Catastrophic injuries permanently change the lives of those who suffer from them. They may involve paralysis, brain trauma, amputation, disfigurement, and broken or fractured bones. Someone who suffers catastrophic injuries may face challenges that they could not have previously imagined. In addition to lost income and medical expenses, they may need vocational rehabilitation, counseling, household services, or even lifelong care. If you have been hurt due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to recover damages with the assistance of Detroit, Traverse City, and Grand Rapids catastrophic injury lawyer Kelly Neumann. At Neumann Law Group, we can help you navigate the difficult process of bringing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party.Proving Liability for a Catastrophic Injury
In order to establish negligence, a personal injury plaintiff will need to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and breached that duty. The breach must have actually and proximately caused harm to the plaintiff, and it must have resulted in actual damages.
"Preponderance of the evidence" is a relatively lenient standard of proof that generally means that more than 50 percent of the evidence points toward something being true. While these elements can be shown in a straightforward manner in some cases, they sometimes require the assistance of an expert. For example, in a car accident case involving catastrophic injuries, the plaintiff may need to retain an accident reconstruction expert to show how the sequence of events unfolded.
Sometimes catastrophic injuries are the fault of both the plaintiff and the defendant. The defendant's insurer will likely to try to pin as much blame on the plaintiff as possible to try to avoid paying the full damages sought by the plaintiff. Michigan is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that for economic damages, the award will be reduced proportionately to the plaintiff's negligence. Economic damages are tangible, documented damages, such as medical bills and lost earnings. However, for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish, the plaintiff must be no more than 50% responsible for the accident to recover these types of damages.
Some catastrophic injuries arise out of the negligence of multiple parties. For example, a truck accident may be the fault of the truck driver, a trucking company, and a third party that loaded the truck. In general, a defendant may be held "severally liable" for any damages attributable to that particular defendant. Any joint tortfeasor has a right of contribution against the other joint tortfeasors. Moreover, if a partial settlement is reached in a case involving joint and several liability among multiple defendants, the non-settling defendants get the benefit of an offset in the amount of the settlement.
However, in medical malpractice cases, the doctrine of joint and several liability applies. This means that any single defendant, regardless of that party’s degree of fault, may be responsible for paying all of a plaintiff's damages.Enlist a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, or Detroit
People who suffer catastrophic injuries will likely find their lives altered dramatically and permanently. As an award-winning Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City catastrophic injury attorney, Kelly Neumann has consistently secured more than $3 million in personal injury cases each year over the past several years. Neumann Law Group can assist victims in Petoskey, Warren, Holland, Midland, Muskegon, Saginaw, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation with a personal injury and wrongful death attorney. We also represent people in California and Massachusetts.