In car accident cases, it can be difficult to determine who exactly is at fault. While car accident victims themselves may be partially to blame for an accident, they still may be able to recover compensation under Michigan law.
For that reason, you should never let concerns about your own fault affect whether you decide to consult with an attorney after a car accident. A Michigan car accident lawyer at Fieger Law can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you may still be able to recover compensation. Our case consultations are completely free and offered at no risk to prospective clients – there’s no reason to wait.
How Fault and Liability are Determined in Car Accident Cases
Oftentimes, car accidents are caused by more than one contributing factor, and it’s rare that car accidents are caused by just one thing. After an accident occurs, a personal injury lawyer can assist an accident victim by investigating the cause of an accident and determining who exactly is at fault. From there, your car accident lawyer in Michigan can assist you in pursuing compensation from whoever may owe it to you for causing the accident.
Comparative Negligence in Car Accidents
But what if the accident victim themselves contributed to the accident? For example, consider the following: you’re in a hurry and running late to work, so you are speeding slightly and decide to pass a car on the right-hand side. Even though you usually wouldn’t pass on the right, the left lane is clogged and there’s an opening on the right, so you take it. As soon as you move to pass the car, the driver, who is texting and under the influence of substances, veers into the side of your car without looking to see if the lane is clear.
In that accident, the other driver might argue that you contributed to the accident by speeding and moving to pass on the right. While potentially negligent in a very small sense, your negligence is drastically outweighed by the other driver’s negligence for driving under the influence and completely failing to check if the lane was clear.
When these situations occur, a court asks a judge or jury to assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in a case. This is known as “comparative negligence.”
Michigan’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
After percentages of fault are assigned, a plaintiff’s damages are accordingly reduced by the percentage of fault they contributed to the accident. For example, in the previously described case, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages but determined to be 15 percent at fault, you would receive $85,000 instead.
Michigan law follows a modified comparative negligence rule, codified at MCL § 600.2559, which provides that a plaintiff’s comparative negligence is “capped” at 50 percent. That means if a plaintiff is 50 percent at fault or more, they cannot recover any damages at all. While the previous example would be unlikely to yield a 50 percent assignment of fault to the plaintiff, some cases are affected by the comparative negligence rules in Michigan.
Why Car Accident Victims Should Consult an Attorney
We understand that comparative negligence is a difficult and perplexing concept, but we’re committed to ensuring that our clients have a full understanding of how the law affects their case. After meeting with one of our car accident lawyers, Michigan accident victims should fully understand their options for how to proceed.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer Today
Our award-winning lead attorney Geoffrey Fieger and his team of lawyers are known across the country for their work on car accident cases. We’ve been assisting Michigan accident victims and their families for more than 70 years, and we’ve secured more than 165 verdicts and settlements worth more than $1 million.
Even though our experience can’t guarantee success in your case, it does show that we know what we’re talking about, and that we’re ready to fight for you.
To get started, contact us today to set up a free consultation on your prospective car accident case.
This content has been reviewed and approved by lawyers in the offices of Fieger Law.