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Michigan Negligence Laws

Not only did you have to deal with the insurance and car repair hassle of getting rear-ended leaving the Red Wings game, but your neck still hurts from the accident. It was that other guy's fault you were injured, so do you have a negligence claim?

If you're wondering how these claims work and whether there are state laws covering how much you can get for your injuries, this article provides you with a summary of the negligence laws in Michigan.

General Negligence Laws

The legal concept of negligence is central to most personal injury cases. When someone fails to exercise an expected degree of care, and that failure results in an injury, that person is said to be negligent. Michigan negligence laws recognize "comparative negligence," in which recovery of damages is reduced proportionately to the plaintiff's own negligence.

The Elements of a Negligence Case

While lawsuits for negligence can cover many different scenarios, in order to win in court you must prove all of the same elements of a negligence case:

  • Duty: the defendant must have owed you a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the defendant must have failed to meet that duty;
  • Cause in Fact: you would not have been injured but for this failure;
  • Proximate Cause: this specific failure (and not something else) must have caused your injury; and
  • Damages: you must have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

For example, one of the above elements is damages. This means you must have suffered damages (injuries, loss, etc.) in order for the defendant to be held liable. Even if you can prove that the defendant failed to meet their duty of care, you can't collect damages if you didn't suffer any injury or loss.

Michigan Negligence Laws: At a Glance

You can find relevant statutes and an overview of the basics of Michigan negligence laws in the following chart. Please remember that reading an overview isn't enough to fully understand the law - be sure to read the actual statutes for yourself as well.


Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 600:

Modified Comparative Negligence

For economic damages, the plaintiff's award is reduced proportionately to the plaintiff's negligence even if less or more at fault than the defendant. If the plaintiff is more negligent than the defendant (more than 50%), then the plaintiff may not recover non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.).

Contribution Among Tortfeasors

Yes, but no more than the defendant's pro rata share of fault. Also, defendants who settle prior to a judgment cannot seek contribution from another defendant

Related Statute(s)

Michigan Compiled Laws, Chapter 600. Revised Judicature Act of 1961 and the Statute of Limitations

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Michigan Negligence Laws: Related Resources

For more information and resources, you can visit the links listed below.

Get Professional Help with Your Michigan Negligence Claim

It's not always clear what your legal options are when you've been injured through no fault of your own, such as slipping and falling on a puddle in the grocery store. However, you may be able to recover your losses by filing a negligence claim against the responsible party.

Get started today by reaching out to a local personal injury law attorney.

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