In Michigan, when you are injured in an auto accident, suing the other driver is not always a possibility. This is because in Michigan we have what is called a no-fault system. Most injuries and accidents that are not serious, result in your own insurance company paying what is called “first party” benefits for the accident. First party benefits generally include reimbursement for lost wages and medical expenses.
However, even with the no-fault system in place you can still sue the driver who caused the accident if your injuries meet the threshold. What is a threshold injury? The threshold has changed over the last couple of years with our Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on the issue in McCormick v. Carrier. Generally, the threshold is met when your injury results in a
Serious impairment of a body function
Permanent serious disfigurement or
The last two definitions are pretty obvious, but a serous impairment of an important body function takes a little analysis to pin down. Every situation is different as the facts surrounding every injury are not the same and there is no bright line test to let us know for sure whether a specific injury meets this threshold. The factors that the courts use to determine whether an injury is a serious impairment of body function are as follows:
Is your injury objectively manifested (observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions)?
Did the accident leave you with an injury of a body function that is important (a body function of value, significance, or consequence to you)?
Does the injury affect your general ability to lead a normal life (influences some of your capacity to live in a normal manner of living).
As you can see, sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether an injury meets this threshold which would allow you to sue the driver at fault for the accident. Every case and every injury is different so whether your injury resulted in a broken bone, back problems, ligament tears, knee, shoulder, or other problems such as scaring or burning it is important figure out what your rights are and whether your injury may meet the threshold.