Michigan Comparative Negligence in Auto Accidents

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Early last month a man from Bangor lost part of his left leg after his motorcycle collided with a van in Van Buren County. The van was driven by a man named Watkins, who had apparently stopped at the stop sign, and then moved through the intersection without seeing the motorcycle. The 62-year-old motorcyclist sustained many broken bones and one of his legs was amputated. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet. Watkins had his seat belt on and was not hurt. Who was to blame?

Sadly, these types of accidents are all too common. If you have been in an auto accident, it is important to know that in Michigan, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you are permitted to sue the party who was more negligent — or more at fault. Michigan is a state that recognizes comparative negligence. In this type of case, if you prevail, you can recover a percentage of your damages. These damages may include wages you have lost as a result of your injuries and damage to your property as a result of the accident. You can also collect damages based on pain, suffering and emotional distress.

It is also important to know, that in Michigan, in most cases you have three years from the date of the injury to sue the other party. Delays seeking help often result in loss of evidence necessary to your case. Additionally, certain tasks and paperwork must be completed within specified time periods.