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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reopening the Way to Pain and Suffering Compensation for Car Accident Victims

The 1973 Michigan no-fault insurance act sets the threshold for compensation for noneconomic damages in a car accident lawsuit, including pain and suffering, as being limited to cases where the injured person has suffered death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement." The statute defines serious impairment of body function as "an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function that affects the person's general ability to lead his or her normal life."

Then, in 2004, the Supreme Court of Michigan decided in Kreiner v. Fischer that a car accident victim could only get compensation for pain and suffering if an injury affected the ability of a person to "conduct the course or trajectory of his or her entire normal life." In other words, an injury had to be almost completely crippling in order to enable compensation for noneconomic damages related to a car accident injury.

However, the Michigan Supreme Court on Saturday overturned that restriction, saying it far exceeded the actual statutory language of Michigan's no-fault law. In its decision in the case of McCormick v. Carrier, the court objected to the previous court's insertion of "two terms that are not included in the statute or the dictionary definitions of the relevant statutory language: 'trajectory' and 'entire'" [emphasis in original]. Of the latter addition, the majority decision went so far as to say it was "apparently created out of thin air."

Although insurance companies have already condemned the ruling and promised to raise rates for Michigan drivers, the ruling promises that many people whose lives have been affected by a car accident will now be able to get compensation for their injuries.

If you live in Michigan and have suffered a serious personal injury in a car accident, the personal injury lawyers of the Detroit office of The Cochran Firm may be able to help you pursue compensation. To learn more, please contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 1:18 PM

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The Cochran Firm handles Civil Litigation and Criminal Defense claims for clients throughout the United States of America. The information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship.Please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

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