Michigan Car Accident Pain & Suffering Damages

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Damages are generally defined as the amount of money that is provided to compensate someone who has been harmed by another’s wrongdoing or negligence. In the context of auto accidents in a no-fault insurance state like Michigan, there is no fault component to damages. Each driver generally seeks compensation from his or her own insurer in the event of a car accident, unless there are serious personal injuries involved.

There are two broad categories of damages available: Economic and Non-Economic. Damages for pain and suffering fall into the non-economic category. Following is a break-down of the types of harm covered under economic and non-economic damages:

In auto accident cases, economic damages may include:

Medical expenses/Medical care
Rehabilitation services
Custodial care
Lost wages
Lost future earnings
Burial costs
Loss of use of property
Cost of repair or replacement of property
Cost of obtaining substitute domestic services
Loss of employment
Other objectively-verifiable monetary losses

Non-economic damages may include:

Pain and suffering
Inconvenience
Physical impairment
Physical disfigurement
Mental anguish
Emotional distress
Loss of society and companionship
Injury to reputation
Humiliation
Loss of consortium (loss of spousal companionship and services)
Other non-economic loss

Michigan operates under a no-fault system. If you are a Michigan driver, you are required to purchase no-fault insurance that will cover your own injuries if you are involved in a car accident. Every driver must purchase at least basic coverage in order to get license plates. Your no-fault insurance policy will pay for your covered damages and the other driver’s insurer will pay for his/her damages, regardless of who was at fault. Standard no-fault insurance policies in Michigan cover all necessary medical costs when you are injured in an auto accident, lost wages for up to three years (and up to a maximum amount, which changes each year), replacement services of up to $20/day (for housekeeping/yardwork), up to $1 million in property damage you cause to another’s property (check your specific policy for policy limitations), and residual bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for your defense costs and damages for which you are found liable in the event you are sued.

In exchange for this guaranteed payment of claims, Michigan drivers give up their right to sue for all but the most serious personal injuries sustained in a car accident. If your accident results in death or some form of permanent injury, such as permanent serious disfigurement or serious impairment of bodily function, Michigan’s no-fault law would allow you or your personal representative to sue the at-fault party to recover economic damages above and beyond your standard no-fault coverage. You may also sue for non-economic damages, mentioned above. In such a lawsuit, the jury would determine, using their best judgment, how much to award in damages. For how juries go about this task, see How do insurance companies and juries assign values to pain and suffering?

Resources:

Document Your Pain and Suffering Claim (Checklist): A checklist that helps you document your economic and non-economic damages. An essential tool to help you prove and record your pain and suffering claim.

Michigan Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law: Text for the current Michigan no-fault law.

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services: Michigan’s official insurance regulation site offers news, alerts, consumer insurance information, and ways to ask for help from the office. Check out the Consumer section.

Brief Explanation of Michigan No-Fault Insurance (Office of Financial and Insurance Services): A consumer-friendly publication that explains the basics of Michigan’s standard no-fault insurance coverage and optional coverages that may be of interest.

Free Advice Auto Insurance Center: Articles, FAQ, free quotes and research links.

Michigan Pain and Suffering Lawsuits – specializing in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accident personal injury cases.

Back to Michigan Car Accident Resources and Statutes:

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