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Does No-Fault Car Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering?


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What You Need to Know for Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages in Michigan

Michigan’s insurance law states that every owner of a car that is driven on a public highway must buy basic insurance coverages in order to register their vehicle and obtain license plates.

If an uninsured driver is involved in an accident, they will not be entitled to the benefits that no-fault insurance provides. Furthermore, drivers without the required coverage will have no personal protection from lawsuits for pain and suffering filed by injured accident victims.

What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover in Michigan?

In Michigan, there are two types of recoverable losses from a motor vehicle accident: economic losses and noneconomic losses. Pain and suffering from an automobile accident is considered a noneconomic loss.

If you are injured in an automobile accident, your no-fault insurance policy will cover certain economic damages only -- such as medical bills, loss of wages, replacement benefits, property damage, and funeral expenses in the event of a fatal accident. Depending on optional coverages, your insurance can also cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering are not covered by no-fault car insurance in Michigan.

How Do You Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering in Michigan?

Although pain and suffering are considered to be non-economic damages, it’s still possible to receive compensation for pain and suffering due to the severity of certain injuries.

Unfortunately, injuries are an unpleasant consequence of being in an auto accident, and the aftermath of being in a car crash often includes medical treatment and bodily pain. In some cases, the pain and suffering from severe injuries will require you to seek relief outside of the no-fault insurance system.

In order to recover damages for pain and suffering, it will be necessary to sue the at-fault driver in court and prove the following elements:

  • That the at-fault driver was negligent;

  • That you suffered an injury in the accident;

  • That your injury was caused by the at-fault driver’s negligence

  • That the injury resulted in death, serious impairment of a body function, or permanent or serious disfigurement.

If you are seeking compensation for pain and suffering and can prove all of the above elements, then you may be entitled to recover noneconomic damages, subject to a reduction of any comparable negligence on your behalf. Moreover, Michigan courts have routinely held that anyone seeking compensation for pain and suffering must provide medical evidence showing that complaints of pain and suffering are based on a physical injury.

According to Michigan law, if your pain and suffering are due to a serious impairment of a body function, you must show that the impairment affects your general ability to lead a normal life.

How Much Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Michigan?

The amount you can recover in Michigan depends on the circumstances of your case and the medical evidence presented. If your injuries are severe enough, you could be entitled to compensation.

There is no limit to the amount of damages that can be awarded to an injured victim of a car accident due to the negligence of an at-fault driver. If a court or jury awards an amount that exceeds the policy limits of the at-fault driver, the guilty party will need to pay the difference out of pocket or from their assets.

The term “pain and suffering” is used to describe the emotional distress, inconvenience, and life-altering suffering that the pain from a severe injury causes. When Michigan jurors are instructed to award damages for pain and suffering, the following elements are used when the evidence is justified: 

  • Physical pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish

  • Fright and shock

  • Anxiety

  • Denial of social pleasure and enjoyments

  • Embarrassment

  • Humiliation

  • Mortification

  • Future physical pain and suffering

  • Shame

If an injured victim presents evidence relating to future pain and suffering, the evidence must infer that the pain and suffering is reasonably certain to be experienced in the future. However, if the victim’s pain is constant, the jury may be allowed to include compensation for future pain and suffering although there is no proof of permanent physical injury.

No one likes to suffer with pain, especially when the hurting was caused by someone else. If you are suffering, you should be compensated for it, right? On one hand, Michigan has tried to make it somewhat easy to get economic damages in an accident by granting reimbursement for medical costs no matter who’s at fault; but on the other hand, Michigan’s no-fault insurance law makes it difficult to obtain noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, by requiring additional medical evidence or testimony.

Additionally, an injured victim may not know how to evaluate their pain and suffering, so they may not know how much compensation they are entitled to and how much they should sue for.

Should You Hire a Lawyer to Sue for Pain and Suffering?

Getting Help with Pain and Suffering After an Accident in Michigan

The personal injury attorneys at Goodman Acker can help you figure out a fair amount for your pain and suffering. If your case is complicated or an insurance company is giving you the runaround, you may want to hire a lawyer. This is especially true if you need to file a lawsuit in order to get the maximum settlement that you know you deserve.

Moreover, if you try to negotiate a settlement in your own case, you may be tempted to settle for less than it’s worth, because you may actually be feeling too much pain, anxiety or annoyance to be emotionally prepared to negotiate with the insurance company.

A Detroit personal injury lawyer can help you provide the medical evidence you need to win a pain and suffering lawsuit. The attorneys of Goodman Acker P.C. are committed to helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve. We are available to help and discuss the details of your case with you.

For a free consultation with a Goodman Acker Personal Injury lawyer, send us a message or call (248) 286-8100 today.