FAQ's

An accident or injury isn’t something you deal with every day. The Attorneys at Giroux Amburn can help you with the questions you face regarding your legal rights or personal injury case. Click on the links below to get answers to legal questions we hear often or to speak directly to an attorney about your case call 248.717.2008. 



 

PERSONAL INJURY

What type of injuries qualify for a personal injury case?

Personal injury lawsuits may be brought for any type of bodily injury suffered because of another’s actions. Personal injury lawsuits may also cover mental injuries suffered because of the physical injury, such as emotional distress.  

What is the value of my case?

Determining the worth of your personal injury claim will depend on the severity of your injuries, the details of the case, and insurance limits. A case’s worth is based on five areas, if the liability issue is straightforward. These areas include past and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity and pain and suffering.

How long will my personal injury lawsuit take to resolve?

No general timetable can be established for personal injury cases. A personal injury lawsuit may settle in a few months without the need for a trial, while others can take years to complete.    

How much does a civil lawyer cost?

Giroux Amburn employs a contingency fee contract. This means that we will only collect if the case is successful.

When should I file a lawsuit?

You should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. Injury victims only have a short period of time to file a claim. Failure to file within this period, known as the statute of limitations, can bar the victim from ever recovering compensation for their injuries.

What is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Michigan?

The relevant statute of limitations depends on the source of the personal injury. Assault and battery claims have a two year statute of limitations. Negligence claims have a three year statute of limitations.

What is a negligence claim?

To have a viable personal injury claim, the victim must have been injured from the negligence of another individual or entity. Negligence occurs when an individual fails to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others. If a person fails to act as a reasonable person would, he or she may be liable for any resulting damages.

What should I do if I’m contacted by an insurance company regarding my injury?

Giroux Amburn recommends that you do not discuss the details of your injury or the way in which you were injured until you have first consulted with an attorney. Any documents you sign or settlements you agree to prior to speaking with an attorney could affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injury.

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AUTO ACCIDENT

Who covers my medical expenses if I am uninsured?

Your health insurance company covers your medical expenses if you don’t have auto insurance. 

What does it mean if the driver that hit me has no fault insurance? Can I sue him?

Michigan is a no fault state. In no fault states, you must look to your own insurance company for no fault benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. No fault benefits include wage loss, payment of medical bills, and replacement services.  Your insurance company may subrogate the claim by filing a claim against the other driver to recover the money paid out to you. 

I was injured but the accident was my fault. Do I have a case?

If you believe the accident was your fault, you should still consult an attorney, as there can be many causes for an accident. You should not admit fault for an accident until a full investigation has been conducted. Generally, your health insurance company will cover the cost of treatment for injuries sustained in the accident. Sometimes, you can then seek reimbursement from your car insurance company as part of the settlement. 

I was hit by an uninsured driver. Will I be able to recover?

If you are involved in an accident with an individual who doesn’t have insurance, you will likely have to collect from your own insurance company. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may also help to supplement damages caused by a driver with no or low insurance coverage.

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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

If my relative is the injured party, can I file the lawsuit?

You can only file a medical malpractice claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case. 

What medical records should I ask for if I think I have a lawsuit?

Your personal injury attorney will better advise you of what medical records to ask for specifically, but as a general rule, you should ask for any and all medical records available. 

What is the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case?

For adults, two years from the date of the medical malpractice or six months from the date of discovery. For minors eight years of age or older, two years. For minors under eight years of age, a claim may be filed up until the minor’s tenth birthday. 

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is negligence by a healthcare professional or provider where the treatment provided was substandard and resulted in harm, injury, or death. A violation of the standard of care is medical malpractice.

What is the standard of care in healthcare?

The standard of care in healthcare is generally defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled healthcare professional, with a similar educational and training background, and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the malpractice. 

Has Michigan put limits on medical malpractice awards?

Michigan has placed low and high cap limits on medical malpractice awards. The low cap limit is $445,500 and applies to any medical malpractice claim outside the high cap exception. The high cap exceptions are (1) sterility; (2) paralysis; and (3) brain injury. The high cap is $795,500.

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TRUCKING ACCIDENT

Is my employer responsible for my medical expenses if I am hurt while driving a company vehicle?

Worker’s compensation covers an employee injured while driving a company vehicle within the scope of his employment. This coverage can include reimbursement for medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and some lost wages. However, worker’s compensation does not pay for pain and suffering.  A pain and suffering claim should, in most cases, be available against the person responsible for the accident.


Does worker’s compensation help pay my expenses while I am off work?

Worker’s compensation pays hospital and medical expenses related to the injury, but may also provide disability payments while you’re off work. These payments are typically commensurate to a percentage of your regular salary. Worker’s compensation may also pay for rehabilitation and retraining.

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CONSTRUCTOIN ACCIDENT

How do I know if I have a case?

If you have suffered an injury on a job site and the party responsible acted negligently in failing to secure and maintain the site, you may have a case. It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine whether the responsible party breached their duty and resulted in your injury. 

Should I discuss my injuries with my supervisor of my company?

If you intend to collect worker’s compensation, you must discuss your injuries with the supervisor of your company. Your company will be unable to evaluate and initiate your claim if you fail to inform them of the injury. 

Another supplier caused my injury. Who is liable?

If another supplier caused your injury, you may have a product liability claim, or a direct claim against the responsible person. Under product liability law, the manufacturer or supplier can be held liable for the defective product. You may pursue first (against your company) and third party (against the supplier) claims if you have been injured. Because of joint and several liability, you can ask the court to determine which party is responsible for the injury, and to what extent. 

Will worker’s compensation be enough to cover my medical expenses?

Worker’s compensation coverage must cover the full cost of medical expenses incurred due to the injury. 

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CRIMINAL DEFENSE

What should I do if I’m under investigation, but have not yet been charged?

If you have not yet been charged, but are under investigation or have concerns you may soon be, it is beneficial to hire an attorney. Your attorney can accompany you to any meetings with police, and often advocate on your behalf to the investigating agency. 

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

A misdemeanor is punishable by less than a year in prison, often 93 days. A felony is punishable by one or more years in prison. Misdemeanor offenses are traditionally considered to be less serious than felonies.  

I was arrested and then released. What should I do now?

If you have been arrested, it is imperative you contact an attorney to begin advocating on your behalf. Your attorney can contact the arresting agency and learn of any forthcoming charges, as well as negotiate with the prosecuting agency to achieve the best resolution possible.

Who can see my criminal record?

Some criminal records are considered public, while others are private. Generally, government agencies can access all records, public and private, related to your criminal history. Organizations unaffiliated with the government, such as private companies, typically must ask for your consent to access private criminal records. Sex crime records can be accessed by the public.

What is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement? 

A dismissal occurs when a prosecutor drops your case and dismiss charges pending against you. Dismissals typically occur after the investigating office reviews the charges and concludes there is insufficient evidence to justify pursuing the charges. Other times, prosecutors will dismiss charges in exchange for alternative punishments, such as community service. An expungement occurs when your case is erased. Any and all court records relating to your prior conviction are destroyed, and you have effectively never been charged with or convicted of any crimes. 

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is an alternative to incarceration, while parole follows and cuts short the amount of time spent in prison. Probation effectively suspends jail/prison time, so long as specific terms are followed. Parole allows individuals to complete their sentence outside of a correctional facility after serving a satisfactory portion of their sentence.

How much does a criminal lawyer cost?

Giroux Amburn employs an hourly rate for criminal matters. 

What are the effects of a criminal conviction?

Criminal convictions can have a severe impact on your life. A conviction will appear during a background check and any employment or educational applications may be denied. Current employers can terminate you for failing to disclose past convictions. You could be denied housing or federal financial aid, depending on the nature of your conviction. Convictions can also affect your custody arrangements or immigration status. 

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COMMERCIAL LITIGATION

What are common commercial litigation claims?

“Commercial litigation” refers to legal disputes between businesses and/or individual people involved in the transaction of business. Common commercial litigation claims include contract litigation, employment disputes, anti-trust litigation, libel and slander claims, secure transactions, merger and acquisition litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. 

What is the statute of limitations for commercial claims?

The statute of limitations for commercial claims varies by the specific claim. For example, libel and slander claims have a one year statute of limitations, while breach of contract claims have a six year statute of limitations.

What is white collar crime?

“White collar crime” refers to non-violent, financially motivated crimes, often committed by government employees and business professionals. Common examples of white collar crime include money laundering, fraud, and securities violations. 

What is a non-compete clause?

A non-compete clause is a contractually enacted clause under which one party (often the employee) agrees not to enter into a similar profession or trade, or be employed by a similar corporation, in competition against another party (often the employer), for a specific period of time. 

What is a breach of contract claim?

A breach of contract claim is brought when a binding agreement is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract. This can occur by non-performance, part performance, or interference with the other party’s performance.

Why should my business have an attorney?

Commercial litigation covers a variety of claims, both civil and criminal, and can therefore be very complex. A commercial litigation attorney can assist your business in the prevention and resolution of any claims. 

What is alternative dispute resolution? 

“Alternative dispute resolution” refers to the use of methods to resolve a dispute without litigation or without proceeding to trial. The most common methods of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and arbitration. 

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

Mediation is a negotiated process with the assistance of a neutral third party. The third party does not weigh evidence or issue an opinion, but attempts to facilitate discussion and an eventual resolution.  Arbitration is a less formal version of litigation, employing testimony and the admission of evidence. Arbitration is conducted before a panel of a sole arbitrator or multiple arbitrators who take on the role of judges, weighing evidence and issuing opinions. Mediation in typically considered non-binding, while arbitration is binding. 

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CIVIL RIGHTS

What are my civil rights?

Generally speaking, your civil rights are those enumerated under the US Constitution and legislative acts. Civil rights are typically those considered to be related to an individual’s political and social freedom and equality.  These rights range from your right to free speech to your right to an attorney. 

What rights do I have if I’ve been arrested?

The most important rights to consider if you’ve been arrested or picked up by police are the right to an attorney, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the right not to be unlawfully detained. You can always refuse to answer questions and request an attorney. If you have not been formally placed under arrest, you have the right to leave police custody. If you’ve been placed under arrest, the police have a certain amount of time they can hold you without formally filing charges. Even after you have been formally charged, you have the right to request a non-punitive bail, which can be granted or denied at the judge’s discretion. 

What is the statute of limitations for a civil rights claim?

Depending on the claims alleged, civil rights violations have varying statutes of limitations under state law. Federal courts typically apply the laws of the forum state in assessing the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should speak to a lawyer immediately. 

What are common types of civil rights claims?

Technically, a civil rights claim can be any act that in some way has infringed upon an individual’s autonomy.  The most common types of civil rights claims involve abuse by government actors, such as police brutality or misconduct, or agencies, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination.

I believe my rights have been violated by the government or one of its officers. Do I have a claim?

Government actors and officers are protected by governmental and qualified immunity that bars claims. However, if it can be proven that the government or its officer acted with gross indifference or acted in a way that serves as an exception to their governmental immunity, you can pursue a claim. 

What is a 1983 complaint?

The most common type of civil rights claim is a federal 1983 claim. 1983 claims are those raised under 42 USC 1983, which governs the actions of governmental agents, like police officers. 1983 claims are often asserted when an individual has been assaulted by a police officer, a government funded institution commits a tort, or an individual suffers an injury or death while incarcerated.

Can I file a civil rights claim on behalf of a family member or friend?

You can only file a civil rights claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case. 

What is the difference between a civil and a criminal violation of civil rights?

A criminal civil rights violation involves the use or threat of force. A civil violation of civil rights involves no violence, only discriminatory behavior. Criminal violations carry incarceration penalties, while civil violations carry monetary penalties. 

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PROPERTY DAMAGE

Can I file a property damage claim with my personal injury claim?

Yes. You can file a claim to recover the value of the property damaged in the incident that caused your personal injury (such as a car accident). Your property damage claim will be filed with the insurance company. 

My car was damaged in an accident. What should I do?

At the scene of the accident, collect as much information as possible about any other individuals involved in the accident, and take pictures of the scene if possible. Call the police to ensure there is a police report filed. After the accident, call both your insurance company as well as that of the other individual(s) involved in the accident. 

What if the person responsible for my car accident doesn’t have insurance?

If you are involved in an accident with an individual who doesn’t have insurance, you will likely have to collect from your own insurance company. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help to supplement damages caused by a driver with no or low insurance coverage.  

My house was damaged in a flood/fire. Can I recover?

Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover a range of potential natural disasters, including floods, fires, tornadoes, and damage caused by winter storms. It is important to discuss your policy with your insurance company to be aware of your coverage and any exclusions.

What types of damage does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover?

Your homeowner’s insurance policy will typically cover the replacement and rebuilding costs for damage to the physical structure of your home, any detached structures (like garages), and personal property. However, there are variations and the coverage should be discussed with an attorney or agent. 

I’m not a homeowner. Are there other types of property damage insurance available?

Even if you aren’t the homeowner, it’s important to carry insurance. A landlord’s insurance will cover the building structure, but typically does not extend to cover your personal property within the building. Renter’s insurance is the best alternative to homeowner’s insurance.

What is the statute of limitations for a property damage claim?

Three years. 

How long does the insurance claim process take?

You should file your claim with your insurance company 24 to 48 hours after the accident. Once your claim has been initiated, it may take several months for the process to be completed, depending on the insurance companies involved. 

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FAMILY LAW

Do I need an attorney to handle my divorce?

While you have the right to represent yourself in your divorce, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney to represent your interests. Family law can be difficult to navigate, both logistically and emotionally, and it may be beneficial to have an advocate to protect your rights, and those of your children and property. 

How is custody determined?

If the parents cannot mutually agree on a custody arrangement for their children, the court will decide custody based on the best interests of the child(ren). The court will consider a variety of factors in determining the child(ren)’s best interests. 

How is child support determined?

Michigan courts use a standardized formula to determine child support. Child support includes payment for the general care and needs of the child(ren), which includes base support, medical support, and child care expenses. The formula also considers the income of each parent.

How is alimony determined?

To determine alimony, the court considers a variety of factors. These factors include the parties’ ages, needs, health, ability to work, and ability to pay. The court may also consider the length of the marriage and whether a party was “at fault” in the divorce.

What happens if I/my ex-spouse does not pay child support and/or alimony?

Failure to pay child support and/or alimony is a crime, as it is a direct violation of a court order. The district attorney can compel you/your ex-spouse to pay through a variety of measures, including withholding federal tax refunds, garnishing wages, seizing property, suspending a professional or business license, or revoking a driver’s license.  In extreme cases, the offending party may be arrested and serve jail time. 

How long will my divorce take?

The length of a divorce proceeding varies dramatically, with some being relatively quick and others lasting many years. On average, a divorce takes about 11 months to complete, from the initial filing to a settlement or judgment. The speed of a divorce proceeding depends on the conduct of the parties, the amount of assets to be divided, how many minors are involved, and many other factors.  

Can I terminate my ex-spouse’s parental rights to our child(ren)?

The termination of parental rights is considered an extreme action and last resort by most courts. Parental rights can be voluntarily surrendered, but often termination accompanies cases of severe abuse or neglect. In situations where a step-parent seeks to adopt the child, the biological, non-custodial parent must have failed to provide support to and communicate with the child(ren) for at least two years prior to the filing of the petition to terminate rights. 

What is mediation? 

Mediation is common in family law and divorce matters. In mediation, the parties meet with a neutral third party to negotiate the divorce process and resolve issues related to the separation, including custody, parenting time, support, and the division of assets. Mediation is seen as a more efficient and less confrontational alternative to the traditional divorce process.

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APPEALS

What kinds of claims can be appealed?

Generally speaking, the adjudication of every claim can be appealed. However, it is important to consult with an appellate attorney to determine whether an appeal is a reasonable pursuit and what the basis of the appeal should be. 

How much time do I have to file an appeal?

The amount of time within which to file an appeal varies by the claim to be appealed. The window for appeal can range from a week to a few months.

Do I always have the right to appeal?

No. You can always petition for an appeal, but that petition may not always be heard by a court. An appeal may only be granted if there is an error in the procedure or application of the law. Different levels of the judicial process also have different standards of appellate review which may affect the hearing of your appeal.

What types of rulings can the appellate court make? 

An appellate court can make an array of rulings on appeals. The appellate court can affirm, or uphold, the lower court decision, or deny the claims of the appeal. The court may grant the petitioning party’s appellate request(s). The court can also reverse the ruling of the lower court and remand the case back down to the lower court for further proceedings. Sometimes, the appellate court will order a new trial.

What happens in a criminal appeal?

In criminal cases, only the defendant may appeal the final judgement and sentence. The prosecutor may not appeal if the defendant is acquitted, but may appeal rulings made throughout the trial. The appellate court in criminal cases may either (1) affirm the conviction; (2) order a new trial; (3) alter the ruling in some way; (4) consider new evidence; or (5) throw out the case and charges entirely. 

What happens in a civil appeal?

In civil cases, either side may appeal the final judgment of the case. The appellate court in civil cases may remand the case to the trial court for a new trial, dismiss the case, or affirm the lower court’s decision. 

If my appeal is denied, do I have other options?

In most cases, you have two other options if your appeal is denied. You may motion the court for reconsideration or petition for review with a higher court.

How long is the appellate process?

Certain elements of the appellate process are statutory, as the amount of time allotted for the filing of an appeal and an answer to the appeal. Beyond the initial filing phase, the length of the appellate process is largely dependent on the court’s docket and attorney scheduling. Some appeals are decided quickly, while others take months or years to reach a final decision.

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