Under Michigan no-fault law, MCLA 500.3135, there are two main categories of damages that you are entitled to against the driver who caused your accident:
#1 Economic Damages
Economic damages are just as they are called…damages for your economic loss. If you were employed on the date of the accident, you will likely be losing wages as a result of not being able to work. As previously discussed in other blogs, you are entitled to 85% of your wages up to the statutory maximum (approximately $6,000 as of the writing of this blog) for the first three years following your accident. [This, of course, is predicated upon your doctor disabling you from working as a result of your auto accident related injuries.] If you earned in excess of approximately $85,000 on the date of the accident, you have an excess economic loss claim.
What is an Excess Economic Loss Claim?
If 85% of your wage loss exceeds the statutory maximum ($6,000 as of the date of the writing of this blog) then you have an excess economic loss claim for the first three years following your accident. That means that you can seek whatever amount of wage loss that you have above and beyond the Michigan no-fault maximum against the at fault driver. This is often overlooked by inexperienced injury attorneys. Additionally, and also referred to as an “excess economic loss claim”, is wage loss that occurs beyond the three year limit under Michigan no-fault law. If you are considered permanently disabled from working as a result of your auto accident injuries, you are entitled to excess economic loss (beyond the first three years following your accident) until your expected age of retirement. The expected age of retirement is usually based upon national averages or a person’s type of work and physical capabilities etc. The experienced injury lawyers at Femminineo Law hire nationally renowned experts who will testify on your behalf in court to ensure that you are fully compensated for your economic losses.
#2 Non-Economic Damages
These damages are less easy to calculate and are always highly debated in Michigan Courts. They include pain, suffering, fright, shock, embarrassment, humiliation, depression, stress and anxiety as well as permanent serious disfigurement. In order to be able to recover these types of damages, you must meet the Michigan no-fault standard which is “a serious impairment of an important body function that affects your general ability to lead your normal life”. We must prove that the injured party:
- Has an impairment that is “objectively manifested” meaning it must be able to been seen or recognized by a person examining the injured person (MCLA 500.3135(5)(a))
- Has an “impairment of an important body function” and that body function is one that is important and significant to the person who is injured (MCLA 500.3135(5)(b))
- Has an impairment of an important body function “that affects the injured person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life” (MCLA 500.3135(5)©). This standard is “person-specific” meaning it is not the same for everyone. Each injured person’s individual life and lifestyle is different and the affect that an accident has upon one’s life varies from person to person.
What if There is a Question About Who is at Fault for Causing My Accident?
There are often debates about who caused an accident. If this is happening in your case, can you still recover damages? The answer is that you may still recover non-economic damages (pain and suffering type damages) if you are determined to be 50% or less at fault for causing your accident. If you are determined to be 50% or less at fault for causing your accident, you may recover your non-economic damages minus the percentage that you are determined to be at fault for causing the accident. However, if you are determined to be 51% at fault or greater, you are precluded from recovering non-economic damages. Interestingly, you may still recover excess economic loss damages even if you are determined to be 51% or more at fault for causing the accident (reduced, of course, by your percentage of fault). At Femminineo Law, we utilize nationally renowned accident reconstruction experts who help you prove your case against the driver who caused your accident.
How and When do I Bring a Lawsuit in Michigan Against the At-fault Driver?
You have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit within three years from the date of your accident, your case is barred by the Michigan Statute of Limitations (with limited exceptions for minors etc). If you have been involved in an accident, you should contact us immediately or call (24/7 at 855.65.CRASH) so that we may start your case and protect your rights.