpy. They look for an easy way out or a fast settlement when that happens. Your personal injury claim is far too valuable to be treated that way. To ensure that doesn’t happen, your Kalamazoo car accident attorney needs the following qualities:

  • Accessibility: This word may not be the first word you think of when you think about a Kalamazoo car accident attorney. But it’s a very important quality. Your lawyer should be accessible. S/he should be available to address your concerns and s/he should assume primary responsibility for all the work done in your case.
  • Dedication: Personal injury claims are not simply about getting money. Fundamentally, a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer’s job is to hold tortfeasors responsible for the wrecks they cause. Attorneys who do not understand this principle, or are not fully committed to it, should not represent accident victims.
  • Experience: Years of experience is useful, but this measurement is also deceptive. Many lawyers, including many Kalamazoo car accident lawyers, practice law for years but rarely see the inside of a courtroom. True, most car crash claims settle out of court, so negotiating skills are just as important as advocacy skills. But if your lawyer lacks trial experience, that is not a good sign.

At Goodman Acker, our attorneys check all these boxes. Our firm is large and has significant resources. But we never over-delegate work to less-experienced associates or non-attorney legal assistants. Our practice focuses on personal injury law. When you only do one thing, you’d better do it well. Finally, our attorneys have decades of experience inside and outside a courtroom.

Our approach to a car crash claim works. Our results speak for themselves. We’re confident that our proven methods in these cases will produce the same results for your claim.

What to Expect in A Car Crash Claim

Every personal injury case is different, but most of them follow the same general outline. When victims know roughly what to expect, they can make better decisions for themselves and their families.

Some car accident cases are not “cases” at all. Instead, they settle before a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer files a legal claim. These fast settlements are often in a client’s best interests if liability, damages, and other key issues are crystal clear.

Liability is a legal responsibility for injury. Typically, tortfeasors are liable for damages if they were negligent. Usually, negligence is a lack of ordinary care. The duty of care requires motorists to be at their best before they get behind the wheel and always drive defensively. Behaviors like impaired driving (alcohol intoxication) and aggressive driving (speeding) clearly violate this duty.

Other kinds of aggressive driving include tailgating, turning unsafely, and ignoring traffic signals. Other kinds of impaired driving include fatigue, drug use, and distraction. Some form of aggressive and/or impaired driving causes about 98 percent of vehicle collisions in Michigan.

Contributory negligence is probably the most common insurance company defense in car crash claims. This doctrine shifts blame for an injury from the tortfeasor to the victim. For example, if the victim was speeding and the tortfeasor was drunk, an insurance company lawyer might claim that the victim substantially caused the wreck.

Damages are the amount of compensation in a car crash claim. Disputes are common in this area as well. Assume Abdul sustains a permanent brain injury in a car crash. But since he didn’t “feel” hurt, he did not immediately see a doctor. The insurance company might argue that the delayed treatment means Abdul’s injury was not too severe and he is not entitled to much compensation.

Incidentally, delayed treatment is very common in car crash cases. Adrenaline masks pain. Remember that only a lawyer can properly evaluate your case, and only a doctor can tell how badly you were hurt.

Because of such disputes, a Kalamazoo car accident lawyer must normally file legal paperwork. This move pressures the insurance company into a settlement. It also begins the legal process, which includes discovery.

During discovery, both sides must lay all their cards face-up on the table, regarding their claims and defenses. So, after discovery, both sides clearly know what a case is financially worth.

Mediation is usually the final stage in a car crash claim. A third-party mediator meets with both sides and ensures they negotiate in good faith. They cannot simply go through the motions, and they must be willing to make some compromises. Because of the duty to negotiate in good faith, and the trial date is near, mediation is about 90 percent successful in Michigan.

Kalamazoo Car Accidents FAQs

Goodman Acker is more than a law firm that represents victims. We are also a resource center for the questions these victims have.

This a-word is misleading. Most car crashes are not unavoidable and inevitable accidents. Instead, driver error causes almost all car crashes in Michigan. Speeding, tailgating, and other forms of aggressive driving cause many car crashes. Alcohol, fatigue, and other kinds of driver impairment cause most of the rest. A few crashes are truly “accidents,” in that they were caused by something completely beyond a driver’s control. Sudden extreme weather, like unpredicted flash floods and earthquakes, causes a few car crashes. Defective products, mostly defective tires, cause a few others.

Basically, fault is like the halftime score, and liability is like the final score. Insurance adjusters and first responders use the facts immediately available at the scene to determine fault. A Kalamazoo car accident lawyer uses all the facts in the case and any applicable legal doctrines, to determine liability. Much like the final score is the only one that counts in a football game, a liability determination is the only one that counts in a personal injury case. So, even if an investigator says you were at fault for a wreck, always ask a lawyer to evaluate your case. You simply don’t know how much compensation you may be entitled to unless you ask.

Yes and no. Many car wreck injuries, like broken bones, mostly heal. If Alice breaks her ankle in a car wreck, she may permanently lose strength and/or range of motion in that joint, even after the bone heals. Other car crash injuries, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are permanent. However, doctors and therapists join forces to make the symptoms manageable.

Michigan’s comparative fault law applies in these situations. Michigan is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. A plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced by the percentage of loss attributable to that party. At 51 percent fault, the plaintiff’s economic damages are reduced, and noneconomic damages are barred.

In general, it’s a mistake to take the first settlement offer. Insurance companies usually make “low-ball” offers. During lengthy negotiations, the two sides agree on a reasonable settlement. Frequently, the judge appoints a professional mediator to jumpstart and supervise these negotiations.

These may not be your only questions; our attorneys will discuss your specific concerns in your initial consult.

Contact A Hard-Working Attorney

Substantial compensation is available for injury victims, but insurance company lawyers do not simply give this money away. The experienced Kalamazoo car accident lawyers at Goodman Acker, P.C. advocate for you every step of the way.

To get a free case evaluation, go online now or call us at 248-286-8100.

Attorney Barry Goodman


Barry J. Goodman has devoted his professional life to keeping courthouse doors open for victims seeking justice. Always a tireless advocate for his own clients, Goodman sees his responsibility as a Detroit personal injury attorney in a broader sense as well. [ Attorney Bio ]


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