Tips For Driving Over Potholes

It seems as though the freezing temperatures are finally a thing of the past! We've actually had snow in April for the last few weeks, but Michiganders are all preparing themselves for some warm weather that’s headed this way. The warm weather comes with a cost though: Potholes. Potholes are nothing new to Michigan residents, but drivers everywhere are dreading popping a tire or wrecking their car's suspension on the pockmarked roads this Spring.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says, "Potholes are created when snow and ice melt as part of Michigan's seasonal freeze-thaw cycles. Moisture seeps into the pavement, freezes, expands and thaws, creating a gap in the pavement. As vehicles drive over the gap, the pavement weakens leading to a pothole." While trying to avoid potholes is a good idea to prevent vehicle damage, dodging all the potholes like your racing your friend in Mario Kart isn’t a good idea. Yes, you missed the pothole but you put yourself and other people at risk of getting into a car accident, since swerving erratically may cause you to sideswipe a car! Instead, by following these pothole driving tips by MDOT, you may be able to avoid pothole vehicle damage and car accidents!

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Tips For Driving Over Potholes

  1. Be Vigilant - it's best to avoid hitting potholes whenever possible. That's easier to do if you're driving cautiously, and not tailgating, so you have more time to see and react to any potholes you're approaching.
  2. Be Cautious Around Puddles - they could be potholes filled with water. Since water is a critical component to forming potholes,
  3. Slow Down - If you see a pothole ahead and can't safely steer to avoid it, it's best to slow down, then release the brakes before you hit the pothole. 
  4. Vehicle Maintenance Helps - Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Over- or under-inflated tires are worse when they tangle with a pothole.

There are some potholes that are small and can easily be driven over without any damage to your car and there are some that can be very deep and many feet wide. The above pothole tips may help drivers navigate potholes with minimal vehicle damage, but sometimes it's not possible to avoid pothole vehicle damage. The best way to avoid pothole damage to your vehicle may be to avoid experiencing road damage all together! By reporting potholes to MDOT, and because of the recently approved road repair budget, it’s possible that all potholes could be filled this Spring before they cause too much damage to cars and to car owners’ wallets. But, if you do find yourself having to shell out cash to your mechanic because you couldn’t avoid a crater in the road, there may be a possibility that you can be reimbursed by the State of Michigan for pothole vehicle damage. However drivers should keep in mind that, according to The Detroit Free Press, there is a 30-day window, from the time a pothole is reported to when it is fixed, when road commissions and municipal street departments can avoid responsibility for damaged vehicles. The State of Michigan reimbursed only 9 of the 267 pothole claims for $1,000 or less made during fiscal year 2017, according to MDOT, but it still may be worth a shot. 

Potholes can be reported on the MDOT website or by calling 888-296-4546.


Every year tons of potholes are filled in hopes of creating safer roads for people to drive on. But potholes are an unavoidable, never ending cycle that reemerge each year, which is why car accidents due to potholes and other types of road damage occur each year too. Road damage accidents not only cause serious damage to vehicles but can also cause serious injury to people. For a free legal consultation with an auto accident attorney regarding road damage car crashes or any type of auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Beware Of Wrong Way Driving Car Crashes

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WRONG WAY! DO NOT ENTER! Seeing a bright red sign next to the road that says, "WRONG WAY" on it, would make most people understand not to drive down that particular road. However, driving the wrong way on a highway happens more times then you would think, which is why the Michigan State Police are urging everyone to watch out for the reckless drivers who have been driving the wrong way down the highway. In Metro Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press, tipsters call 911 to report 15 to 20 wrong-way drivers a month, although only 4 to 6 of those drivers have been caught on street surveillance cameras. Out of all those reported drivers, some wrong way driving incidents result in car accidents which cause serious injuries or even death.

One wrong way driver who caused a car accident was 65-year-old Mary Okke from Plainfield Township, Michigan. Ms. Okke died in August of 2017 after she drove her car the wrong way on U.S.-131 and hit a charter bus, just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Another wrong way driving car crash fatality was caused by Councilman, Michael Stack. The 59-year-old was driving the wrong way on I-275 in Canton when he struck and killed a young newly engaged couple in December of 2017. According to the Oakland Press, police said he had no alcohol in his system when he was driving, but they found an open bottle of vodka in his car. Finding the open bottle of alcohol led police to do a drug test to determine if there were any narcotics in his system, but all tests came back negative.

While police have determined that alcohol was not a factor in the Councilman's car crash, unfortunately that isn’t always the case. In early December, freeway cameras recorded a car driving the wrong way on I-75 heading north. Driving the car was a 27-year-old woman named Tonya Berta from Ida, Michigan. The police discovered that Berta's 1-year-old child was hidden under a blanket in the backseat. The Michigan State Police were not surprised when they found out that Berta was under the influence of alcohol. Fox2Detroit reported that Ms. Berta "was sentenced to 3 years of probation and 8 months in jail on the charge of operating while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16 and possession of a controlled substance, second or subsequent offense." 

Source: Google Maps - Partial Cloverleaf Ramp at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit 

Source: Google Maps - Partial Cloverleaf Ramp at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit 

Alcohol may have played a significant factor in Ms. Berta's car accident, but like the other 2 wrong way driving car crashes, alcohol isn’t the only cause of wrong way accidents. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has said that 60% of wrong way entries to freeways occurred at the old-fashioned design for ramps called “partial cloverleafs.” Partial cloverleafs are ramps that place the exit and entry ramps right next to each other, which can be confusing to drivers. These types of ramps can be found at I-94 and Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.

Another factor that could cause these wrong-way accidents is the time of day when the car crash occurs. A lot of car accident fatalities have happened late at night or early in the morning, when it is still dark outside and more difficult for drivers to see.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Nationwide, wrong way drivers cause about 360 deaths a year. In Michigan from 2011 through 2016, 8 motorists died in such crashes.” There have been almost half the amount of car crashes from wrong way driving in the last few months than there have been in 5 years. In an attempt to lessen the chances of wrong way driving, MDOT has made efforts to reduce the chances of drivers accidentally driving down the wrong ramp. As of July of 2017, MDOT has been installing better signs and new lane guides at highway entrances and exits that will help people navigate the highways more easily. However, placing larger signs next to highways does not mean that it is OK to drink and drive by any means. Drugs or alcohol should never be consumed before or while operating a motor vehicle.


When driving, it's always best to make sure full attention is kept on the road. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, is enough time to take a wrong turn on a road you aren't meant to drive on. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident, call 844.4MI.FIRM to have a free consultation with an accident attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PC

New Ambassador Bridge Coming To Michigan

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Remember back in September 2015 when the Moroun family was against a second Ambassador bridge being built and filed a lawsuit to make sure their privately owned bridge stayed in business? Well, it looks like they are finally getting their way, sort of.

Despite the constant back and forth between Canadian officials and the Moroun family, Manuel Moroun to be specific, the family has received permission from the Transport Canada federal agency to build their second Ambassador Bridge. The permit has been at least a year in the making and comes with a few stipulations. Canada is requesting that the Morouns demolish their previous Ambassador Bridge once their new bridge is complete and ready for use. Additional requirements include environmental protection, protection of Canada’s indigenous people, infrastructure improvement, and the creation of green spaces.

Out With The Old, In With The New

In the late 1920s, the Ambassador Bridge was one of the biggest and daring bridges to be built, now it is old and showing it’s age. The bridge can barely sustain the amount of traffic and trade that comes across every day since it was built with only 4 lanes. According to the Detroit Free Press, in a statement on September 6, 2017 Manuel Moroun said that the new Ambassador Bridge is expected to have 6 lanes not including lanes dedicated to NEXUS, FAST, and bus traffic. Moroun also mentioned that the cost of the new Ambassador Bridge is about $1 billion in private funds, roughly half of which has already been spent.

On a side note, the Gordie Howe Bridge is still expected to open in 2023. This is the bridge the Government of Canada was trying to build before being wrestled into court to fight lawsuit after lawsuit from the Morouns. So while Transport Canada has given the Morouns permission to build a second Ambassador bridge, the Canadian government would much rather back thier own project. In fact, architects, engineers, and other contractors are still being interviewed to build  the Gordie Howe Bridge, not to mention millions of dollars have already spent on purchasing property and roadbeds. Even the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has spoken of how the Gordie Howe Bridge will be the country's primary infrastructure project, which comes as no surprise with the amount of bad blood between the Canadian Government and the Morouns.   

Gordie Howe Bridge vs Ambassador Bridge

Now that the Morouns have the green light from Transport Canada, people might expect the new Ambassador Bridge Project to break ground by the end of this year, but that's not hopeful. Additional permits are needed from both Canada and the US, so construction will most likely begin sometime in late 2018 or early 2019 and may be completed by 2023. It should also be noted that both bridges will utilize tolls. However, since the Morouns' bridge is privately owned it's unknown what their set toll price will be? The Gordie Howe Bridge, on the other hand, is expected to have a more ‘economic pricing’ since it is a Canadian government project.

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Either way, the public will win. With 2 bridges in the works in addition to the already existing Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, a future economic boom and regional popularity are sure to follow. These new bridges will also allow for safer transportation between Michigan and Canada.  Back in 2016, the Transport Canada agency cited the current Ambassador Bridge with being a "risk to public safety." The citations included safety hazards such as not having railings and having crumbling concrete. Thankfully, no one standing under the bridge was killed or injured by having pieces of concrete falling on them and no motorists had driven off the side of the bridge without railing to hold them back. However, it the bridge hadn't been inspected and closed, it may have only been a matter of time before a pedestrian death or car crash occurred. 

Also, with the addition of two new, safer bridges, travel between Detroit and Windsor will be much quicker and less congested. While repairing the bridge to bring it up safety standards was the right call, during the time it was closed, traffic barriers limited drivers to a single lane at certain points, causing major traffic congestion. Also, since there are currently only two options to drive between Canada and Michigan, the bridge and tunnel routes tend to be extra congested during daily peak hours and especially on holidays. Plus, no one wants to keep raging Redwings and Maple Leaf fans away from travelling back and forth to hockey games! The problem with any kind of limited mobility is that it leads to aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving and related aggressive driving car crashes and road rage car accidents are a big problem when according to The American Safety Council, 66% of traffic falatilies are casued by aggressive driving. Therefore, the construction of a new Ambassador Bridge and the new Gordie Howe bridge will be welcomed by citizens of Detroit and Windsor alike.


Considering the frequent backups on the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and the current Ambassador Bridge, it is about time that another thoroughfare between Canada and Michigan is being built. Soon, Michiganders have the choice between 3 options to commute to Canada. Since 3 travel routes don't completely get rid of traffic congestion however, drivers still need to be on the look out to avoid getting into road rage car crashes or aggressive driving accidents. The attorneys at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC are here to help any victims of these and any other types of motor vehicle accidents. We know that the legal process can be hard and are here to fight for you. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation today.

Tips On Driving During Heavy Winds and Storms

A couple of months ago, in February 2017, a semi-truck driving on a highway got caught in high winds and toppled over, landing on top of an unoccupied police cruiser. Fox News reported that the truck driver drove the semi after ignoring a high wind advisory banning commercial vehicles from that particular area of the highway, close to nearby Elk Mountain. Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant Kelly Finn said that wind speeds were close to 70 m.p.h. at the time of the accident.  

While Michigan isn't currently experiencing such a magnitude of winds, forecasts expect thunderstorms for the rest of the week. This week's thunderstorms could deter Michiganders from driving to the beach or relaxing out on the porch. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC would therefore like to take the time to remind Michigan motorists how they can safely drive in severe weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rain. 

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Safety Tips for Driving In High Winds and Storms

In bouts of extreme weather, the first safety precaution drivers can take is to remain in a specific location, such as home, and avoid driving in dangerous situations completely. 

If venturing out into the bad weather is unavoidable, the Defensive Drivers Team suggests that drivers check local weather reports and take note of any high winds, blizzard, flooding, or other extreme weather advisories that have been issued in the areas they plan to drive in.

When driving in a storm, motorists should remember to pay close attention to the road. Drivers may better focus on the road by turning down the radio, silencing or ignoring cell phones, and properly securing any pets in the vehicle so they don't cause a disturbance. Minimizing these distractions keeps drivers alert for instances in which storm debris or trees may be blown into the driver's path. Drivers should also remember to keep their headlights on since storms typically darken the sky. 

In addition, drivers should give large vehicles such as semi-trucks, tractors, RVs, and buses more space, as these vehicles may be more difficult to control in extreme weather. No one can anticipate sudden gusts of wind, so driving slower than normal and making lots of extra space for other motorists on the road may help ensure motorist safety. Drivers should also take safer, local routes and avoid speedy highways, rocky terrain, and routes through infrastructure such as tunnels and overpasses, which can potentially be damaged during storms. 

As for driving in windy weather, head and tail winds, or winds coming from the front and back of a vehicle, are not too difficult to deal with. A slight adjustment in speed or acceleration may allow the driver to compensate for these winds. On the other hand, side winds are the ones that create the most trouble for drivers. If strong enough, these winds can blow a vehicle off course. In the event that a driver finds themselves caught in a side wind, they should remember to not panic or move the car too abruptly if they feel the vehicle being pushed in the other direction, and instead move smoothly and gently to stay on the road. 

Mountainous Road

Tips For Driving In Heavy Rain

High winds and storms also bring precipitation. Heavy rainfall or a large snow melt may cause puddles to form, many with depths too hard to judge from behind the steering wheel. RAC, a British automotive service company, warns, "If it’s clearly too deep for your car, find another way to your destination." Drivers might find themselves in a harrowing position if driving through a puddle that is particularly deep and may cause their car to float. Water can also cause a vehicle to stall or breakdown. It is important to ignore the urge to try and crank the vehicle back to life in order to avoid further damaging the engine. Instead, drivers should wait for a professional to arrive and attend to the vehicle. This might even serve as an alarm for other drivers to follow safety tips to possibly avoid a serious car accident. 

With the looming threat of thunderstorms in Michigan this week, drivers and passengers are encouraged to follow these extreme weather safety tips to stay safe and help prevent an accident like the one which occurred in Wyoming. It is difficult to predict what the sky will do next, but motorists should practice driving safely in extreme weather, in order to reach their destinations before the next lightning bolt hits. 


All motorists could benefit from paying attention to the road and heeding wind and storm advisories this summer. If you or a loved one have ever been in a car accident, caused by extreme weather conditions, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced attorney, today.

Flint Gets $15 Million for Water Crisis

More federal aid money is being provided for Flint, Michigan area residents affected by the Flint Water Crisis. According to a recent June 30, 2017 press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately $15 million in funding will be provided to the Genesee County Healthy Start Program, which is overseen by the Genesee County Health Department. This program provides "health and social services for women, infants, and their families who have had, or are at risk for, lead exposure in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding community."  

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The Department of Health and Human Services press release mentioned that not only can lead stay in the bones for decades, but that women and infants might face ongoing exposure through pregnancy and breastfeeding, even after the lead source is removed.  

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, M.D. commented, “[w]e understand the urgency of the situation, and this funding will help connect affected and at-risk Flint residents to comprehensive health and social services proven to mitigate the effects of lead exposure.” It's important for those who show symptoms from the Flint water to see their doctor and discuss the best medical course of treatment. 

As Flint, Michigan residents continue to recover from the Flint Water Crisis and the city's infrastructure continues to be restored, our personal injury law firm will continue to monitor new governmental aid for victims who have suffered injuries and general information for the public at large.  

More details regarding the Healthy Start Program can be found at this site: https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-initiatives/healthy-start.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Birmingham, Michigan personal injury firm. Our firm handles personal injury lawsuits throughout the state. Call 844.464.3476 today to speak to an experienced injury attorney today. We offer free consultations and honest and fair legal representation.

Sterling Heights Lawsuit Against Macomb County, Over Sinkhole, Dismissed

Michigan residents are used to infrastructure issues such as potholes and even sinkholes frequently occurring due to Michigan's status as the land of lakes and tempered weather. Lately however, Michiganders are becoming exasperated with dealing with the financial and infrastructural fallout of these destructive holes. In December 2016, a particularly dangerous sinkhole in Fraser, Michigan appeared on 15 Mile Road and Eberlein Street, causing residents to be evacuated from their homes and for part of 15 Mile Road to be closed down.

The sinkhole was caused by a sewer line that is currently being funded and fixed under the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District (MIDD) which is made up of county and city entities including Fraser, Utica, Macomb Township, Clinton county, Harrison County, and Sterling Heights, to name a few. The MIDD tasked Sterling Heights with submitting a share of $22.2 million dollars toward funding repairs. The city of Sterling Heights was outraged with the portion of money that they were tasked to raise and responded with a lawsuit on May 8, 2017, against Macomb County. Sterling Heights claims that the county should be responsible for the repair cost, and not the citizens of the communities affected by the sinkhole.

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How The Sinkhole Was Created

As Fraser Public Safety's Lt. Mike Pettyes explains, the main 11-foot-wide sewer line - that lies 55 feet underground -  had a break that allowed waste and water to wash out the dirt and sand that supports the structures above ground. Once the supporting layers of dirt were washed out, it caused a gap that allowed for the land above, to sink into the hole in order to fill it in. Also, this isn't the first time a sinkhole has happened in this area. Back in August 2004, a sinkhole grew to be 160-feet long and 60-feet wide appeared as a result of a collapsed sewer line and was closed to the public for 10 months.

Sinkhole Repair Costs And Necessity

Based on current inspections, the sinkhole is expected to cost $75 million dollars to repair, if the pipe doesn’t completely collapse before it is repaired. $70 million of this enormous amount is supposed to be paid by 25-year-old bonds owned by Macomb County and the remaining $5 million is to be covered by state grants. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) uses the sinkhole as evidence that Michigan’s infrastructure is in need of improvements. This statement is sufficiently supported by The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) who gave Michigan’s infrastructure a D on it’s report card back in 2009. The latest reports show that in 2011, Michigan still wasn’t making the grade with nearly 1,300 of the 11,022 bridges in 'poor' to 'failing' condition, 22% of the major roads in 'poor' condition and 66 of its waste sites being put on the national priorities list.

Sterling Heights Lawsuit Dismissed

Crumbling Overpass

The MIDD contracted the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) back in 2010 to deal with repairs and upkeep of the sewer line. However, the MCWDD failed to do their job. As a result, the city of Sterling Heights was issued a bill for $22.2 million dollars of the estimated $75 million repair cost. This is a cost that Mayor Michael Taylor of Sterling Heights argues is unfair to his city, its residents, and its businesses to pay for, due to the “breach in contract” on MCWDDs part.

However, Macomb County Circuit Judge Jennifer Faunce didn't think so, which is why she dismissed Sterling Heights' lawsuit in favor of the MIDD's argument that the lawsuit was preventing the sewer line from being fixed. But, this may not be the last time the MIDD will face trouble from Sterling Heights. Mayor Taylor says that he is disappointed by Judge Faunce's decision and is currently reconvening with the city's attorney and the City Council to figure out a solution. 

“I’m going to do everything I can to protect our taxpayers,” declared Taylor.

Temporary Fixes

As of May 14, 2017, officials state that an additional $6.2 million in new repairs is needed. In the meantime, a temporary bypass line has been installed to help waste flow around the sinkhole area and allow inspectors to further investigate the damage of the sewer line. So far, east of the sinkhole (upstream) shows signs of deterioration with gushing leaks and fractures. West of the sinkhole (downstream) has been scheduled to be inspected for damages later on this summer and could possibly drive up the cost of the repair bill and the therefore the need for additional bonds to be sold.

Hopefully, while negotiations and repair are underway regarding who will pay for what, the sinkhole doesn't collapse even further or potentially spread and make the situation even worse. In the meantime, drivers should pay attention to where they are driving as sinkholes are a serious matter. Drivers should be careful of streets with noticeable dips or drainage problems which could be a sign of it's failing infrastructure. In addition, while repairs are being made along 15 Mile Road, motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists should all be wary of construction site accidents. By looking out for construction signs, slowing down car speed at construction sites, and by generally traveling through construction sites more cautiously, people may be able to avoid serious injuries that can arise from construction motor vehicle accidents.


Infrastructure damage and repair has been a growing problem in Michigan for many years, let alone the entire nation. In 2013, the ASCE estimated that the cost of updating the infrastructure in America could cost up to $3.6 trillion dollars by the year 2020. Have you or someone you know sustained injuries in an accident stemming from damaged infrastructure? If so, call 844.4MI.FIRM to speak with an attorney at The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm provides free consultations.

2017 Michigan Vehicle Registration Increase

Michigan drivers who had a birthday between January to May, might have noticed a slight change in their vehicle registration fee. The increase was due to Governor Snyder signing a bill in November 2015 that is supposed to help raise funds to repair Michigan roadways. The bill didn’t only raise registration fees but gas taxes as well, from 19 cents to 26.3 cents on top of sales tax, and the bill forces hybrid car and electric vehicle owners to pay an additional fee on top of the 20% increase. (Electric vehicle owners have to pay $135 and hybrid vehicle owners pay $47.) The increase in both registration and gas fees is expected to collect $600 million that will be used for road and transportation purposes.

How Are The Funds Being Applied?

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It was discovered that all of the money raised by these increased fees and taxes isn’t going to the state's transportation fund. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy reported that the transportation budget will only have $160 million and not the $460 million dollars that was estimated to be collected this year. This begs the question, “Where are the rest of the funds?" 

Supposedly, the remaining $300 million is instead being spent on Medicaid and school funding. Legislators state that the reason for the switch was because in previous years of tax revenues, money earmarked for these other causes, was scraped to pay the transportation funding costs.

How Do Drivers Feel About The Tax Hike?

The increase in taxes might have come as a disappointment to many drivers who share the same sentiment as Flint resident Sabrina Smith, 24, who said, “They don’t do anything around here, we still have busted roads and we’re still going to have busted roads."

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As a counterpoint, Bob Johnston from Holland, Michigan disagreed with Ms. Smith's sentiment and said, “I absolutely understand the need for it. There’s a huge loss in economic development if we don’t have good roads and infrastructure. We need good roads.”  

So, there seems to be mixed feeling about the tax increase among the citizens of Michigan. However, Michiganders should remember that having an up-to-date vehicle registration is required in Michigan. Any driver who is concerned about how much they need to pay to register their vehicle can find the cost on the Michigan’s Secretary of State registration fee lookup tool. Michigan drivers should also keep in mind that the Trump Administration released a $1 trillion infrastructure plan on June 13, 2017 that might affect the current fees in place.

Though all of the money raised in the tax increase won't go toward infrastructure repair, Michiganders can still expect to see plenty of road rebuilding, bridge repairs, and other construction work this Summer. As such, it is important that motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians be extra cautious when traveling around construction sites as construction motor vehicle accidents are likely to occur. By keeping alert at construction sites, obeying construction traffic signs, and by driving more slowly and extra cautiously, construction site car accidents may be avoided.


Michigan motorists may have to redo going their budgets this year thanks to an increase in registration fees and fuel taxes. Although many drivers will hate the increase, it comes as a trade off to higher auto repair costs due to the crumbling infrastructure of Michigan roads. If you or someone you know have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to damaged roads or damaged infrastructure, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation, at 844.4MI.FIRM.