Litigation and Trial Services

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Overview

Serious injury cases require trial lawyers who have the experience and horsepower to achieve a just recovery for the injured person. Our personal injury attorneys in Michigan fit the bill.

Notably, our firm is ranked "#1 in Michigan in Personal Injury Litigation" by The Best Lawyers in America. Smith Haughey was named a 2013-14 "Recommended" firm by Benchmark Plaintiff.


In addition, our department co-chair, Tom McCarthy was named by Best Lawyers as "Lawyer of the Year" in Personal Injury Litigation for 2013. Attorney and shareholder Matt Wikander was named a 2013-14 "Local Litigation Star" by Benchmark Plaintiff.


We are skilled in handling cases involving death and injury resulting from all manner of accidents and catastrophes. Often, these cases demand medical and technical expertise in addition to legal expertise, and we meet those demands. Our staff of experienced nurse-paralegals provides valuable assistance in the management of medical issues. We also regularly work with medical and technical experts in a wide variety of fields and specialties, and are well equipped to assemble the right team of experts for every case.


We have successfully represented people who have been injured or lost a family member in many types of cases, including: 

  • Vehicular accidents, including: 
    • Automobile and trucking accidents 
    • Motorcycle accidents 
    • Airplane crashes
    • Boating accidents
    • And more

  • Premises liability accidents, including:
    • Slip and fall accidents
    • Carbon monoxide poisoning, natural gas and other toxic exposures
    • Burn cases and explosions
    • Landlord liability

  • Product liability claims and defective machine accidents
  • Worksite accidents
  • Dog bites and other animal attacks
  • Failure to properly protect and negligent security

When someone you care about is injured, we can assist in managing the crisis when it occurs, take appropriate action to preserve evidence, and implement the process of pursuing a just recovery.

When we accept your case, we will usually enact a contingent fee arrangement—meaning we will not get paid until you do. In short, for every case we accept, we believe in that case and we put everything we have towards fighting for you.

Experience

We have successfully represented people who have been injured or lost a family member in many types of cases, including:

    Dog bites and other animal attacks
    Failure to properly protect and negligent security
    Premises liability accidents
    Product liability claims and defective machine accidents
    Vehicular accidents
    Worksite accidents

Wins

Representative Matters and Client Successes

2017 – Matt Wikander successful represented two individuals seriously injured when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver during a snow storm. One client suffered fractures to numerous cervical vertebra and a closed head injury. The other client suffered lower spine injuries and PTSD. Prior to filing a lawsuit, Matt was able to achieve a total settlement of $950,000, thus avoiding potentially years of costly and time consuming litigation. 2017 – Matt Wikander was able to achieve a favorable confidential settlement on behalf of a client severely burned when her new riding lawn mower exploded after she turned the key to start the mower. The product liability action required a lengthy investigation, including numerous inspections of the lawnmower’s components, and many hours of failure analysis by engineers. Ultimately, the defendants agreed to the settlement shortly before trial. 2016 - Matt Wikander and Charissa Huang were successful in obtaining a settlement of $650,000 on behalf of a client who suffered numerous injuries after his car crashed into a backhoe. The defendant was operating the backhoe illegally, at night and without sufficient warning flashers or markings. The defendant’s insurance company refused to offer any money prior to litigation, instead blaming our client for the crash. Shortly before trial, the defendant’s insurance company agreed to the settlement. 2016 - Matt Wikander successfully represented a husband and wife injured in a crash with a large commercial semi-tractor and trailer. The crash occurred after dark when the semi-truck driver was jackknifed and illegally backing in to a customer’s driveway, blocking off our clients’ lane of travel and blinding them in the process with its lights. One of our clients suffered a serious closed head injury and the other, a broken arm. After a contested discovery phase of the litigation, the trucking company ultimately agreed to settle with our clients for $500,000. 2016 - Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $300,000 on behalf of a client who suffered a subtalar (ankle) fracture in an automobile crash. Defendants refused to engage in pre-lawsuit settlement negotiations and thus, our client was forced to file the lawsuit and litigate the case. The defendants finally agreed to the settlement shortly before trial was to be scheduled. 2015 - Tom McCarthy and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $550,000 on behalf of a client who suffered a closed-head injury. After years of litigation, the defendants agreed to the settlement shortly before trial was set to begin. 2015 - Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of over $228,000 on behalf of a client injured when attacked by a pit bull. The client was bitten in the face by the dog and settlement was achieved with defendant prior to filing a lawsuit. 2015 - Tom McCarthy and Matt Wikander achieved a jury verdict in Kalamazoo County of $14,450,683 for the estate of an individual who was killed in a catastrophic motor vehicle crash with a garbage truck. The case, Blahnik vs. Republic Services, et al., involved a garbage truck driver who ran a stop sign resulting in the death of Lary Blahnik in 2011. Claims were brought against the garbage truck driver and his employers—whose representatives failed to implement proper driver safety training and allocate proper funding for the training. After a two week trial, the jury returned its verdict on March 27, 2015. 2014 - Tom McCarthy and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $950,000 on behalf of the estate for a middle-aged man who was instantly killed in an automobile accident. Claims were brought against the defendant, who was driving too fast for conditions and thus lost control of his vehicle by hydroplaning in standing water, crossing the center line and crashing into the deceased’s vehicle head-on. After winning numerous motions for the estate, defendant agreed to settle the case prior to trial. 2013 - Matt Wikander and Tom McCarthy achieved a settlement of $670,000 for the estate of a teenager who was killed in a catastrophic work-site accident at a car wash. Claims were brought against the manufacturer of the car wash equipment involved in the incident and the franchisor of the car wash whose representatives failed to ensure that the teenager was properly trained to work around the moving equipment. After defeating numerous motions to dismiss the lawsuit, defendants agreed to settle the case prior to trial. 2013 - R. Jay Hardin and Kristen Campbell represented a client who was severely injured in a tractor accident while volunteering on a cherry farm. The attorneys received a verdict on behalf of their client for $650,000 intended to cover past and future health care costs, pain, and suffering. The client was a teenager, who was operating the tractor when its brakes failed. The cherry farm had given our client little to no training on the machine. 2012 - Matt Wikander and Kristen Campbell obtained a jury verdict in Kent County Circuit Court in which the jury awarded our client $856,000 in damages in a personal injury case resulting in permanent restrictions to our client's hand. The case involved a renter who was assualted after intruders were able to access the apartment through a broken security door. The jury found the defendant owner and defendant landlord/management company to be negligent because they had notice of the defective door but did not repair it, thus allowing intruders into the building. 2011 - R. Jay Hardin and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of over $4,000,000 on behalf of the estates of two individuals killed in a catastrophic crash. 2011 - R. Jay Hardin and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement in the amount of $2,100,000 on behalf of a construction worker severely and permanently injured while falling to the ground off of a malfunctioning scissor lift. 2007-2011 - R. Jay Hardin and Matt Wikander represented the estates of two deceased pilots killed in an aviation crash. After years of litigation, and after defeating the defendant's numerous motions to dismiss the claims, both cases were resolved under confidential terms just before trial was set to commence. 2010 - Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $425,000 on behalf of a passenger who was thrown off the back of a motorcycle after being struck by a negligent automobile driver. Our client suffered numerous back and lower body fractures in the crash. 2009 - Matt Wikander successfully represented a motorcyclist who was injured after being run off the road by a negligent driver. In a jury trial, the jury awarded our client substantial damages, and the court added interests, costs and attorney fees against the defendant. 2009 - Mark Gilchrist and Matt Wikander successfully represented a minor who was injured in an automobile accident. In a trial for damages, the jury awarded substantial damages to our client, to which the Court added interest and costs.


Practicing Attorneys

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