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Michigan Negligence Laws

Not only did you have to deal with the insurance and car repair hassle of getting rear-ended leaving the Red Wings game, but your neck still hurts from the accident. It was that other guy’s fault you’re injured, so do you have a negligence claim? If you’re wondering how these claims work and if there are state laws regarding how much you can get for your injuries, this article is a brief summary of the negligence laws in Michigan.

General Negligence Laws

The legal concept of "negligence" is central to most personal injury cases. When someone fails to exercise an expected degree of care, and that failure results in an injury, that person is said to be negligent. Michigan negligence laws recognize "comparative negligence," in which recovery of damages is reduced proportionately to the plaintiff's own negligence.

Negligence Laws in Michigan

State negligence laws can vary. The basics of Michigan negligence laws are listed in the following chart.

Code Section

None

Comparative Negligence

For economic damages, award is reduced proportionately to plaintiff's negligence even if greater than 50%. For non-economic damages, negligence greater than 50% bars any recovery. (§600.2959)

Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery

-

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes; 600.2925c

Uniform Act

-

Negligence Cases

While lawsuits for negligence can cover many different scenarios, in order to win in court you must prove all of the same elements of a negligence case:

  • Duty: the defendant must have owed you a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the defendant must have failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: you would not have been injured but for this failure;
  • Proximate Cause: this specific failure (and not something else) must have caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you must have actually been injured and suffered some loss. 

For example, one of the above elements is "damages." This means you must have suffered damages (injuries, loss, etc.) in order for the defendant to be held liable. Even if you can prove that the defendant failed to meet his or her duty of care, you can not collect damages if you didn't suffer any injury or loss.

Michigan Negligence Laws: Related Resources

With some states considering sweeping tort reform, state negligence laws could change quickly. You can contact a Michigan personal injury attorney if you would like legal assistance with an injury claim. You may also FindLaw's negligence section for additional articles and resources.

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