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Understanding Damages in Michigan Personal Injury Cases

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moneyIf you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to damages for the harms you suffered. At Davis Law Center, our Michigan law firm will scrutinize the facts of your case and seek the compensation you deserve. We strongly believe in providing compassionate and competent legal guidance throughout the process. While we aim to settle every case in a fair and swift manner, we are not afraid to zealously advocate for your rights in the courtroom.

Establishing damages in personal injury cases can be challenging. In the context of personal injury claims, damages are defined as a sum of money awarded to an individual in compensation for a loss or injury.

In most cases, before any damages can be obtained, the person seeking damages must establish that his or her harm was caused by someone else’s negligence. Negligence is a failure of an individual or entity to exercise reasonable care that ends up causing an injury or death to someone else. Reasonable care is defined as how a prudent or sensible person would act under the same or similar circumstances.  In order to win on a negligence claim, the plaintiff must establish that he or she was owed a duty of care by the defendant, that the defendant breached this duty of care, and that the plaintiff suffered quantifiable damages as a result.

In general, there are two types of damages that are recognized in Michigan:  economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to damages for which money is a comparable substitute. These damages are designed to compensate the plaintiff and restore them to the condition in which they were prior to the accident. Economic damages typically include medical expenses, lost income and benefits, property damage, and other easily quantifiable damages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to damages that are harder to quantify through a monetary amount. These damages are sometimes known as damages for intangible losses. Some examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, disfigurement, and various forms of mental distress.

Under Michigan law, there are caps on non-economic damages in certain cases, such as in medical malpractice claims and product liability cases. For 2017, that cap is in the amount of $280,000.00. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule when a plaintiff’s injury is extremely serious. If one or more of the following exceptions apply, the cap increases to $500,000.00:  a) the plaintiff is hemiplegic, paraplegic, or quadriplegic, resulting in a total permanent functional loss of one or more limbs caused by a brain or spinal cord injury; b) the plaintiff has a permanently impaired cognitive ability, leaving him or her unable to make independent, responsible life decisions and permanently incapable of normal day-to-day living; c) there has been a permanent loss of or damage to a reproductive organ, resulting in the inability to procreate.  In products liability cases, the cap increases to $500,000.00 if the product caused death or permanent loss of a vital bodily function.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident that was not your fault, we can help. At Davis Law Center, our skilled Michigan injury lawyers are committed to helping you navigate the entire legal journey. While no amount of money can undo the harm that you have suffered, money can help deal with the bills that often pile up after such an incident. For your free, initial consultation, feel free to call us at 248-865-7740 or contact us online.

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