Damages Recoverable for Bodily Injury (Chapter 2 of Michigan Law of Damages and Other Remedies)
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Chapter 2: Damages Recoverable for Bodily Injury
David R. Parker , Charfoos & Christensen PC

Roles of the Court and the Jury
Elements of Damages
Miscellaneous Considerations Affecting Damages Award
Damages in Statutory Cases

I.   Overview

§2.1   Bodily injury actions make up a large part of the personal injury jurisprudence in Michigan and other states. The injuries can occur in product liability cases, auto negligence cases, medical malpractice cases, premises liability cases, intentional tort cases, and other types of cases. Damages available for bodily injury include those for both past and future pecuniary losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, or lost earning capacity, and past and future nonpecuniary damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, denial of social pleasure, embarrassment, or humiliation. Derivative damages for a family member’s loss of the injured person’s companionship or consortium or for a parent’s loss of his or her child’s earning capacity may also be available.

Tort reform legislation beginning in 1986 has had a major impact on the damages awarded for personal injury. Some of this legislation affects the jury’s discretion in setting the amount of damages the plaintiff may receive or whether the injured plaintiff may receive damages at all. For example, damages for noneconomic losses in medical malpractice and product liability cases are limited to $280,000 (adjusted annually) for most injuries and $500,000 (also adjusted annually) for certain categories of injuries specified in each statute. MCL 600.1483, .2946a. In addition, a plaintiff whose share of the total fault is greater than the aggregate fault of all other persons who contributed to the death or injury (including nonparties and persons released as the result of a settlement) may not recover noneconomic damages at all. MCL 600.2959.

Other factors also affect the ultimate damages award. For example, adjustments are made for collateral source payments, MCL 600.6303, and for comparative negligence, MCL 600.2959; future damages are reduced to present value, MCL 600.6306(2) (and, for medical malpractice cases arising on or after March 28, 2013, MCL 600.6306a); and future damages exceeding $250,000 must be satisfied by the purchase of an annuity contract, MCL 600.6307.

Certain types of cases are governed by statutes that specify the types of damages that are available, such as first- and third-party no-fault cases under MCL 500.3101 et seq., dram-shop cases under MCL 436.1801, worker’s compensation cases under MCL 418.101 et seq., and cases brought under the Michigan wrongful-death act, MCL 600.2922.


1 The author acknowledges Peter A. Davis and Nelson P. Miller for contributing to §2.9.

Forms and Exhibits

Form 2.01 Motion to Compel the Purchase of an Annuity Contract to Pay Future Damages
Form 2.02 Order to Purchase an Annuity Contract to Pay Future Damages
Form 2.03 Order Releasing Defendant After the Purchase of an Annuity Contract for Future Damages