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How comparative fault works in Michigan

| Jul 12, 2021 | car accidents |

Filing a personal injury claim with an auto insurance company isn’t always straightforward after a motor vehicle accident. Some states have at-fault laws, which means the one who caused the damage has to pay through their provider. However, the at-fault party can also claim that the other driver played a role in causing their injury.

Basic negligence laws in Michigan

Negligence means that a party failed to act in a reasonably safe manner that resulted in injury. For example, if a driver sped through a red light and hit another vehicle, it would be considered negligent.

Michigan is a no-fault state, which means each driver must use their own insurance to pay for damages. Only serious car accident cases, such as those resulting in severe injury or death, are considered for court. The plaintiff must prove that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care and caused the injury.

Type of comparative negligence

Many states enact some type of comparative negligence rules to personal injury cases. Comparative fault means the court assigns a percentage of fault to each party, which is deducted from the desired compensation.

Comparative negligence is further broken down into pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and slight and gross. Michigan applies modified comparative fault, or the 51% rule, which prohibits drivers from collecting non-economic damages if they are above 50% at fault.

Under pure comparative negligence, drivers found at 99% at fault can still seek compensation. Only South Dakota applies the slight and gross rule, which means the plaintiff’s actions must be slight in comparison to the defendant. Only five states and Washington, D.C., apply contributory negligence, meaning the injured party receives no compensation regardless of fault percentage.

Most insurance companies work with the plaintiff out of court, but they may not offer fair settlements. If a driver thinks they aren’t getting a fair settlement, a lawyer may be able to negotiate on their behalf.

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