This area of law seeks to address the direct violation of another’s legal rights, for which the law provides a legal remedy, when an individual suffers an injury or premature death due to an incident and/or accident caused by the negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional acts of another.
Personal Injury Questions & Answers
1. What is Personal Injury Law and what is its real intended purpose?
Generally speaking, Personal Injury Law is that body of law that seeks to help redress harmful or wrongful actions taken against another, which may result in serious bodily injury of some form, and oftentimes results in premature and wrongful death, by way of an individual or business entities’ intentional, reckless, negligent or careless actions.
2. Are you required to pay taxes (i.e. state or federal) on any money damages that you might receive as a result of being injured?
No. Generally speaking, money damages awarded or recovered by any person who successfully pursues and a personal injury claim or formal lawsuit , by way of receiving a settlement, verdict or judgment is not considered or classified as being “earned income” and thus is not taxable under the U.S. Tax Code.
3. In the State of Michigan, is it a crime, as either a legal or registered owner of a motor vehicle, to operate or drive your vehicle or to allow others to drive your when it is not properly insured?
Yes. If you are either a legal or registered owner of a motor vehicle within the State of Michigan, and allow that vehicle to be operated by you or any other person without the required, basic Michigan Auto No-Fault Insurance, then that constitutes a criminal wrongdoing; in specific, the misdemeanor of “Driving Without Insurance”, which is punishable with up to one year in jail and/or the imposing of fines of $200-500, plus court costs.
4. In the State of Michigan, if you’re either the registered or legal owner of a motor vehicle, and while operating said motor vehicle, you are involved in an auto accident that was not your fault and you sustain either minor or serious bodily injuries including death, will you be allowed to sue or recover any form of monetary damages against the responsible party.
No! The law in the State of Michigan bars recovery of any sort, to any person who is injured in any way (i.e. via the sustaining of any bodily injury of any type, including wrongful death), while operating his/her own motor vehicle on the roadway without maintaining the minimum required auto insurance coverage.
5. What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (i.e. UM or UIM) on a Auto Insurance Policy of Insurance?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (i.e. UM coverage) protects and/or affords insurance coverage to the insured person(s) that sustain a serious bodily injury as a direct result of being involved in a motor vehicle related accident, when it is determined that the person that caused the accident did not have auto insurance. In this case, if your individual auto policy has a UM/UIM Coverage provision, then you, if seriously injured, can make or present a claim, not a lawsuit, to your own auto insurance company so that they might consider it and pay you up to the amount of you UM/UIM coverage limit.
-Person A, a business professional, is insured and has an auto policy with UM/UIM
coverage of $1M/3M;
-Person A is involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and is unfortunately killed;
-Person B, is a person, who on the date of the accident, had no valid auto insurance;
-In this case, Person A’s family or his estate, on behalf of the decedent or decedent’s loved ones may now initiate a bodily injury/wrongful death claim, and request that Person A’s own insurer surrender the policy limits or $1M to settle the claim.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (i.e. UIM coverage) protects and/or afford insurance coverage to the insured person(s) that sustain a serious bodily injury as a direct result of being involved in a motor vehicle related accident. Following the accident, it is determined that the person that caused the accident did not have sufficient auto insurance coverage to properly compensate the injured person based on the injuries sustained. In this case, if the insured injured person’s individual auto policy has a UM/UIM Coverage provision, then they, as the insured who was seriously injured, can make or present a claim, with their own auto insurance company so that the insurance carrier might consider it and ultimately pay out, an amount that is greater than the insurance amount to be paid out by the responsible party and but only up to the maximum limits of the available UIM coverage provision.
-Person A is insured and also has UM/UIM coverage of $250K on her own auto insurance policy;
-Person A is involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and suffers fractures to both her right hip and right femur;
-Person B, the person that caused the accident, also had auto insurance coverage in effect on the date of loss, but the maximum policy amount on his policy was $50K;
-Person B’s insurer than offers $50K to settle the claim;
-Person A’s total bodily injury damages have been formerly assessed to be approximately $250K;
-In this case, Person A, upon first securing permission to accept the first $50K from Person B’s insurer, could then request an additional $200K from her own auto insurance carrier.
6. What key factors go into determining the ultimate amount of recovery (i.e. money damages) that an injured person might receive or be awarded when filing a lawsuit.
Generally speaking, most persons that recover monetary damages following being injured as a result of the intentional, reckless, negligent or carelessness of another is not in the millions of dollars that you may be accustomed to seeing, as advertised on television.
In general, the key factors that ultimately help determine the total amount of recovery (i.e. the monetary compensation that may be paid out) to one who suffers a serious bodily injury are: 1) a final determination as to the percentage of fault of each party involved in the incident; 2) the extent of damage sustained by the injured party; and 3) the amount of coverage available under the applicable insurance policy or policies (i.e. more than one) that will provide coverage in a particular accident or incident.
7. What percentage of personal injury claims, when pursued by any person that is seriously injured, actually settle versus go on to have a formal trial?
Nationally, it has been statistically documented that approximately 98% of all bodily injury related claims are eventually settled and only 2% actually go all the way to trial, with a verdict being rendered and a judgment entered.
8. What is the standard fee charged by most lawyers that practice and provide legal services to persons that sustain a personal bodily injury as the direct result of the intentional, negligent, reckless or careless actions of another?
In the large majority of cases, at least in the US, attorneys that specialize in the field of personal injury are willing to take on the case under contingency. With a contingency fee agreement, which must be in writing to be valid, this means that the attorney will only receive a fee of +/- 33.3% of the net recovery, with the lawyer also agreeing that he/she will not be paid anything (i.e. a fee for her legal services rendered) unless the attorney is able to recover a monetary settlement, verdict or judgment for you, the client.