Lawsuits Involving Auto & Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto or truck accident, a lawsuit can be filed against the person who caused the accident to obtain an award of damages. The team at Jay Zelenock Law Firm fights hard for the appropriate, fair compensation for the victims of serious and catastrophic personal injuries.
Another Satisfied Client
“In the midst of a very difficult and uncertain situation, Jay's careful personal attention to our case helped us weather the storm and reach a successful conclusion. He always made time for our questions and concerns.”
What Our Clients Say...
“We only can state that working with the Zelenock Law Firm is confidence-inspiring. Jay is accessible, he listens, he is knowledgeable and he executes.”
"If you're in crisis or simply have a question, the team at the law firm of Jay Zelenock wants you to get what you need so that you can move forward. They are smart, respectful, caring and down to earth."
Client Success Story:
Personal Injury and Accident Law – No-Fault Insurance Claims – Automobile and Truck Accidents
The firm was able to assist a client in recovering all of his work loss and medical bill payments after a serious motor vehicle accident. The insurer paid many benefits immediately after the accident on a voluntary basis but then discontinued benefits on the theory that the client was no longer disabled. However, by that time, the client had lost his job in a wood flooring factory, because his employer had replaced him with another worker, while he was “off work” due to the accident.
However, Michigan No-Fault Insurance Law allows an injured employee to recover benefits for the work he “would have” performed if he had not been injured in the accident. See MCL 500.3107(b). The Michigan appellate courts have applied the plain language of this Michigan No-Fault statutory provision to allow the recovery of work loss benefits even after a period of physical disability and if an employee loses his job because the employer replaces him during his period of disability. The firm’s knowledge of the Michigan No-Fault Statute and favorable case law allowed the client to recover all of the work loss benefits he was entitled to, despite the insurer’s efforts to cut off his benefits.
Motor Vehicle Law
The firm assisted a client in a one-vehicle accident in obtaining dismissal of misdemeanor charges for allegedly leaving the scene of the accident. The firm performed some factual investigation and legal research, which produced a good result for the client.
Personal Injury and Accident Law – No-Fault Insurance – Auto and Truck Accident
The firm assisted a client who was rear-ended by a negligent driver with a claim for no-fault first-party PIP benefits. The client had been injured before in a prior snowmobile accident, so the insurance company tried to argue that her problems were all “pre-existing conditions” that stemmed from the prior snowmobile accident, rather than from the motor vehicle accident at issue. However, the firm was able to obtain a favorable settlement for the client and ensure that her medical bills and work loss benefits were paid in full.
Automobile accident – No Fault Insurance—Brain Injuries—Quadriplegia--“Family Attendant Care” Benefits – Declaratory Relief--Attorney’s Fees Awarded
A Great Lakes tugboat captain and married man with two children was severely injured in a 1995 motor vehicle accident. As a result, he required multiple surgeries and other medical care, and suffered extensive partial paralysis and brain injuries. He was totally disabled and required extensive, “around-the-clock” assistance for all activities of daily living as well as all medical needs. Fortunately, the family had significant insurance coverage (health and auto) to address the devastating injuries and losses, in part.
The gravity of his injuries profoundly changed his life, and the lives of his family, forever. He suffered extensive paralysis in his limbs (quadriplegia) and severe brain injuries that made it impossible for him to eat, talk, or do most things without huge amounts of assistance from a team of care providers put in place by his wife, and the 24/7 care provided by his wife. His wife spent a year with him at a special brain injury facility, learning extensively from experts about his highly-specialized medical and care needs.
His wife worked extensively as his advocate, and Court-appointed Guardian and Conservator, to make sure all of his care was excellent. She also worked extremely hard every day to make sure that, despite his severe injuries and disabilities, he was able to return to his community, church, and family life to the greatest extent possible. She worked as an “internal case manager,” essentially an onsite skilled nurse every day. Her tenacious hard work benefitted her husband, and also saved the insurance companies involved large amounts of money. Without her work, 8-12 hours a day of additional skilled-nursing care would have been needed to help her husband. The excellent care she provided and put in place kept her husband free of medical complications that require long, expensive hospitalizations – which are common for people with such extensive injuries.
Over time, as is too often the case, one of the insurance companies began “tightening” its views of what it would pay for under the insurance policy the family had in place at the time of the 1995 accident. In effect, the insurer made efforts to reduce the insurance benefits provided for under the policy, even though the accident had occurred more than a decade ago, and there was no right to “amend” the policy in place at the time, after the accident. For example, the insurer had originally indicated it would pay for a new wheelchair accessible van every 7 years. The wife kept the van in good shape for 12 years (saving the insurer more money), and then the insurer tried to “back-out” of its promises and claimed it would not pay for a replacement wheelchair accessible van. The insurance company’s “revised” position threatened the family’s freedom of transportation, and indirectly their freedom of choice of doctors, clinics and therapists, as well as the freedom to be “out-and-about” in the community at church and family events.
Up until the insurer’s decision to back-out of paying for the van and other items, the wife had been working hard on her husband’s care team for years without pay. The insurer admitted that its insurance policy required it to pay for family-provided attendant care services, as well as guardian and conservator services. The insurer had avoided paying these “family attendant care benefits” to the wife for about 15 years, even though she was providing critical services every day.
Given that the insurer was taking a “tighter” reading of the coverage and reducing the benefits payable (and shifting expenses like van purchases to the family), the wife needed assistance with obtaining payment of a number of insurance benefits, including proper payment for the daily work she was doing, providing “family attendant care services,” as well as guardian and conservator, and internal case management services.
The insurer steadfastly refused to pay. A prolonged litigation battle ensured with extensive medical and scientific investigation about the many highly-complicated and specialized medical issues involved in the specialized care needs of a quadriplegic person (specialized feeding needs; medications; specialized nebulizers and other breathing equipment; how to safely conduct transports; physical therapy; speech therapy; “pool” or aquatherapy; full assist for all needs; medical charting; scheduling and supervising workers and medical appointments).
After a five-day jury trial, the wife prevailed on her claims for her services in their entirety. The jury rejected every argument and defense offered by the insurance company and its team of lawyers. A Judgment for more than 1,000 days of services was entered, along with an award of costs and attorneys’ fees totaling more than $265,000. Importantly, the Court also granted a Declaratory Order requiring the insurer to continue to pay $140 per day (about $50,000/year) for her services in the future. The couple is their 50s and should benefit from this jury trial win and Declaratory Order for years to come. (This award was for the value of the wife’s services alone - there was no award for “non-economics” or other damages, as those issues had been addressed by another law firm many years ago).
Motor Vehicle Accident -- No-Fault First-Party Insurance Benefits
A gentleman was hurt in a motor vehicle accident and lost his job as a result. His No-Fault first-party PIP insurer paid his wage loss and replacement services benefits for a while, but then “cut off” benefits based on the opinions of doctors hired by the insurance company (DMEs or defense medical examiners). The firm was able to negotiate a settlement requiring the insurer to pay the wage loss and replacement services benefits through the three-year time period that is the maximum allowed under the No-Fault first-party PIP statutory benefits.
Motor Vehicle Accident -- Insurance Coverage Issues
An older gentleman had a medical problem while driving on a high-speed road. He crossed the centerline and struck another vehicle, causing serious injuries to the other driver. The older gentleman and his wife (the owner of the car) were both sued by the injured person. They were concerned that they did not have enough insurance coverage, given the serious injuries to the other party. The firm assisted the clients with negotiating a settlement with the injured party and also in persuading their own insurance company to make a good-faith policy-limits offer to get the matter settled and protect the clients’ interest. The clients were very pleased to have the litigation resolved without risks to their nest egg, personal savings, and property in the aftermath of a very serious accident.