Kalamazoo is a city located in Southwest Michigan with a population of approximately 74,000 residents. Home to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, the city has a significant number of students. The city offers many attractions such as the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. Just like in other U.S. cities, a number of people in Kalamazoo sustain injuries every year. If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, it is important to act quickly. At the Neumann Law Group, our highly skilled Kalamazoo injury attorneys handle all types of personal injury claims and can handle yours as well. We handle car accidents, aviation accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, day care injuries, sport accidents and more.Seeking Compensation Through Negligence Actions
In most personal injury cases, the individual who has suffered an injury typically relies on the legal theory of negligence to establish another person’s liability. A negligence claim involves establishing four key elements: duty of care, breach, causation and damages. The first step is to determine whether a duty of care exists. A duty of care refers to the obligation of a person to act according to a certain standard of care. If a duty does exist, we must determine whether the person who owed the duty lived up to it. If the person breaches the duty of care owed to you and directly causes your harm, that person will be deemed negligent.
Determining damages can be a complicated process. Typically, a plaintiff will be able to pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to tangible damages that can easily be valued for money. This includes medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage and more. There is no cap or dollar limitation on economic damages.
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses that cannot always be easily quantified through money. These include pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of society, loss of companionship and more. In some ways, non-economic damages are whatever a jury is willing to award a plaintiff for a particular harm.
In Michigan, the concept of punitive damages is not recognized the same way it might be in other states. Michigan does, however, permit recovery for what it calls “exemplary damages.” Unlike punitive damages, exemplary damages are not designed to punish the wrongdoer; rather, they compensate the plaintiff for emotional harm. An award for exemplary damages is appropriate where the plaintiff suffered ‘humiliation, sense of outrage, and indignity’ resulting from injuries ‘maliciously, willfully and wantonly’ caused by the defendant.Allocating Liability Among Multiple Negligent Parties
Determining liability can be a complicated process. In Michigan, the application of the modified comparative fault doctrine is mandated by the courts to allocate responsibility among involved parties. According to this doctrine, damages are proportionally reduced if the plaintiff shares some responsibility for the accident. For example, being deemed 20 percent at fault would result in a reduction of your total award by that amount, allowing potential compensation for 80 percent of your costs and losses. It's important to recognize that a law enforcement officer's initial judgment on fault may not be the definitive allocation used by the court.
Michigan's utilization of the modified comparative fault doctrine also means that an injured party cannot seek non-economic damages if their degree of fault surpasses 50%. Consequently, the injured plaintiff must establish that they are less than 50% responsible for the accident to be eligible for non-economic damages. In cases involving substantial damages or imbalanced liability between two or more parties, the distinction between a 49% fault determination and a 50-50 split can be profoundly impactful. Hence, plaintiffs must devise effective strategies to demonstrate their responsibility falling below the 50% threshold. The legal experts at Neumann Law Group are well-prepared to construct a compelling case, even in situations where our cleints were negligent in the leadup to an accident or injury.Contact a Kalamazoo Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Claim
At the Neumann Law Group, our Kalamazoo accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting their clients’ rights in the legal system. Our goal is to provide you with professional and vigorous representation every step of the way. We will work hard to maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Please note that we also handle criminal defense, real estate, estate planning, family law, collections and mediations. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact us online or call us toll free at (800) 525-6386.