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drunk driving

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For years, the top causes of Michigan car accidents have been speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving. According to the most recent data from the Michigan State Police, of the 937 auto accident fatalities that occurred in Georgia in 2017, alcohol was involved in 320 accidents. Almost a third of those fatal Michigan DUI accidents occurred in Wayne County, Oakland County, or Kent County.

While driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has long been against the law in Michigan, motorists continue to get behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink. If someone causes an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may face criminal charges. However, even a successful criminal prosecution against a drunk driver will not likely result in any significant restitution being paid to the accident victims. If a victim of a Michigan DUI accident hopes to recover financial compensation for their injuries, they can pursue a Michigan personal injury or wrongful death case against the at-fault driver.

In either a personal injury or wrongful death case, a plaintiff must be able to establish that the defendant violated a duty of care that was owed to them, and that the defendant’s violation of that duty resulted in their injury or the death of their loved one. Because there is a criminal statute that prohibits drunk driving, personal injury plaintiffs may be able to more easily prove their case of negligence against an alleged drunk driver. Thus, a plaintiff may be left only with the need to establish that the defendant’s actions were the legal cause of their injury.

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golf cart


Last year, the state supreme court issued an opinion in a Michigan personal injury case requiring the court to determine the appropriate analysis to use in cases involving injuries that were obtained while engaging in a recreational activity.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff was playing a game of golf with the defendant. During the game, the defendant allegedly ran over the plaintiff’s foot with the golf cart the two were using to navigate the course. Both the plaintiff and the defendant offered very different versions of the facts.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant’s negligence caused his injuries. The plaintiff asked the trial court to hold that the defendant was liable as a matter of law. The defendant argued that, because the two were engaged in a recreational activity, he could only be held responsible if he was found to have engaged in “reckless misconduct.” Because the plaintiff did not claim that the defendant was reckless, the defendant argued that the case should be dismissed.

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bus accident

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In a recent personal injury case before a Michigan appeals court, the plaintiff sued a school district after the plaintiff’s car crashed with a school bus. The plaintiff filed a claim of negligence against the bus driver and argued that the school district was vicariously liable. The school district argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred due to government immunity.

Governmental Immunity

A governmental agency is generally immune from lawsuits, although certain exceptions apply. If a government employee is engaged in a governmental function, both the employee as well as the agency are generally protected by immunity.

The Motor Vehicle Exception

The plaintiff claimed that the case fell under the motor-vehicle exception. Under MCL 691.1405, a governmental agency is liable for injuries and property damages that result from “the negligent operation by any officer, agent, or employee of the government agency, of a motor vehicle of which the governmental agency is owner.” In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove duty, breach, causation, and damages, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving a negligence case.

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drunk driving

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Despite decades of government programs discourage drinking and driving, drunk driving represents one of the major causes of all Michigan car accidents. Indeed, it is estimated that approximately 27% of all serious Michigan car accidents are caused by drunk or drugged driving. Michigan lawmakers take drunk driving seriously, and have enacted a strict set of penalties to punish those found guilty of drunk driving. However, criminal cases are more concerned with punishing an alleged drunk driver for violating the law than providing financial assistance to injury victims. Thus, criminal proceedings often provide little solace for accident victims.

While a criminal case against a drunk driver may not provide much help to an accident victim, anyone who has been injured in a Michigan DUI accident may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the allegedly drunk driver through a civil personal injury lawsuit. If a crash results in the death of an accident victim, the surviving family members of the deceased may pursue a Michigan wrongful death claim.

In the event that the defendant dies as a result of the accident, injured parties are not without a remedy. This is because Michigan car accident victims can name the estate of an allegedly negligent driver in either a personal injury or wrongful death case.

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arm injury

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In a recent case before a Michigan appeals court, the court considered whether Mercedes-Benz could be held liable after the plaintiff fell on a display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Evidently, the plaintiff, an auto dealer from Pennsylvania, attended Mercedes-Benz’s press conference, during which a presenter rode an autonomous vehicle onto the stage.

The next day, the plaintiff went to get a better look at the autonomous vehicle which was on display. While he was looking at the vehicle, he tripped over a plexiglass barricade and landed on his right shoulder. He had surgery on his shoulder shortly before the auto show, and his arm was already in a sling at the time. Two men, whom the plaintiff believed were Mercedes-Benz employees, tried to help him up by pulling on his arm. He eventually left and found out that he had re-torn his right rotator cuff, requiring a second shoulder surgery.

The plaintiff sued Mercedes-Benz, seeking compensation for his injuries. He claimed that the company was negligent in putting up the plexiglass barrier, that it breached a portion of its contract by failing to make the exhibit safe, and that the two men that helped him up were negligent in pulling on the plaintiff’s arm. The defendant argued that the plexiglass barrier was an open and obvious hazard, and therefore, it was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

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hospital bed

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The allegations laid out in a plaintiff’s complaint are the basis for the claim. Thus, the manner in which a case is pled can have an enormous impact on how it proceeds through the court system. Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion requiring the court to determine whether the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint were medical malpractice claims or ordinary negligence claims. If you have questions of this nature, be sure to reach out to a Michigan medical malpractice attorney.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a hospital after she was injured while being treated at the hospital. Evidently, the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital after she had an aneurysm, causing her to suffer a stroke and cardiac arrest. The plaintiff claimed that while she was being treated at the hospital, an aide helped move her to the bathroom and dropped her twice in the process. She claimed that she suffered a torn rotator cuff as a result, requiring her to undergo multiple surgeries, as well as bleeding in her brain.

In her complaint, the plaintiff argued that the hospital was negligent in several ways, including in failing to provide an adequate number of nurses to assist the plaintiff, failing to properly train the nurse, and failing to ensure the plaintiff’s safety. The plaintiff filed the claims against the hospital within three years of her admission at the hospital.

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In 2011, the plaintiff was hit and killed by a train in Wayne County, Michigan. His representatives sued the train operators responsible for the crossing where the accident happened. After a trial, the jury found the defendants not liable for the plaintiff’s death. Now the plaintiff is asking for a new trial.

Grounds for a New Trial 

In federal court, there are many reasons that a court can grant a new trial. These include that the verdict is against the weight of the evidence, there were substantial errors in the admission or exclusion of evidence, or other reasons that leads the court to believe that the trial was unfair. The plaintiff here puts forth five different arguments as to why there should be a new trial.

The first argument that the plaintiff makes is that it was improper for the court to allow in evidence about the plaintiff’s medications. Specifically, the medical examiner’s testimony that the deceased had an antidepressant that can cause suicidal ideations. The plaintiff can only get a new trial by proving that the court abused its discretion by allowing this evidence to be heard by the jury. Here, the Eastern District Court of Michigan held that the evidence was properly allowed in.

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car accident

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When one party sues another, sometimes there may be other parties that also want to be part of the lawsuit. There are specific laws that govern who may do so and when a party can join into a lawsuit. The Eastern District of Michigan District Court recently heard a case that illustrates this concept and gives an example of when it may apply.

No-Fault Personal Injury Protection

Michigan is a “no-fault” state. That means insurance policies will pay insured individuals after a car accident no matter who was at fault. In this case, a driver had personal injury protection benefits through a commercial insurer. Personal injury protection is meant to pay for injuries suffered by the driver after a car accident. The plaintiff was later in a car accident where he was injured. As part of treating his injuries, he saw physicians at a Michigan medical provider. Instead of paying the healthcare provider directly, the plaintiff assigned his right to collect on the bills to the healthcare provider. Now, the injured driver is suing his insurance company to collect the benefits he is owed. Thus, the healthcare provider filed a motion to join the lawsuit against the insurer to collect on the money they are owed for the healthcare services.

The trial court dismissed the healthcare provider’s action under recently decided Michigan case law that held that healthcare providers do not have their own cause of action against insurance companies for personal injury protection payments. Further, the court held that under the insurance policy itself, the consent of the defendant is necessary in order for the collection rights to be assigned.

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car insurance

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When you buy insurance, you think that you will be covered in the event of the accident. This is especially true if you answer all the questions truthfully and continue to pay your premiums. However, sometimes insurance companies may see things differently and try to get out of paying the money that you are owed. If this happens to you, you should contact a knowledgeable Michigan personal injury to help you hold the insurance company accountable. In a case recently heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the court upheld a ruling that forced the insurance company to pay the damages that the injured plaintiff was entitled to.

The Insurance Policy


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Owners of property have a duty of reasonable care to keep visitors safe. It doesn’t matter whether the property is owned by a friend, business, or the government. While nothing can ever be 100% safe, the definition of what a “reasonable” amount of safety entails will depend on the circumstances. For example, a grocery store will be held to a different standard than a construction site. This principle is called premises liability. If you have been injured on the property of another you need to contact a knowledgeable Michigan premises liability attorney to help you decide if the property owner should be held accountable.

Premises Liability

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