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The Flint Journal & Genesee County Bar Association’s “Ask the Attorney” Column


Q. I was injured by a drunk driver in an auto accident. Can I sue the driver for my injuries?

A. If you are injured in an auto accident in Michigan due to the negligence of another person, your own no-fault insurance company usually pays the benefits for your lost wages, medical bills and replacement services. If the negligent driver’s actions resulted in a serious impairment of an important body function that affected your ability to lead your normal life or resulted in permanent serious disfigurement, the Michigan statute states that you are also entitled to collect additional monies from the negligent driver for your pain and suffering. For the past six years, Michigan courts were often requiring proof that an injury caused catastrophic and permanent changes to an accident victim’s way of life in order to collect against a negligent or drunk driver. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled this month in a 4-3 decision (with Justice Young, Markman and Corrigan dissenting) that an auto accident victim does not need to prove that a negligent driver completely and permanently destroyed the person’s way of life. Instead, to prove a serious impairment of body function, the statute requires proof that the accident affected for some time the person’s general ability to live his or her normal life in order to recover from the negligent or drunk driver. If you have questions regarding how the law applies to you, please contact us for a free consultation.

Atty. Robert J. MacDonald
–September 2010 column