Generally, the at-fault driver’s car insurance pays for a crash victim’s pain and suffering after a car wreck in Michigan but there are other factors that can be at play.
What is pain and suffering defined as in Michigan?
The two main categories of damages in a car accident are “pain and suffering” damages (also known as non-economic damages) and economic damages. Economic damages are things like medical bills and wage loss. Economic damages have a precise dollar value. Pain and suffering damages do not. Different people value pain and suffering damages differently.
“Pain and suffering” is a legal phrase used to describe physical and emotional injuries caused by a car accident. Pain and suffering includes things like:
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- nerve pain
- muscle spasm
- broken bones
- panic attacks
How does a pain and suffering case work?
It usually works in one of these three ways:
Settlement without a lawsuit
Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney investigates the crash, interviews witnesses, and gathers evidence, such as medical bills, medical records, and police reports. Your attorney tells your story to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiates on your behalf. If the two sides agree on an amount, the case settles.
Settlement after a lawsuit, before trial
Your attorney files a lawsuit. Information is exchanged through a more formal legal process called discovery. Typically, the discovery process includes depositions and interrogatories (answering written questions under oath). The two sides negotiate as the case develops. If the two sides agree on settlement terms, the case settles.
Your attorney files a lawsuit, but the two sides cannot agree on an amount and the case goes to trial. The two sides present their evidence. The judge or jury listens to the evidence and decides (1) was the defendant driver at fault for the crash and (2) what is the value of your damages, including the non-economic–pain and suffering damages and the economic damages.
How much are my pain and suffering damages worth?
We can’t tell you that here because we don’t know the specifics of your case. The answer depends on many factors, such as:
- The severity of your injuries
- The duration of your injuries (temporary versus permanent)
- The degree to which your injuries are affecting your lifestyle
- The severity of the at-fault driver’s conduct (mistake versus recklessness)
- The evidence proving your injuries are from the crash (“causation”)
- The mental effects of the crash
- The character of the crash victim (likeable versus jerk)
- The amount of insurance
There are no maximums on pain and suffering damages in Michigan.
Besides pain and suffering, am I eligible for other insurance benefits?
Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may be eligible for other insurance benefits, including:
- Michigan no-fault benefits
- health insurance benefits
- property damage benefits
- short-term and long-term disability benefits
- bodily injury benefits
- uninsured motorist benefits
- underinsured motorist benefits
- Social Security Disability benefits
You should contact a lawyer to determine the benefits available to you.
If you want to know the value of your pain and suffering damages, or get more information about the other insurance benefits available to you, call or contact Conybeare Law Office now
Talking with an experienced Michigan car accident attorney can help you better understand your case’s value and your rights.
The knowledgeable lawyers at Conybeare Law Office will help you value your case and fight to get you the money you deserve.
To learn more about the legal services offered to our Michigan car accident clients, talk to our office today. Conybeare Law Office has offices in Saint Joseph and Kalamazoo, Michigan, and serves all of southwest Michigan and beyond. Call or contact us for a free consultation. We look forward to talking with you. Remember, if it’s not fair, call the bear.