Auto Negligence

The personal injury defense attorneys at MacArthur, MacArthur & Associates, P.L.L.C. assist clients with all aspects of defending against Michigan no-fault negligence claims. We have the experience, knowledge, and skill to investigate the case, analyze the applicable law and facts, and develop effective defenses that mitigate liability in a negligence claim.

Michigan No-Fault Auto Negligence Defenses

In Michigan, a third-party motor vehicle negligence lawsuit, unlike other negligence claims, requires the plaintiff to show that their injury is severe enough to justify the filing of a lawsuit to recover noneconomic damages. No-fault immunity bars the plaintiff from recovering any noneconomic losses (such as pain and suffering or mental anguish), unless the injured party crosses the no-fault threshold set forth in MCL 500.3135, by establishing that the injury caused death, permanent serious disfigurement, or serious impairment of a body function.

Severe Impairment of a Body Function Defense

The requirement that a plaintiff establish a serious impairment of a body function has been litigated for decades. In the landmark case of McCormick v. Carrier, 487 Mich 180, 795 NW2d 517 (2010), the Supreme Court of Michigan noted that on its face MCL 500.3145 sets forth three prongs that are necessary to establish a serious impairment of body function: (1) an objectively manifested impairment (2) of an important body function that (3) affects the person’s general ability to lead a normal life. In 2012, Michigan codified the McCormick decision in MCL 500.3135(7).

Under this requirement, it is more difficult than previously to satisfy the serious impairment of a body function. However, the analysis is inherently fact-specific and must be conducted on a case-by-case basis. Our attorneys have decades of experience defending no-fault negligence cases. We know how to obtain the relevant facts, analyze the medical evidence, and provide a solid analysis of available crucial threshold defenses.

Scope of the No-Fault Act and Owner Liability

For a claim to fall within the scope of the No-Fault Act and a no-fault policy, the defendant’s conduct must arise from the ownership, use, operation, or maintenance of a motor vehicle. As a consequence, claims often involve issues relating to owner liability, leased and rented vehicles, or permissive drivers, and whether liability arises out of the use, operation, or maintenance of a motor vehicle. The statutory language governing these issues has been the subject of much litigation and many court decisions. Our lawyers know how to identify and frame owner liability issues, recommend an efficient investigation designed to gather the relevant facts, and provide sound legal counsel based on our analysis.

No-Fault Exclusions

Even if the defendant’s conduct arises out of the use of a motor vehicle, the particular act giving rise to the injury, the status of the vehicle, or the status of the driver may exclude the defendant from the statutory no-fault tort immunities. It is critical to know whether a defendant is protected by the immunities. Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to investigate and analyze these important issues.

Traditional No-Fault Defenses

A Michigan auto negligence claim involves the traditional issues of common law relating to statutory duties and breach of those duties, causation, noneconomic losses, limited economic losses, and loss of consortium damages. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending traditional no-fault auto negligence cases. We have the knowledge and skill to conduct a thorough investigation, develop liability defenses, analyze the medical evidence to establish medical causation defenses, and uncover the facts that mitigate exposure to damages.

Coverage Issues

Insurance policy language is important. When an insured challenges an insurance contract-based denial, it is imperative to know whether the policy language will stand up to a court’s scrutiny. The Michigan courts have interpreted many no-fault automobile contract provisions. Previous decisions provide guidance in defending specific policy language. Our lawyers know how to review policy language, summarize the relevant case law, and provide solid legal advice for defending an insurance contract.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Our personal injury defense lawyers at MacArthur, MacArthur & Associates provide assistance to clients on the full range of issues that arise in auto negligence claims governed by the Michigan No-Fault Act. From our offices in Metro-Detroit, Lansing, and Gaylord, we provide legal services to businesses throughout Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas. We invite you to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your auto negligence defense needs with us.