Pain and Suffering Claims in Michigan No-Fault Auto Accidents

Emergency Ambulance at sunset. Visual concept for a legal blog on pain and suffering claim in a no-fault auto accident.

When a car accident causes injuries, the victim may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. Damages for pain and suffering are intended to compensate the victim for the physical and mental distress they suffered as a result of the accident. Compensation for a pain and suffering claim is awarded independent of the victim’s economic losses.

Unlike many other states, a Michigan car accident victim is only entitled to compensation for pain and suffering if they suffered a “threshold injury.” Michigan recognizes three categories of threshold injuries: (1) death, (2) permanent serious disfigurement, and (3) serious impairment of a bodily function.

If you were injured in a Michigan car accident and believe you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, the personal injury lawyers at Muth Law, P.C., can help. We are proud to represent people injured in Michigan car accidents and help them obtain the benefits they are entitled to receive.

What Is “Pain and Suffering?”

“Pain and suffering” refers to the physical and mental distress an injured person experiences after an accident. Pain and suffering claims can include:

  • Bodily pain caused by the accident
  • Grief due to the loss of a loved one
  • Loss of enjoyment of the activities of daily life
  • Limitations on activities an accident victim can participate in
  • Mental anguish, emotional trauma, or depression

Financial claims for pain and suffering address two components of an injured victim’s non-economic losses:

  • Physical pain includes pain and discomfort experienced due to the victim’s injuries, as well as pain the victim is likely to experience in the future.
  • Emotional distress addresses the mental trauma an accident victim experienced or will experience in the future because of the accident. Emotional distress includes things like grief, shock, trauma, anxiety, and loss of enjoyment of life. It also accounts for the physical manifestations of emotional trauma, such as depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

How to Claim Compensation for Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident

To establish a claim for compensation for pain and suffering, the injured victim must show that:

  1. The driver who caused the crash was negligent;
  2. The other driver was more than 50% at fault;
  3. The driver’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries;
  4. The victim died, experienced a serious permanent disfigurement, or suffered a “serious impairment of body function“; and
  5. The victim experienced pain and suffering.

Unlike many other states, to claim pain and suffering in Michigan, you must satisfy the bodily injury threshold. Michigan recognizes three categories of threshold injury: (1) death, (2) permanent serious disfigurement, and (3) serious impairment of a bodily function.

To prove a “serious impairment of bodily function” the injured victim must show:

  • The impairment is “objectively manifested, meaning it is observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions by someone other than the injured person.”
  • It is “an impairment of an important body function, which is a body function of great value, significance, or consequence to the injured person.” and
  • The impairment of an important bodily function “affects the injured person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life, meaning it has had an influence on some of the person’s capacity to live in his or her normal manner of living. Although temporal considerations may be relevant, there is no temporal requirement for how long an impairment must last. This examination 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.”

Michigan’s no-fault auto accident insurance coverage only provides compensation for medical bills and economic damages. Because pain and suffering represents compensation for non-economic losses, you can only recover damages for pain and suffering by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Who Pays for a Pain and Suffering Claim in a No-Fault Auto Accident?

The at-fault driver’s auto insurance company generally pays for pain and suffering damages after a car accident. However, if the victim’s damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, the at-fault driver may be personally liable and be required to pay the damages from their personal assets. Further, if you have purchased uninsured motorist coverage, or underinsured motorist coverage, those policies might also pay for your pain and suffering.

How to Calculate Damages in a Car Accident Pain and Suffering Claim

There is no formula for calculating pain and suffering damages. Determining the amount of monetary damages for a pain and suffering claim requires an evaluation of the victim’s injuries, the impairments they caused, and how the injuries affect the victim’s ability to lead a normal life.

The amount of damages awarded in a pain and suffering claim will depend on each victim’s unique circumstances. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate the victim, not to punish the at-fault driver.

Muth Law Helps Victims Prove Their Car Accident Pain and Suffering Claim

Muth Law is proud to represent people injured in car accidents in Michigan. We have a demonstrated track record of success and see each client as a unique part of a family who we want to help.

To learn more, contact Muth Law by calling 734-481-8800, emailing, or completing our online form. We look forward to helping you and your family.

Categories: Auto Accidents