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MI Accident Law - Car Crash Victims Could Get Their Rights Back, Depending on McCormick Decision

As a dedicated and experienced Detroit personal injury lawyer, a significant portion of people helped are those who have sustained severe personal injury or died in a car accident. Therefore, it is important to update the public on relevant information that is beneficial to them in an emergency. Any day now, the Michigan Supreme Court is expected to release an opinion in the McCormick v. Carrier case. The outcome of this suit could have significant implications for those injured in car crashes, reversing the infamous Kreiner decision that striped victims from receiving full and fair compensation for their injuries.

Under current state law, people injured in Michigan car accidents are only allowed to recover compensation for non-economic injuries (such as pain and suffering) if they can prove to the court that they have sustained a permanent and life-changing injury. If the accident didn’t result in death, than the victim must have sustained serious disfigurement or major impairment of a bodily function. In the infamous Kreiner v. Fisher, the Michigan Supreme Court also required that the injury must “alter the course or trajectory” of the person’s life completely.

The Kreiner decision set the bar far too high–only those with the most serious injuries are able to receive compensation for desperately needed medical expenses and pain and suffering. Several badly injured people are denied payment because their injuries are not considered severe enough.

Fortunately, in the McCormick case, the Michigan Supreme Court has an opportunity to redeem itself, allowing auto crash victims a chance to argue for pain and suffering damages. The plaintiff’s foot was ran over by a co-worker in a car, shattering his ankle. As a result of the Michigan car accident, McCormick underwent two surgeries and could not return to work for over a year. When he did return, he was placed at a less physically demanding position with the same rate of pay. Afterwards, he filed for non-economic damages for serious bodily injury from his employer.

The trial court stuck by Kreiner, maintaining that the course of McCormick’s life was not completely altered as a result of these injuries. He did not lose his job, nor his rate of pay and still enjoyed many recreational activities that he did before the accident. However, the dissenting opinion, it was argued that he suffered severe enough injuries to have the case heard in front of a jury, and that evidence was there suggesting that his was was changed by the incident.

Oral arguments began for this case in the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2010. A decision is expected at any time, and many are remaining optimistic that Kreiner will be overturned or at least reformed in some way. Unfortunately however, until the opinion is announced, the Kreiner law remains firmly in place in Michigan. Because the process to recover non-economic damages in Michigan is incredibly difficult, it is essential that those injured in a car accident retain a Detroit car accident lawyer immediately. Acting quickly can help provide the best legal advice and legal representation, ensuring the most positive outcome for your personal injury claim.