“Personal injury” is a broad term for a legal claim arising from a physical or emotional injury caused by misconduct. In legal circles, personal injury is also known as “tort” law, a French word for “wrong.” In this area of Michigan law, a person gets reimbursed when carelessness, recklessness or intentional misconduct by someone else causes your injury.
An automobile accident or medical negligence are classic examples of personal injury. For instance, if someone rear-ends the back of your car stopped for a red light and you are injured, the rear-ending driver has committed a tort. Under the law, the person causing the accident is referred to as the “tortfeasor” (French for “wrongdoer”). In the U.S. legal system, a wrongdoer is called a “defendant” in a lawsuit, and a person injured by the wrongdoer is called a “plaintiff” in a lawsuit or “claimant” before a lawsuit.
State law usually governs a personal injury claim or lawsuit, though federal law can apply in limited circumstances. For instance, an injury suffered on federal property (such as injury to a patient at a federally funded medical clinic or at a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital) may be governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) – a federal law. Similarly, severe injuries suffered in an airline crash may be governed by federal law or by an international treaty.
A person must sustain an injury from a wrongdoer to bring a personal injury case – property damage alone, such as damage to car, isn’t enough. Likewise, if you slip and fall because of carelessness by a property owner but you suffered no physical injury, there is no recognized legal claim in Michigan.
In Michigan, how much you can recover is largely determined by the legislature and the courts, but monetary recovery is generally broken down into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the direct loss from your injury and are typically easily calculated. Types of economic damages include:
Non-economic damages are not as easy to determine because they are not easily quantifiable. Types of non-economic damages include:
Many factors are involved in determining whether a personal injury case is viable to pursue. First and foremost, it must be established that you were injured and the damages were caused by the negligence of someone else. If actions or conduct of an individual is found to deviate from how a “reasonable person” would have acted, they may be considered negligent and you may have a claim for the resulting harms and losses.
There is no equation that determines what one can recover in personal injury claims in Michigan. Monetary resolutions vary depending on the severity of the injury and the extent of the harms and losses resulting from the injury. For example, a person who is severely brain injured and unable to perform normal activities of daily living, relying upon others for almost everything as a result of negligence, would likely have a larger recovery than someone with a few broken bones.
In all personal injury matters it is essential that action be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate and determine exactly what happened, and file a lawsuit before the legal deadline (“statute of limitations”) expires. If you or a loved one suffered injury because of misconduct by someone else, contact Buchanan Firm at 800-272-4080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An initial consultation is free. If we accept your case after the consultation, we will work on a contingent-fee basis, meaning we get paid for our legal services only if you obtain money (similar to a commission on the result).
Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to reimbursement of your harms and losses. But a lawsuit must be filed in a court before the legal deadline (statute of limitations) expires. Our Muskegon, Michigan personal injury team will fight tirelessly for you, at no additional cost. We are in it to win it for you.