In this video, auto accident lawyer Steven Gursten discusses what it takes to bring a lawsuit for pain and suffering in Michigan. This includes an experienced auto lawyer proving the difference between "pain" and "serious impairment," which is an important requirement of the current Michigan auto law.
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Hi. My name is Steven Gursten. I'm a partner in the firm. What I'd like to do is go over with you whether or not you have a case.
Unfortunately, Michigan probably has the worst law in the country when it comes to being injured in a car accident. Unfortunately, it is not enough if you were completely innocent. It is not enough if you are in pain every day. What you have to do under Michigan law is you have to suffer what's called a "serious impairment of body function." So the key word that you have to always keep in mind is it's not pain, it's impairment. And then it's not just impairment, but it has to be a serious impairment.
So what does that mean in terms of do you have a case or not? Well, if you were injured, the next step is determining if your life is impaired or if it's different now than it was before your car accident. Obviously, the more things I can do to help you to show differences between before the accident and after your car accident, the more likely you are to have a successful auto case.
So in terms of a serious impairment, what exactly am I talking about? Thankfully, a lot of it is common sense. So for example, the way you get better is by going to treat with doctors. Well, every time you go to a doctor, you're giving a medical history and you're letting that doctor know what's wrong with you. Every time you give a history, you're letting that doctor know and you're establishing your impairments for the record, all of the things that are hurting you or disabling you from a car accident.
Another common indicator is time off of work. For example, it would be easy for any judge or any jury to say that you are more likely to have suffered a serious impairment the longer you're off work.
Now, the problem is in Michigan is that the inverse of that is also true. So people who go back to work too early even though they're in terrible pain and are trying to do it, are the people who are most punished under our current law. The people who are trying to do their normal activities but they do it with pain are more likely to be punished. What's happening under our law is the courts are looking at these cases and they're saying, "Gee, I notice you're able to go back to work after a couple weeks from your car accident even though you say you're in pain. How is that a serious impairment?"
So unfortunately, under our current law in Michigan, those people who are normally most worthy of our respect are those who are most punished.
The key to having a successful auto case is really documenting your injuries with your medical doctors and being able to show how your life is different now compared to how it was before the accident. And then there's many common sense (methods) that we can show together about ways that your life is being impaired or is different now than it was before your auto accident.
Please call me if you have any questions. I'll be happy to help. Thank you.
Michigan Auto Law is the leading and largest law firm in Michigan exclusively handling auto accident cases for more than 50 years. Our auto accident lawyers have helped people who have been told they had no case, or that their case was too old.
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