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Are Negligent Drivers Liable for Pain and Suffering in a No-Fault State?

female driver reading textThe short answer to whether negligent drivers are liable for your pain and suffering is maybe. Seriously injured drivers or passengers may be eligible to pursue compensation for these types of damages under certain conditions.

Pursuing a claim for pain and suffering is different in Michigan than for other states. Jay Trucks and Associates discuss when you may be eligible to obtain pain and suffering – also called non-economic damages – after being injured in a motor vehicle accident.

If you are injured in a car accident caused by a careless or negligent driver, our Grand Rapids car accident lawyers are prepared to help.

Quickly and easily find out if you may have a case. Call our firm and schedule a consultation with one of our qualified lawyers. It is confidential and completely free.

How Does Pain and Suffering Affect Crash Victims?

Pain and suffering damages provide for both the physical pain and emotional suffering of an accident victim after a car crash.

How a victim is impacted is unique and often dependent on the severity of the crash and the injuries sustained, including:

Difficulty Getting Back to Work

People who suffer serious or life-altering injuries may experience severe, disabling pain that impacts them on a daily basis – even after months of recovery. This level of pain can have a significant affect on a person’s ability to enjoy life.

Inability to Drive or Be Independent

The psychological trauma resulting from a collision in a motor vehicle may lead to debilitating fear, anxiety or depression. A victim may be afraid to drive or even get into a car for fear of having another accident. Some victims suffer PTSD so severely that they have flashbacks and difficulties coping even with simple day-to-day living. If a victim suffered scarring or disfigurement in the accident, he or she may not want to go out or be seen.

Loss of Consortium or Companionship

Many people only think of loss of companionship as it relates to an injured victim’s inability to have sexual relations with a marital partner. However, these damages do not only refer to sexual relationships. It can also apply to an accident victim’s relationship with his or her parents or children.

Other types of pain and suffering damages include:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Insomnia
  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Loss of consortium/loss of companionship
  • Humiliation or embarrassment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Anger

Can I Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering?

People injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence may wonder if they are eligible to recover compensation for their pain and suffering. In many states, these damages are often included in a liability claim. However, before you can pursue damages for pain and suffering in Michigan, you must establish your eligibility by:

Meeting the Injury Threshold

To qualify for pain and suffering damages under Michigan state law, you must meet the injury threshold as defined in one of three categories:

  • Permanent serious disfigurement
  • Serious impairment of bodily function
  • Death

Serious impairment is the most challenging to establish, as it has been defined and redefined multiple times. The most recent definition of this category is the impairment of a critical body function to the degree that it impacts your ability to live your life normally. There is no minimum or maximum timeframe for defining how long your impairment must last.

No More Than 50 Percent Liable for the Accident

Michigan follows the modified comparative negligence rule, so in addition to meeting the injury threshold, you must also not be found more than 50 percent liable for the car crash. If you exceed that percentage of liability, you will be unable to recover any compensation beyond what you receive through your no-fault benefits claim.

Establishing Negligence Caused Your Injuries

Even if you meet the injury threshold and are not more than 50 percent at fault for the car crash, it still falls on you – or your attorney – to establish negligence. This means determining that another party:

  • Owed you a duty of care
  • Violated that duty by an act of negligent, careless or reckless behavior
  • That individual’s negligence then caused an accident that injured you
  • You suffered tangible damages, such as lost wages or medical costs

Our attorneys are well-versed in Michigan law, and we know how to build a strong case and establish negligence for our clients. Hiring an attorney also helps to ensure your legal rights are protected throughout a case. Often, injured victims who have legal representation recover significantly more compensation than those who do not.

Call Jay Trucks for Legal Help After a Car Crash

Why leave your legal interests to chance? Our qualified attorneys have years of experience handling car accident cases. We know how to determine whether your injuries make you eligible for pain and suffering damages – in addition to your no-fault benefits.

Our firm is standing by and ready to take your call today – or at your convenience. Call our firm 24/7 to get trusted legal help.

If we represent you, there are no upfront costs and no fees to pay unless we first obtain a recovery for you. Get started by scheduling your free consultation to learn if you may have a case.

Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (800) 762-8623