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Michigan: What is a “Serious Impairment of a Body Function” in Auto Accidents

Michigan: What is a “Serious Impairment of a Body Function” in Auto Accidents

The question posed above may seem a bit odd and one that you probably have never thought of before. However, it is very important when we look at someone who has been injured in a car accident in Michigan. We need to show that the individual suffered a serious impairment of body function in order to recover damages.  Let’s say that you have been in a car accident and you have been injured. How does the law look at you and evaluate whether to compensate you for your injuries, and your pain and suffering?

The Test

 Serious impairment of body function in Michigan is a legal test involving an injury threshold that a car accident victim must meet in order to recover pain and suffering compensation – which is also referred to as “noneconomic loss” damages – from the at-fault driver who caused the crash under Michigan law. (MCL 500.3135(5)(b)). An injured person seeking to recover must show the following:

  • An objectively manifested impairment that is observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or condition;
  • The impairment must be from an important body function which has value, significance, or consequence to the injured person;
  • That affects the person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life, or influences some of the persons capacity to live in his or her normal manner.

 The law also clarifies that the examination of how an impairment affects a victim’s general ability to lead his or her normal life “is inherently fact and circumstance specific to each injured person, must be conducted on a case-by-case basis, and requires comparison of the injured person’s life before and after the incident.” (MCL 500.3135(5)(c))

What Does This Really Mean to Me?

 Let us say that you are in an auto accident and you have been injured. What do you need to show in order to get compensation for your injuries? An example of an injury that clearly satisfies the test above would be if you found yourself with a broken leg and could not walk correctly for some time, or even after the bone healed. The injury would clearly affect your general ability to live the normal life you had before the accident in that you are temporarily and perhaps permanently unable to live your normal life with the injury to your leg. The three parts of the test could be shown;

  • The leg injury is observable, you can show the broken leg with the exterior cast and X-rays;
  • The leg and its injury to it is to an important body function (walking and standing),
  • The injury can be shown to affect your ability to live a normal life in a normal manner for some period of time.

Reach Out to Our Legal Team Today

These questions and analyses are complicated and very detailed. The facts of these cases are regularly reviewed by our legal team. If you find that you have been in an auto accident in Michigan and have been injured, please call our offices so we may listen to and perhaps help you. Call Charles E. Boyk Law Offices for a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced car wreck lawyer regarding your case today.

Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC

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