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Michigan Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules



Michigan Personal Injury Laws & Statutory RulesIf you or a loved one have been injured in an accident that occurred in Michigan, it’s important to understand the laws and rules that affect your case, including lawsuits, insurance claims and filing deadlines. Each state has its own time limitations for filing claims, and for accidents that occur in Michigan, it’s important to know what those are. The time limit for how long you have to file after an accident is referred to as statutes of limitations. These laws are strict and when you miss the deadline, you may lose any chance of receiving compensation from those responsible for your injuries. In Michigan, the time limit to file a personal injury case is three years. In most cases the three year clock starts running on the day the accident or injury occurred, however, it’s not uncommon for injury victims to realize they are hurt and start showing symptoms of their injuries until weeks or months after an accident. In these cases, the date the symptoms begin to show becomes the beginning of the three year time limit. When people suffer a personal injury, the at-fault party can be another individual, a business, a manufacturer, an employer, a medical facility or the government. In cases where the lawsuit is against the government, victims have an additional three months in which to file, for a total of six months after the incident.

When a person is injured and tries to hold another person or entity responsible for their injuries and that party, in turn, claims that the injured party was either the one at fault or equally responsible, this is called Michigan’s comparative negligence rule. If an accident victim is determined to be partially or even totally responsible for the incident, this may reduce the dollar amount of their claim. If it is determined that the injured party is totally to blame for their injuries, they may receive no compensation at all. For example, if you are breaking a law yourself or putting yourself in danger due to your own actions, you may be found partially or fully at fault. The big insurance companies are well aware of this rule and because they are trying to avoid big payouts, they will be looking at this rule to make sure you don’t also bear some of the responsibility.

Michigan auto accidents fall under a rule called “no-fault.” If you have a motor vehicle accident in Michigan, it will be your own auto insurance company that provides your benefits and not the other party’s insurer, no matter who is at fault for the accident. There are only limited instances in Michigan where an injured party can file a lawsuit against another party and these include serious injuries such as death, long-term disability or disfigurement which must be proven through medical evidence.  The Michigan no-fault system does allow for a person to bring property damages against the other party for up to a thousand dollars. This is referred to as a mini-tort and only applies to property damage.

Another rule in Michigan partially protects dog owners from liability if they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous and if this was the first incident. This law, loosely referred to as the “one bite rule”, does not change the fact that, no matter what, the dog owner is “strictly liable” for their dogs behavior. And finally, if a person is injured due to medical malpractice, there are limits on the amount of financial compensation for pain and suffering. These limitations, called damage caps, are $445,500 for most cases unless the case involves death or permanent catastrophic injuries. In these cases, the cap is raised to $795,500. Michigan personal injury laws and statutory rules can be complex and confusing, if you need effective legal counsel you can trust, call us at 1.877.732.2491 or fill out the free consultation form in the sidebar to request a free review of your case.

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