Michigan Auto Accident Victims May Have New Lawsuit Options
Introduction - What is this new law?Were you seriously injured in a Michigan auto accident and told you have "no case" by a lawyer? If you are one of hundreds of Michigan residents who has been seriously injured in a car accident that wasn't your fault- yet you were told you had "no case" by a Michigan attorney because of the state's strict auto accident threshold law - your legal rights are now restored with the Michigan Supreme Court's ruling in McCormick v. Carrier. Read on to get your questions answered on how this law affects auto accident victims.
Q. What does McCormick v. Carrier mean for injured Michigan car accident victims?A. McCormick v. Carrier is a 2010 Michigan Supreme Court case that has overturned Michigan's previous auto accident threshold law, based upon the 2004 case Kreiner v. Fischer. McCormick v. Carrier restores important legal rights that had been stripped away from Michigan residents who had been seriously injured in car accidents but were told they had "no case" under Kreiner.
Under McCormick v. Carrier, people who seek compensation for injuries and pain and suffering have a better chance at a fair recovery. McCormick says a person can qualify for pain and suffering damages if his or her normal life is affected -- not completely altered by a car accident as Kreiner required.
Now, Michigan residents who have suffered very real injuries from car accidents and have been told they had "no case" by personal injury attorneys, there will be a second chance to recover compensation. This includes injuries that did not require long periods of time off of work or years of medical treatment
Q.Who are these Michigan car accident victims that were told (before August 1, 2010) that they had no case?A. Before August 1, 2010 and the release of McCormick v. Carrier, it was very difficult for car accident victims with serious injuries to bring personal injury lawsuits and therefore, many were told they did not have "good" auto accident cases by Michigan lawyers. These were people who suffered very real and significant personal injuries such as fractures, bulging and herniated disks, even surgeries to the ankle, knee, and spine surgeries to the back and neck. These people were completely innocent and did not cause their car accidents. These people missed weeks, even months, from work after being injured. Many could only return to work with constant pain and medical restrictions. These people, in short, continued to suffer pain and physical limitations for years after their car crashes. Now, these people have a second chance.
Q. Why was it so difficult for car accident victims to bring pain and suffering lawsuits in Michigan before August 1, 2010?A. Before McCormick v. Carrier came down, attorneys were concerned about their ability to meet Michigan's auto accident threshold law of serious impairment of body function. That's when Michigan had the worst auto accident law in the country, embodied by a Michigan Supreme Court case called Kreiner v. Fischer. Kreiner required peoples' entire lives be altered by personal injury from an auto accident before they could recover any compensation from a pain and suffering lawsuit.
As a result of Kreiner v. Fischer, Michigan residents with serious injuries, but who made good recoveries, or who had tried to return to work with pain and medical restrictions within months of their car accidents, had their legitimate cases dismissed from the courts. The law basically said, "Pain doesn't count under Kreiner. If you were going back to work within months of a car accident, how could it really be a serious impairment that alters the entire course of your life?"
Q. I think I may have a car accident case, but I'm unsure because of the law change. What should I do?A. If you've been told that you have "no case" by a Michigan auto accident attorney after being injured in any type of motor vehicle accident within the last THREE YEARS, your important legal rights have now been restored. Keep in mind, there is a three-year statute of limitations for car accident victims to file lawsuits seeking compensation in Michigan. So if a lawyer has told you that under the old law, you did not have a case, you should discuss your legal rights with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.