Car accidents are alarmingly common in Michigan. Data from the Office of Highway Safety Planning shows that in 2021, around 282,640 car accidents were reported in Michigan – resulting in 1,131 deaths and 71,246 injuries.
The worst part is that driver error is cited as the primary cause of a vast majority of these accidents. When people fail to follow the rules of the road and drive irresponsibly, accidents are inevitable.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents in Michigan
Speeding is by far the most common cause of car accidents in Michigan. In 2021, around 24,721 speeding-related car accidents were reported in Michigan – accounting for approximately 9% of all motor vehicle accidents. Excessive speed was the biggest contributing factor in more than 200 fatal accidents.
Exceeding the speed limit by just 5 mph can increase the risk of accidents significantly. One of the biggest risks associated with speeding is that the greater the speed, the longer the distance needed for the vehicle to come to a stop. Moreover, driving too fast can also make it harder to control the vehicle, which in turn can increase the risk of accidents to a great extent.
Above all, data shows that the risk of fatalities and serious injuries is considerably higher in high-speed collisions compared to low-speed collisions.
Taking your eyes off the road while driving can be a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, many people seriously underestimate the risks associated with distracted driving. They mistakenly assume that taking their eyes off the road for a second or two can do no harm, as long as they are driving the speed limit. It is simply not true. Just three seconds of distraction on the driver’s part is all it takes for an accident to happen.
Texting, in particular, can be a deadly distraction, as it can cause you to take your eyes off the road for as much as 5 seconds. If you are driving at 55 mph, 5 seconds is all you would need to drive across the length of an entire football field.
The most common types of distractions that can increase the risk of accidents include:
- Talking on the phone
- Adjusting the stereo, entertainment system, or navigation system
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers – especially those in the back
- Reaching for an object under the seat
Driving under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs can be extremely dangerous, as it can put you and everyone else on the road at significant risk. Alcohol and marijuana are known to slow reflexes, coordination, and reaction time, which can make it harder to control the vehicle and take evasive action in the event of an emergency.
Cocaine and methamphetamine, on the other hand, can stimulate the brain, make you feel euphoric, cause you to drive aggressively, and encourage you to take risks you otherwise would not. Data shows that in 2021, alcohol-related accidents accounted for over 30% of fatal accidents in Michigan.
Data also reveals that the risk of fatalities in alcohol-related accidents is 8.6 times higher compared to accidents caused by other factors. Similarly, the risk of serious injuries in alcohol-related accidents is 5.3 times higher compared to accidents caused by other factors.
When you are fatigued due to not getting a sufficient amount of rest, you might not be able to notice and react to situations on the road. Lack of sleep is associated with slowed reflexes, delayed reaction time, and lack of concentration – all of which can significantly increase the risk of accidents.
There are many reasons why a person might be sleep deprived – from long shifts at work to taking care of a newborn baby, partying late at night, having medical conditions, and more. Whatever the reason might be, it is not advisable to drive when you feel tired and sleepy.
People who are sleep deprived are at risk of falling into what is called microsleep – which can last anywhere from 1 or 2 seconds to 30 seconds. Needless to say, if a driver falls asleep at the wheel – even for a second or two – the results can be catastrophic.
Running Red Lights
Running a red light is one of the leading causes of accidents that result in fatalities and serious injuries – especially since these accidents almost always happen at high speeds.
In a majority of cases, drivers who are in a hurry to get somewhere are the ones who tend to run red lights. They often speed up when they approach a yellow light and try to rush through before it turns red. When they run the light, the risk of colliding with an oncoming vehicle is extremely high.
Distracted drivers are also at risk of running red lights, as they might fail to notice the traffic light change and continue through the intersection.
Running Stop Signs
Drivers tend to run stop signs often for the same reason they run red lights – impatience. Many people believe that when they are in a hurry, there is no harm in bending the rules of the road a little. The fact is that there can be no excuse for running a red light or a stop sign, as it can put lives at risk.
Tailgating is the single biggest cause of rear-end accidents in the country. When you follow the vehicle in front of you too closely, you might not have sufficient time to react if the other vehicle suddenly comes to a stop. In many cases, people tend to tailgate because they are impatient and want to push the vehicle before them to drive faster. In some cases, people tend to tailgate because they underestimate their vehicle’s stopping distance.
Drivers are required to follow the two-second rule, which dictates that you should always be at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. The faster you drive, the more distance you need to maintain from the vehicle in front of you. More importantly, under bad weather conditions, it is advisable to double the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Unfortunately, many drivers tend to discard these rules and drive dangerously close to the vehicles in front of them, which is the reason why rear-end accidents are so common in the country.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Car accidents can happen as a result of dangerous road conditions. A defective or dangerous road condition can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash into a stationary object, veer into another lane of traffic, or collide with another vehicle – all of which can result in serious injuries.
The most common defective road conditions that can lead to an accident include:
- Large potholes
- Uneven road surface
- Shoulder drop-off
- Slick roads
Inclement Weather Conditions
Driving under adverse weather conditions can be a difficult task even for highly skilled and experienced drivers. If the road surface is filled with snow or black ice, you can easily lose tire traction if you are not careful. Similarly, driving in rain can also be difficult, as rain can not only make the road surface slippery, but also affect visibility, which can make it harder for you to see other vehicles.
Mechanical defects can lead to vehicular malfunction, which in turn can result in serious accidents. An auto part can be considered defective if it meets the following criteria.
- If it is unreasonably dangerous due to a defect in its design.
- If it is made of substandard materials.
- If it was designed properly but was manufactured incorrectly.
What makes defective parts so dangerous is that no amount of skill on the driver’s part can compensate for what is essentially a mechanical problem. If the steering, suspension, brakes, or any other part of the vehicle fails while you are driving, you might lose control and crash into another vehicle or a stationary object.
The Risk of Car Accidents Among Drivers from Different Age Groups
While any person – regardless of their age or gender – can cause an accident due to their negligence, data shows that the risk is particularly high among older drivers and teenage drivers.
Data shows that in 2021, teenage drivers represented about 7% of the driving population in Michigan, but accounted for 10% of fatal crashes and almost 15% of crashes that resulted in injuries.
There are several reasons why a teenage driver is more likely to cause an accident compared to drivers from other age groups. These include:
- Their young age makes them more likely to speed, tailgate, and run red lights.
- They are more likely to drink and drive. It’s one of the reasons why accidents involving teenage drivers are more common during weekends.
- They are more likely to be distracted while driving – thanks largely to cell phone use.
- They are more likely to misjudge or underestimate the gravity of a dangerous situation on the road compared to adults.
- They are more likely to take unnecessary risks and engage in dangerous behaviors while driving compared to adults.
Data shows that in 2021, older drivers (those who are 65 or older) constituted about 23% of the driving population in Michigan, but accounted for 30% of fatal accidents and 12% of accidents that resulted in injuries.
There are several reasons why older drivers are often involved in accidents. These include:
- They are less likely to notice obstructions and oncoming vehicles compared to young drivers – largely due to vision problems and hearing problems. It can be a problem particularly when an older person chooses to drive early in the morning or at night – when it might be hard for them to see.
- They are more likely to be on medications, which can make them drowsy.
- They are more likely to misjudge the distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them or an oncoming vehicle.
- They are more likely to drive too far below the speed limit, which can be risky in its own way.
- They are more likely to drive the wrong way, fail to yield the right of way to other motorists, and make improper lane changes.
- They are prone to braking suddenly, which can increase the likelihood of rear-end accidents.
- Owing to their age and health condition, the reflexes and reaction time of an older driver is likely to be considerably slower compared to a younger driver, which can make it harder for them to react and take evasive action if and when needed.
Types of Injuries in Car Accidents
When a car accident happens, injuries are unavoidable for the most part. The severity of the injuries you might sustain in an accident depends on a wide range of factors including:
- Whether it was a high-speed collision or a low-speed collision.
- Whether it was a head-on accident, T-bone accident, sideswipe accident, rollover accident, or a single-vehicle crash.
- Whether or not you were buckled up at the time of the accident.
- Your age.
- Overall health condition.
The most common types of injuries you might sustain in a car accident include:
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic amputation resulting in limb loss
- Burn injuries
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Back injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Apart from this, you might also develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – which can severely impact your mental health and make it harder for you to lead a normal life. You might experience a wide range of symptoms including:
- Tendency to avoid driving or riding in a car
- Repeated flashbacks of the accident
- Recurring nightmares about being involved in an accident
Damages You Can Recover in a Michigan Car Accident Claim
If you are injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you have the right to sue them and recover compensatory damages. Under Michigan law, car accident victims have the right to recover economic losses (quantifiable losses) as well as non-economic losses (non-quantifiable losses).
- Medical bills (including the cost of surgery, emergency room charges, diagnostic procedures, lab tests, physician’s charges, pain management, prescription medications, and more)
- Estimated cost of the treatment you might require in the future (if your injuries are serious in nature and if you fail to fully recover or achieve maximum medical improvement by the time your claim is resolved)
- Rehabilitation expenses (cost of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy)
- Cost of assistive devices like crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and prosthetics
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Permanent or significant disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
How a Southfield, MI Accident Attorney Can Help You
An accomplished and dependable Southfield car accident lawyer can represent you, protect your rights as a car accident victim, and take steps to recover the damages you are owed from the at-fault party, like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The steps your car accident lawyer might take include:
- Investigating your accident and working with accident reconstruction experts if needed to determine how it happened, what caused it, and who can be held responsible.
- Collecting the evidence needed to establish the fault and liability of the negligent driver – as well as other parties.
- Making sure you get the treatment and care you need by requesting that healthcare providers treat you on a lien without charging you right away.
- Calculating the value of your claim based on the severity of your injuries, your medical expenses, the amount of earnings you have lost, the amount of earnings, bonuses, and other perks you stand to lose in the future, and several other factors.
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement.
A dedicated and resourceful Southfield car accident attorney will most likely be able to get you full and fair compensation through negotiation. If the at-fault party’s auto insurance company refuses to pay you what you are owed, your attorney will take your case to trial, argue before a jury or judge, and recover the damages you are owed.
Our Capable and Resourceful Southfield Car Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Fight For You
If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s fault, you have every right to sue them and recover every dollar you are owed. At The Lobb Law Firm, we have a team of highly skilled Southfield car accident lawyers who are committed to providing effective and personalized legal representation.
We have the necessary skills and resources to handle every aspect of car accident claims. Our lawyers know how to negotiate with the insurance company to get you the compensation you need and deserve. We also have extensive experience in personal injury litigation and are prepared to take your case to trial if the insurance company is unwilling to pay what you are entitled to receive. Call our personal injury law firm today at 248-591-4090 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our trusted Michigan car accident attorneys.