If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to recover damages from the party or parties responsible for the accident. In order to determine who is responsible, you will need to consider whose negligence proximately caused the accident and injuries in question. This basically means that a party breached the duty owed to the injured party and that the breach of duty caused the injured party’s injuries.
In many cases, the motor vehicle accident was caused by the negligence of multiple parties, including the injured party themselves. Many Michigan residents make the mistake of thinking that they cannot recover damages if they are partially responsible for the accident. While that may be true in some states, it is not true in Michigan.
Michigan applies a modified comparative negligence rule for lawsuits involving negligence. Under MCL Sec. 600.2959, an injured party can recover economic damages, even if they were more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. Economic damages generally refer to measurable damages that are objectively verifiable, including past medical expenses and lost wages. The amount an injured party recovers may be reduced depending on their percentage of fault. For example, if an injured motorist in Michigan has been awarded $100,000 in economic damages, but was found to be 60 percent at-fault for the collision that caused their injuries, they will receive a reduced award of $40,000.
However, state law also states that an injured party who is more than 50 percent at fault for an accident cannot recover non-economic damages. Non-economic damages refer to the intangible damages that surround an injury, including pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. So, in the example above, the motorist would not be able to recover non-economic damages, as they were found to be 60 percent at-fault for the collision.
If you have been injured in an accident, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney to discuss your situation. Your attorney can review your case and give you a realistic picture of what damages you can expect if you file a negligence claim.