Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law in Michigan
If you have been a victim of another’s wrongdoing or negligence, you may have a personal injury case in Michigan.
Personal injury is a much generalized term to include any injury suffered because of the negligence of another person.
Common Personal Injury Cases
• Slip and fall – in this type of action, a person is usually injured as a result of a land owner or business owner’s failure to make a premises or parking lot safe for its intended use.
If you have been injured at someone else’s home or at a business establishment, you should contact an attorney to discuss this matter.
You might be in a position to receive money towards medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
• Animal bite – if you have been injured as a result of a bite or attack from a person’s pet, you may have a possible case.
In Michigan, as long as the animal was not provoked, the injured person may have a right to bring a suit, under a strict liability Dog Bite statute, or for other animals based on theories of negligence.
In the event that you have been injured by someone’s negligent handling of their own animal or pet, you should obtain medical help immediately, but don’t forget to get as much information as you can about the animal, the owner, and any witnesses that might have seen the incident, or know of that animal’s reputation for attacking people.
• Pedestrian-auto accident – if you are a pedestrian in Michigan, and have been hit by an automobile, motorcycle or truck, you may have a claim against an at fault driver for your injuries.
In general, pedestrians do have the right of way in Michigan, over motor vehicles. Of course, the pedestrian must watch out for their own safety, but if you have been injured as a result of a driver’s failure to pay attention, poor driving, or illegal driving, you may have a claim as a pedestrian.
Thousands of people are injured every day by drivers who are distracted by cell phones, radios, text messaging, eating or other distractions which prevent them from driving carefully.
In order to pursue a case in Michigan, one needs to maintain their own car insurance if driving their own car, not be more than 50% at-fault from the accident, and suffer what is known as a “threshold injury,” such as broken bones, herniated disks, etc.
Not every injury meets this threshold but recent changes in Michigan law, under the McCormick decision of the Supreme Court, makes it easier for victims to sue in Court.
Of course, you also need damages, but a case that meets the threshold, will have damages built in, such as Pain and Suffering, Emotional Distress, Excess Wage Loss, Out of Pocket Losses, etc.
Only after a consultation with an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney can you tell if you have a sustainable case.
• Bicycle-auto accident – Even while riding a bicycle, you may find yourself a victim of a negligent automobile driver.
In Michigan, you may be surprised to find out that bicyclists using the roadway are held to the exact same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers.
Wearing a quality bicycle safety helmet is important for bicyclists of all ages, but it is legally required for bicyclists under the age of 16.
If you are using the roadway, while bicycling, don’t forget to signal, follow all traffic control devices, and follow all the rules of the road as if you were driving a vehicle.
Even with these precautions, you may find yourself injured as a result of another driver’s negligent actions.
• Products liability – the products we use every day are meant to be safe, but if you find that you have been injured, through no fault of your own, as a result of a potentially defective product, you might have a case in Michigan.
The laws of products liability have been evolving over hundreds of years, and technology has made the things we use safer today than even a decade ago.
But, it is possible that a defective product, either malfunctioning or a design defect, could lead to serious injuries to a user, bystander, or child.
If you feel that any product that you have used has malfunctioned leading to injury or property damage, you should consult with an attorney right away.
It is important to try and preserve the product in the condition in which it last existed, as to not spoil any evidence.
• Other personal injury – there are many other ways that people get injured, some of which are accidents, and others are at the hands of a negligent or intentional act of another person.
Not every personal injury would justify a formal legal proceeding, but it is always best to consult with an experienced attorney in personal injury law to verify that you have or don’t have a viable case.
• Wrongful death – Unfortunately, some personal injuries lead to the worst results.
Any time a person is killed as a result of another’s negligent actions, the case that would be brought on behalf of the deceased person would be considered a wrongful death case.
These cases cannot be maintained in the name of the deceased person, but rather through a duly authorized representative of the estate, as appointed through the probate court.
Often, the family of the decedent is the beneficiary of any proceeds of a wrongful death case, and these cases can be maintained in either the probate court or the circuit court, where the decedent resided.
The appointed personal representative can then order records, hire an attorney, and deal with all of the deceased person’s assets and debts.
The proceeds of a wrongful death suit can be divided between the estate, which technically would be property owned by the decedent based on “conscious pain and suffering,” and the remaining family members for “loss of society and companionship.”
A judge will ultimately determine what each family member should receive from the settlement or verdict, or the family could agree on those figures.
The death of a loved one is never easy, especially if someone caused or contributed to that death.
These cases are tragic for all those involved, but negligence must not be overlooked when it causes the death of a loved one.
This article was written by:
Timothy J. Kilsz
Klisz Law Office, PLLC
39111 W. Six Mile Rd.
Livonia, Michigan 48152
Phone: 313.402.0853 Fax: 734.953.9006