An injured person must prove the defendant was negligent in order to collect damages. A rear-end collision or running a red light are clear negligent acts. Many others are as well including: speeding too fast; failure to yield, drunk driving or many others.
In some cases, the defendant will blame the collision on the injured party (Plaintiff) or other 3rd parties. Michigan is a comparative negligence state. In order to be successful, you must demonstrate that the defendant was greater than 50% at fault for the collision.
By statute, in order to collect on an injury case you must demonstrate an objective injury that affected an injured person’s ability to lead their normal life. An MRI can demonstrate an injury. A physician can perform surgery to correct an injury.
Practice tip: Many times during a lawsuit, the defendant will blame the injury on a pre-existing condition. Someone that visits a chiropractor prior to a collision and has a four level cervical spinal fusion after a collision, is that a pre-existing condition? Plaintiff’s would argue it is a new injury or aggravation of a pre-existing one.
The first place to look for insurance coverage is the liability coverage of the negligent driver. Prior to July 2020, the state minimum required liability coverage was $20,000. Where else can you look for insurance coverage?
1. The owner of the automobile may have their own policy. Pursuant to statute, the owner of an automobile is liable for the negligent acts of the driver if they were given permissive use to drive the car.
2. Another at fault driver may have a policy
3. Underinsured motorist coverage. This is coverage through the injured person’s own policy. If the Defendant driver and/or owner only have a $20,000 policy, then an injured person could look to their own policy for additional coverage. If the injured person had a $250,000 Underinsured Motorist policy, then they would have $230,000 in Underinsured motorist coverage ($250,000 minus the Defendant’s $20,000 policy)