When considering how injury victims are compensated, there are many different laws, coverage plans, and other elements that can impact how a case is resolved. In Michigan, drivers who are involved in car accidents are covered by no-fault insurance plans. The state also has comparative negligence laws in place, which permit the reduction of compensation for plaintiffs who are partially at fault for their own injuries. These policies seem to contradict each other, and knowing when these laws apply can be confusing for injury victims. To understand how your compensation may be allotted in the event of an accident, it is important to consider the type of accident you were involved in, your degree of fault, and whether or not you are covered by no-fault insurance.
Comparative negligence is a type of liability law that allows benefits for plaintiffs who are partially at fault for their own injuries to be reduced in the event of an accident. A percentage of fault is considered for each person involved in an accident and their compensation is reduced according to this percentage. So, a person may be injured in an accident in which someone else’s negligence is primarily to blame, but the plaintiff is 30% at fault. In this case, a $10,000 compensation award would be reduced by 30% and the plaintiff would recover $7,000 in compensation.
Some states bar compensation completely for people who are over 50% at fault for an accident, but Michigan is not one of them — for financial damages. For non-economic damages, at-fault parties cannot recover compensation if they are over 50% liable.
Michigan is a no-fault state, so drivers’ insurance plans cover their own expenses when car accidents occur. So, rather than filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company and hoping you will be fairly compensated, drivers can file a claim with their own insurance company. In these cases, comparative negligence will likely not apply because fault does not come into play when determining how an injury victim is compensated. The amount of compensation you can recover will instead depend on the terms of your insurance policy and other details of your accident case.
The existence of no-fault insurance makes comparative negligence a rare consideration in Michigan car accident cases. Instead, this principle is generally considered in cases where no-fault insurance does not apply.
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