A Metro Detroit personal injury attorney understands the fear and uncertainty that injured people often face. After a serious accident, you may feel overwhelmed by bills, pain, and the insurance company’s runaround. At Sumner & Associates, we fight on behalf of injured people and ensure that they get fair compensation.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
In Michigan, most personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence. If you are injured because someone failed to meet a duty of care, you might be eligible for damages. Personal injuries cover a wide variety of losses. While most people associate personal injuries with physical disabilities, your claim might also involve emotional and psychological trauma.
Common Types of Personal Injury Accidents
Injuries can result from a wide variety of accidents. However, some of the most common cases we see include:
- Automobile Accidents
- Liquor Liability
- Construction Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Wrongful Death
We also see cases related to bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, defective and dangerous products, and nursing home abuse. To see if your situation entitles you to financial compensation, contact a personal injury attorney at Sumner & Associates today.
Sumner & Associates, P.C. handles a multitude of cases involving automobile insurance and automobile accidents. These cases range from the more typical automobile accidents to death and catastrophic injuries, including highly complex cases involving highway design, product liability and liquor liability. Our lawyers regularly handle complex cases involving multiple defendants, including state and local governments, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and automobile manufacturers. One of our attorneys is a former Insurance Company Lawyer and has acted as arbitrators in uninsured and under-insured motorist cases.
Who Is Financially Responsible for My Automobile Accident Injuries?
A defendant is financially responsible for your injuries if he or she:
- Owes you a duty of care (for example, the duty to drive attentively and reasonably follow Michigan’s traffic laws),
- Failed to meet this duty, and
- You suffered damages due to his/her negligence.
Additionally, Michigan is a no-fault auto state. If you are involved in a car accident, your personal auto insurance policy typically covers your medical expenses, property damage, and wage loss. For more information about the complicated interplay between Michigan no-fault insurance and third party negligence, contact Sumner & Associates.
Sometimes, it’s easy to identify the defendant or responsible party (for example, when the owner of a vehicle rear-ends you). Other times, your claim might involve multiple defendants and parties. This might occur when:
- The driver was in the course of his or her employment,
- A car owner permits someone else to use his or her vehicle,
- A dangerous or defective product (such as defective airbags) contributed to your injuries, or
- A restaurant over-served alcohol to a patron.
In these situations, most injured people cannot properly identify all the negligent parties. And, any time multiple insurance companies are involved, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help you ensure that you file claims against all the relevant parties and maximize your financial recovery.
Liquor liability involves bodily injury or personal damage in which a person or business can be held responsible for:
- Causing or contributing to the intoxication of a person;
- Furnishing alcoholic beverages to a person under the legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol; or
- Violating any statute, ordinance or regulation relating to the sale, distribution or use of alcoholic beverages.
As many automobile accidents involve the use or misuse of alcohol, liquor liability holds those parties who have provided alcohol to those already intoxicated or those under the legal drinking age responsible for their actions. Sumner & Associates, P.C. has handled many cases involving liquor liability.
Accidents at construction sites can often result in serious injuries or death. Sumner & Associates, P.C. has successfully handled many of these cases, including accidents from defective or collapsing scaffolds and fall-offs or through roofing structures. Other cases include electrocutions, ladder injuries, and injuries or death from the collapse of floors and walls.
We begin our case by investigating the owners, architects, insurance companies as well as the manufacturers of equipment to determine if the proper safety regulations are followed. A Construction Management company or General Contractor is required to provide a reasonably safe workplace which requires it to warn of dangers on site, hire competent contractors and employees who will work safely and initiate, supervise and coordinate the work being performed by all contractors on site.
Construction site accidents often involve defective machinery or equipment including scaffolding, formwork, cranes, power tools, hoists, conveyors, ladders, tractors and forklifts.
Construction workers represent 7% of the work force yet account for 20% of all fatalities in industrial accidents according the US Department of Labor. One third of all fatalities result from falls from elevation. While falls represent the majority of the cases we handle we have represented workers injured from collapse of formwork, scaffolding and other structures, electrical injuries, and cases where workers are “struck by” objects causing serious injury.
At Sumner & Associates, P.C. we have represented numerous construction workers over the years. Attorney Scott Sumner, J.D., has a degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University and has experience in the Construction Industry and we have committed to doing whatever needs to be done to secure justice for our clients. We have not only achieved the best result possible but have insisted that employers correct unsafe practices to prevent needless pain and suffering.
A number of our medical malpractice cases have dealt with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a muscle control disorder that occurs when the part of the brain known as the cerebrum is damaged. Patients with cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling their movements and may have visual, auditory, and speech impairments as well as learning disabilities. Motor skills are limited, and seizures can occur in some cases. Cerebral palsy usually occurs around the time of birth and can be caused by medical malpractice. In some cases, a doctor may not recognize problems that can occur during labor or may fail to quickly and appropriately respond once a problem is identified. If the doctor’s negligent actions lead to a brain injury that causes cerebral palsy, he or she may be guilty of medical malpractice.
We also represent victims of other birth injuries, including Erb’s palsy, usually the result of shoulder dystocia and brain damage. When the physician fails to act appropriately during a birth trauma situation, he or she may be guilty of medical negligence. Because the results of birth injuries are often devastating to families both emotionally and financially, the law seeks to protect victims.
Unfortunately, medical negligence can sometimes result in the death of a baby. If a doctor does not take the necessary steps to save an infant’s life, we prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Every child deserves a chance, and there is no excuse for negligence or malpractice that takes your child’s life.
Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis of Cancer
Unfortunately, medical negligence can sometimes result in the misdiagnosis of Cancer and other serious and deadly diseases. If a doctor does not take the necessary steps to ensure your diagnosis and get fast action to save a life, we prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Every person should have an accurate diagnosis and deserves a chance, and there is no excuse for negligence or malpractice that takes or almost takes a life, which could have been avoided.
Losing a loved one is by far one of life’s more difficult experiences. When that death is a result of someone’s negligent or wrongful behavior, pain is often more overwhelming. A drunk driver who kills a pedestrian, a surgeon whose negligence costs a patient their life, a manufacturer who fails to check his product’s safety leads to a consumer death – these are just a few examples of wrongful death cases.
Slips and Falls
Sumner & Associates, P.C. has successfully handled many slip and fall cases, some involving catastrophic injuries and death. Sumner & Associates, P.C., has experience in cases that involve steps, tile floors, wood floors, sidewalks and other surfaces. When needed, we employ forensic experts, such as engineers, who can establish coefficients of friction for various surfaces, as well as an analysis of conditions arising from design inadequacies or the failure to adhere to applicable building codes.
A slip and fall is a generic term for an injury that occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting or even a hidden hazard such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground.
Property owners are responsible for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property, which the owner knew about, or should have known about. These conditions may be obvious, such as ice or snow on a sidewalk, or hidden, such as a hole in a lawn that may be obscured by grass. In general, an owner will be considered to have knowledge of a dangerous or hazardous condition if it is permanent in nature, since the owner knew, or should have known, about the condition before the incident occurs. In cases of temporary conditions, such as a liquid spill, the extent of time that the condition existed before the incident actually occurred has legal significance. If the spill occurred just before the incident, a property owner may not be liable, since the owner could not have known about the spill before the slip and fall occurred. However, if the spill was present for some period of time before the incident, or occurs in an area subject to frequent spills, then the owner may be liable; even if they were unaware the spill had occurred.
Depending upon the jurisdiction and facts of your slip and fall case, the following damages MAY BE recoverable:
- Medical bills and expenses incurred as a result of the incident;
- Lost income for time from work to recovery;
- Compensation for pain and suffering as a result of the incident; and
- General damages
What Damages or Compensation Can I Receive for My Injuries?
Damages are a vital part of any negligence or personal injury claim. You must show exactly how the accident or negligent act injured you and your family. Depending on the nature of your claim, your damages might include:
- Lost wages and lost wage earning capacity,
- Medical bills, including the cost of your medical treatment, medications, and medical devices (such as crutches, wheelchairs, and ramps),
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Loss of enjoyment.
However, in certain types of claims, such as medical malpractice cases, Michigan law caps your non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering).
When you work with a skilled personal injury attorney, your lawyer will ensure that your damages are properly developed and computed. Sometimes, this requires the use of expert witnesses, such as doctors, psychologists, and vocational experts. If you have questions about the extent and value of your damages, contact Sumner & Associates for a free consultation.
The Insurance Company Offered a Settlement. Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Many times, insurance companies encouraged injured people to settle their claims without the help of a personal injury attorney. However, you have to remember that insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They are not looking out for your best interests and are more concerned about their financial bottom line. Because of this mentality, they often low-ball their settlement offers from the start.
Your personal injury attorney is on your side and will make sure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. And, studies show that hiring a personal injury lawyer will typically increase the value of your case. Lawyers add value by:
- Identifying all the possible defendants,
- Crafting legal arguments in support of your personal injury claim,
- Compiling all the necessary evidence,
- Hiring expert witnesses,
- Taking sworn testimony and cross-examining witnesses,
- Computing and quantifying your damages,
- Negotiating with the insurance companies,
- Presenting your claim to the judge and jury, and
- Providing emotional support during a difficult time.
If you have questions about a settlement, contact Sumner & Associates. We will help you evaluate the insurance company’s settlement offer and assess your claim’s actual value.
You should contact a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after an accident. Michigan has varying personal injury statutes of limitations (typically between one to three years). If you do not properly file a claim or lawsuit within these deadlines, you lose your right to compensation.
Discuss Your Claim with a Personal Injury Attorney
Speaking with a personal injury attorney is the first step towards a fair and reasonable settlement of your claim. At Sumner & Associates, we value our clients and tirelessly fight for their rights. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim.