Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C. | A-M Law | Attorneys | Counselors

Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C.

Insurance Defense Counsel In Jurisdictions Throughout Michigan

What if a car crash plaintiff is partially to blame for a wreck?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Vehicle Accident Defense

Michigan has a relatively expansive no-fault insurance system that can help people cover injury expenses after a crash. However, no-fault reform has altered how much insurance coverage motorists must carry, and those changes can potentially mean that someone involved in a crash incurs expenses they cannot cover with insurance alone.

Those with major losses related to car crash injuries sometimes need to pursue personal injury lawsuits. The civil courts can award someone compensation for medical bills, lost income and other financial consequences incurred because of crash-related injuries. Some people feel very confident about pursuing litigation, while others may worry about the outcome of going to civil court.

For example, there are many scenarios in which the plaintiff filing a lawsuit recognizes that while they didn’t cause the crash, they may be partially responsible for their harm. Perhaps they were hit by a drunk driver, but they didn’t have their headlights on during the rainstorm or failed to use a turn signal at an intersection. How could that partial responsibility affect someone’s options after a crash?

Comparative fault can reduce compensation awards

The state legislature in Michigan recognizes that collisions are complicated incidents in which everyone involved could have some degree of culpability. The state has adopted a modified comparative fault statute that applies during any personal injury, property damage or wrongful death lawsuit.

The defendant for the lawsuit would need to assert that the actions of the plaintiff contributed to the crash. If the courts agree with that claim, they would designate a percentage of fault to each party. If the plaintiff’s fault is 51% or higher, they may not be able to pursue non-economic damages at all. If the courts assign them a lower level of personal responsibility, the percentage of fault they carry will ultimately determine how much compensation they just receive.

The courts will reduce what an individual secures in a lawsuit based on their own percentage of responsibility for the incident. We have the parts determine that someone is 10% at fault for a crash, they would only receive 90% of the compensation awarded to them at the end of the lawsuit. In other words, even when someone may hold a small amount of responsibility for a crash, it is often worthwhile assertively pursuing an insurance claim and possibly also a personal injury lawsuit.

Understanding the rules that govern fault during crash-related personal injury claims may help people more effectively pursue the compensation they need after a Michigan wreck, regardless of whether they are totally blameless or not.