Hello. My name is John Alexander, and I am a personal injury attorney located in Oakland County, Michigan and serving statewide. Today I want to talk to you about a defense that the other side may have in your personal injury case called comparative negligence.
It is applicable in any type of case whether you filed an automobile accident case, the slip, trip and fall, construction case, the other side may say you are comparatively negligent. In other words, they will allege that you were partially, if not fully, at fault for the accident. The reason why the defense always tries to make this claim is that under Michigan law, if the plaintiff, that’s the person that was injured and sues, if they are 51% at fault, their case in terms of their pain and suffering damages, is thrown out. There is no case. So, please bear in mind if you are more than half at fault your case will be kicked out of court, but that really only goes to your pain and suffering and your non-economic claims.
With respect to any economic claims you have, such as wage loss, and then you could be 99% at fault but still recover that 1% of whatever economic damages that you have. Also, if you’ve been drinking, the law is very strict in this regard. If the plaintiff or the injured person has a blood alcohol level that is not condoned in the Motor Vehicle Code such as a.08, there is a presumption that you are more than half at fault just because your blood alcohol at a level that is against what the no-fault law says, .08, at a level that is prohibited in the motor vehicle code.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are a passenger in a car, front seat, back seat, you got your seat belt on, and you’ve had too much to drink. The defense is going to say, well, you were intoxicated and therefore, you should not be able to make a recovery. You are more than half at fault. But the other part of the law about comparative negligence and intoxication is that the intoxication also has to be a proximate cause of the accident. So, if you were sitting there, minding your own business in the backseat, then it really shouldn’t have any relevancy to your case. It may have relevancy though if the driver was intoxicated and you knew that and got in the car with him because you couldn’t think straight and you were intoxicated then there may be some relevancy.
Michigan Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Comparative Negligence
So anyway, comparative negligence is a serious claim on behalf of the defense attorneys and there are a lot of nuances to the law. So if you have any questions on these issues you can call me at 248-290-5600.