Comparative fault in auto cases

Written by Steven Matz on . Posted in .

“Can I still sue the other driver for pain and suffering if I am partly at fault for the accident?”

Yes, as long as you are not more than 50% at fault yourself. This issue comes up a lot in cases where, for example, one driver is turning left on a yellow light, and a driver going straight speeds up a little to “make” the light. The turning driver believes that the oncoming driver should know that cars will be turning left on yellow. The oncoming driver says you shouldn’t turn until you are sure the oncoming traffic is stopping. Both parties can be partly at fault, and can still file claims for pain and suffering (“non-economic damages”) against one another. The driver who can convince a judge or jury that he or she was seriously injured, and was not more than 50% at fault is eligible for money damages.

This is called “comparative negligence.” It means that the court “compares” how much each driver contributed to the crash. If you were mostly the cause of the collision, you can’t get any money for pain and suffering. Note: this is the law in Michigan, but not in all states.

You should keep in mind that this rule doesn’t apply to claims against the driver for economic losses (financial losses caused by injuries) that are above the no-fault maximums. One example: If you make more than the no-fault monthly maximum for wages (currently about $5400), or you will be disabled for more than three years, you can still go after the other driver for the excess even if you were mostly at fault. The amount you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage the jury finds you at fault.

Source: MCL 500.3135 (2)(b)

Steven Matz

Written By Steven Matz

Steven Matz
Steven J. Matz is a founding shareholder of Matz Injury Law. The firm’s concentration is on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis on traumatic brain injury. Mr. Matz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high distinction and highest honors in 1974 from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from The George Washington University National Law Center. Mr. Matz lectures and publishes in a number of areas, including ethics, marketing, trial tactics, and head injury. Mr. Matz has served on the Michigan Association for Justice Executive Board and currently serves the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board as a Hearing Panel Chairman and Master. He is also a member of the State Bar Committee for Character and Fitness.
array digital logo
© Matz Injury Law.
The maximum contingency fee permitted by law is actually 33 1/3%. Michigan court rules require that the attorney fee be computed on the net sum recovered after deducting all disbursements properly chargeable to the enforcement of the claim.

What does 22not33 mean, exactly?

We can charge 22% while virtually all other injury attorneys charge 33 1/3% because we are very, very, good at obtaining results for our clients. 

We do not spend millions of dollars on television ads; instead, we offer a lower fee to all our clients.  We do not have dozens of lower paid associates handling our work. All our clients are represented by Steven and Jared Matz. Steven Matz started the firm in 1977 and since then has dedicated his life to representing injury victims.  Jared joined the firm in 2016 but grew up listening to stories, discussing theories, and generally learning at the dinner table about how to effectively and compassionately represent injury victims. Jared Matz was literally born to represent individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes.

All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee and all our cases are handled at 22%. Whether the case settles or goes through trial, the fee does not change. While our competitors make excuses as to why they charge so much, we are obtaining results for our clients at a lower fee.

At a typical television advertising law firm, your first call will be handled by a receptionist, who may refer you to an intake person, who will discuss your claim with an intake manager, who then discusses your claim with an associate, who may then report to a partner. You may never speak with the person whose name is at the top of the letterhead. At Matz Injury Law you will always speak with either Steven Matz or Jared Matz.

Lets Talk Close window

22 not 33

Other firms charge 33%
We win or you don't pay | 24/7 Team Support | Over 10k Cases Of Experience