Understanding how comparative negligence may affect your Lansing accident claim

Lansing, MI – A 43-year-old Mulliken man was killed earlier this month after crashing into a car driven by a 17-year-old girl in Eagle Township. However, according to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, neither of them was in fact responsible for the tragedy. The accident was caused by a 76-year-old Eagle drunk driver who escaped unscathed.

It seems that the drunk driver was negligent while making a turn in front of the car driven by Livingston Thompson, who was driving east on West State Road, approaching South Grange Road. Thompson was forced to swerve to avoid a crash. He crossed the center line and couldn’t avoid a head-on collision with the westbound car driven by the girl. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. The teenage driver appeared unharmed, but she was taken to the ER by her mother as a precaution.

The old man was arrested for drunk driving and he may face vehicular manslaughter charges. Irrespective of that, the family of the deceased and the young girl will have to file civil claims to recover damages for the accident, and this is where comparative negligence comes in.

What is modified comparative negligence?

When someone is injured in any type of accident, to recover damages they must file a claim under the state’s tort laws. Michigan follows the modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, if you were injured in an accident you may recover damages if you were less than 50% to blame for the crash. If the insurance adjuster or the jury in a civil trial determines you were 51% or more to blame, you lost the right to claim financial compensation. 

If you have reason to believe you may be accused of negligence, you need to contact experienced Lansing car accident lawyers as soon as possible. Also, when talking to the insurance representative don’t give them any details and do not say you’re sorry as this can be interpreted as an admission of guilt. 

When presented with a claim, an insurance adjuster will look at all the facts to determine which of the parties was to blame and to what degree. For instance, if someone is injured in a crash caused by speeding, the driver who went over the speed limit is liable for damages. Yet, the adjuster will also look at the victim to see whether they were responsible in any way for what happened. Say the victim was a bit distracted at the time of the crash. Maybe they were texting or talking to a passenger in the vehicle. The adjuster will argue that their distraction was also a factor in the accident. Maybe the crash could have been avoided if the victim was focused on the road instead of their phone. 

As the victim, you know that it was entirely the speeding driver’s fault and the crash was unavoidable. Under the modified comparative negligence rule you will lose part of the damages you deserve. If the adjuster assigns you 20% of the blame, your total compensation will be reduced by that percentage. This can mean a lot of money if you sustain severe injuries. 

The value of your claim is calculated by adding all your medical expenses and your lost wages. You can also claim pain and suffering damages. Say your claim is worth $100,000. If you lose 20% of that, you will only get $80,000. 

Have you been injured in a broadside accident in the Lansing area? 

If you were recently injured in a car accident, the experienced attorneys at the Neumann Law Group are here for you. Our skilled accident lawyers will investigate the crash and fight for your rights. Through our dedicated representation, over the years we have secured significant compensation for our clients. To learn more and schedule a free initial consultation, call our office at 800-525-6386.

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