Talking About Family Court Proceedings

Injured After An Accident Involving Michigan's New Higher Speed Limits? What Are Your Options?

Drivers traveling through Michigan may find the flow of traffic quicker than they remember because of recently-approved changes to the speed limit laws, raising the potential speed limit on the state's freeways to 75 miles per hour and the highway speed limits to a maximum of 65 miles per hour. Unfortunately, although this raised speed limit can allow individual commuters to get from one point to the other more quickly without risking an expensive speeding ticket, speed can kill -- in fact, raising the speed limit from 55 to 65 miles per hour has been shown to increase traffic fatalities by nearly 30 percent. Read on to learn more about your legal options if you're injured in a high-speed accident shortly after the new speed limit laws have taken effect. 

How could higher speed limits affect liability in an accident?

When you're injured in an accident that isn't your fault, the at-fault driver has legal responsibility for your medical expenses, property damage (like damage to your car), and even general "pain and suffering" expenses. These are usually paid by the at-fault driver's insurance company, but the compensation for damages can also be obtained through a civil lawsuit and personal injury judgment if you're unhappy with the settlement amount being offered. In most cases, being able to show that the at-fault driver was breaking the law at the time of the accident -- whether speeding, texting while driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs -- can go a long way both toward proving negligence in your personal injury case and being awarded a more significant sum if you choose to take the matter to trial.

The prospective increase in the speed limit will not only make accidents (including accidents resulting in serious injury or death) more likely, but it will make it harder for injured plaintiffs to demonstrate negligence if the driver -- who would have been illegally speeding prior to December 2016 -- was traveling at or below the newly-increased speed limit at the time of the accident. The at-fault driver may maintain that he or she was traveling at an appropriate speed and cite the increase in the speed limit as evidence that lawmakers believed drivers to be capable of safely traveling at up to 65 (or 75) miles per hour without incident.

What can you do to maintain your rights if you feel the at-fault driver was traveling too quickly at the time of the accident? 

Although the increase in the speed limit may make it harder to demonstrate per se negligence based on the speed limit alone, you may still be able to show that the defendant was traveling too fast for the conditions or circumstances. If it's raining, snowing, foggy, or otherwise inclement outdoors; if a driver is traveling west at sunset or east at sunrise and the glare makes it difficult to see; or if a driver with poor night vision is traveling through a new part of town at night, driving well under the speed limit may still be dangerously fast. An attorney can help you examine the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine whether (and how much) speed was a factor and what your strongest arguments in favor of negligence may be.

Pulling cell phone records, viewing surveillance or traffic camera footage, and even enlisting an accident reconstruction team could provide you with the physical or visual evidence you need to prove that the defendant's negligent conduct directly caused your injury. If you're choosing to go beyond the scope of the defendant's insurance policy, it's important to obtain legal counsel early to ensure your rights are fully protected throughout the process. Contact a lawyer in your area, such as Carl L. Britt, Jr., for more information.

About Me

Talking About Family Court Proceedings

Hello, my name is Bridget Waller. Welcome to my site about family court proceedings. My involvement in family court was not a welcome one. Despite the difficulties experienced during that time, I focused on building my knowledge about family court proceedings rather than let the process bring me down. I created this site to share my knowledge with you all, in hopes that I can help others navigate family court proceedings with ease. I will explore every phase of the court process in great detail to help others better understand the proceedings. Please come by my site regularly to learn more. Thanks.