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Personal Injury


At Varnum, our primary focus is to get you wellphysically, emotionally and financially. As your advisors, we counsel you throughout the legal process while providing effective, experienced representation and the resources of one of the largest law firms in Michigan.

We help obtain healing, fair compensation and a just resolution for traumatically injured people by passionately believing in their causes and standing with courage on that belief.

Contact us by phone at 800/400-9115 or by email at at any time. We can help.

What Makes Us Different

Helping a traumatically-injured person requires more than generalized legal knowledge. Along with a focus in personal injury law, our attorneys have also acquired extensive medical knowledge. We have an in-depth understanding of how the body functions and how that function is altered by injury.

We also have a thorough understanding of medical concepts and terminology, which is essential in order to effectively explain to juries the relationship of physical trauma to a patient’s life and entire sense of well-being. 

Free Consultation

Varnum attorneys are called upon in some of the most difficult times in people’s lives, when the future is uncertain and the concerns are many. We understand that you have questions and are happy to talk to you at no cost.

We accept cases on a contingency basis, where we receive a percentage of the money we recover for you. If we are not successful, you will owe us nothing for the time we have invested in your case.

Qualified Attorneys

Varnum’s Personal Injury Team is made up of nationally-respected attorneys who genuinely care about helping you through one of the most difficult challenges you may ever face.

All of Varnum's senior personal injury attorneys are rated AV® Preeminent—the highest rating possibleby Martindale-Hubbell, the nationally-renowned lawyer grading system. Varnum's personal injury group is recognized by U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers®, and all of our senior attorneys are listed in Best Lawyers in America®.

Power of a Law Firm

When you retain a Varnum attorney, you have access to the full resources of the firm. If your matter requires establishing a trust, or you must deal with probate or Social Security issues, our attorneys experienced in those areas are ready to help.

What to Expect

Varnum attorneys investigate and research each case thoroughly. Comprehensive materials are meticulously prepared, outlining the legal liability of the defendant and the substantive damages suffered by our client. We clearly explain your options, such as if the case can be settled more quickly out of court or whether litigation and a jury verdict may be required.

Many lawyers forget that they work for the client. We pride ourselves on keeping our clients fully informed, returning phone calls and responding promptly. At least two attorneys are committed to each client we represent, and our entire practice team is actively involved when needed during the trial.

Client Stories

Client Stories

I was seriously scalded while I was in a health club facility in Indiana, with third degree burns over my legs. I do not speak English. The lawyers and staff at Varnum were kind, caring, and able to get translators and work with me and my relatives to understand my case, my injuries, and obtain a favorable settlement. I would recommend this law firm for anyone, but especially for anyone who has been burned in an accident.

 - Marco Antonio Chavez Rodriguez

From a client letter written after a mother lost her son in a car accident involving farm machinery stranded on a road at dusk. Since the accident, she has adopted two Russian children: "Thank you all so much for remembering me and my family. You guys are truly heaven sent. Every day I awaken I not only think of Robbie but I count my blessings for my new life and family. Without you this would never have happened. Thank you and your staff once again."

 - Amie, Kyle, and Mikayla

Where do we begin to thank you for all the support and love you have given us over the last 4 years? We can vividly remember our first meeting at our dining room table. How you explained so carefully "the process." We were immediately drawn to the advice you gave us. Looking back over the years we can now see how important your representation was to us.

 - The Jurus Family

My husband made a miraculous recovery from an auto accident. After being airlifted to U of M, I didn’t know that my angel Bonnie was already working to help me through battles that I had no idea how to prepare for or how to fight but she stood by me and helped me win not only the legal battle but more importantly the life changing battles that I faced then and now on a daily basis. She handled our case with care and compassion.

 - Victoria Parrish

Nothing in life ever prepares you for the death of a child and the serious injury of another. I can honestly say my son and I would never have made it through this tragedy without Bonnie and her team. They are very skilled attorneys but the most important thing was the manner in which they cared for us supported us and were always there, no matter how difficult. They continue to be our friends and a blessing in our lives. 

 - Kullen & Evan’s Mom, Janet VanDyk

I was burned in a chemistry explosion in high school. My whole life flashed before my eyes and I knew that day would change my life forever. What I didn’t know was that this firm would also change my life. They supported me, my family and friends through my whole ordeal. They put our emotional state of mind and our physical condition before anything else. 

 - Autum Burton

My dad was killed by a negligent semi-truck driver. Not a moment goes by that we don’t miss him; but with your help, we have achieved justice through criminal prosecution and a wrongful death suit. The proceeds from the lawsuit will provide for my mom to replace her lost income, and provide money for my dad’s grandkids to attend college. Thank you for your compassion and integrity with my family throughout the process.

 - Troy Cole P.R. on behalf of the Family of Thomas Cole

From a mother whose two-year-old son suffered burns over 90% of his body in a flash fire: 
“This is the type of firm that takes care of all of you and not just the plaintiff, but the family also. They understand that you are individuals first, then family member, then patient, and maybe then a plaintiff. Long after the case is over you have this group as a resource, advocate and friends. I would recommend these attorneys not only as lawyers but also as friends to keep forever.”

 - Nancy Kurtz

My husband was tragically and wrongfully killed in an auto accident, I was faced with grief and the realization that my four young children and I faced an emotional and financial battle I could not fight alone. I researched and interviewed top-rated lawyers in three states. Their excellent reputation for winning to the satisfaction of their clients was only one factor in my decision to hire them. They secured a record settlement for my family.

 - JoEllen Badsgaard

My husband and I were hit by a drunk driver as we walked along our quiet country road. Fortunately, we recovered from our injuries. Bonnie showed us considerable compassion, directed us to the best physical therapists and helped us find the counseling needed to move forward after such a devastating event. We were never considered just another claim for Bonnie, we were always treated with care and compassion and consider her like family.

 - Alle & Kimberlee Delfsma

At the most horrific time in my life, a little 5 ft. woman comes in to it, Bonnie Sawusch. I called her the pit bull, never to her face, but to everyone else. She also had a soft side, I could call and talk to her about personal issues, and she would listen, give me advice, people to talk to, everything she thought I needed. She remembered everything about me, my husband, my kids and grandkids. This kind of dedication and sincere caring is why I cannot EVER thank them enough.

 - Venessa Page

News & Publications



Types of Cases

Types of Cases

If you do not see your case type listed, please contact us to discuss your options.

Animal attacks

Animal attacks are a frightening experience that often lead to serious physical injury, scarring and even emotional and psychological issues. Our team at Varnum has represented animal attack victims for years and has obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for our clients. Like all types of personal injury claims, we understand that you need a skilled, experienced trial lawyer to help fight for your needs while you are on the road to recovery.

The lawyers at Varnum work with you to understand your injuries and help obtain compensation to pay for medical care and other needs. We work closely with plastic surgeons and other medical specialists to fully understand the extent of your injuries to ensure that you are fully compensated.

Automobile and trucking accidents

Whether you are the driver, passenger or a pedestrian involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, the complexity of dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming. Who will cover medical expenses? Who will pay the bills when you cannot return to work because of your injuries? Can the at-fault driver be sued when Michigan is a “no-fault” insurance state? We have the experience it takes to help you navigate the complicated and intricate insurance and liability claims that are inherent in a motor vehicle accident.

Varnum attorneys have helped individuals and families involved in motor vehicle accidents for over 30 years. We have handled thousands of automobile accident cases of nearly every cause and nature. Because the underlying facts, circumstances and evidence of each crash are distinctive, we treat each matter with the individual attention it deserves.

Every situation is differentwith specific questions that may require expert advice. Our Michigan No-Fault Law handbook addresses general questions about your no-fault benefit rights and claims. There are many exceptions and unusual circumstances that cannot be covered in a short handbook.

Boating and recreational vehicle accidents

More than 11,000 inland lakes and over 3,200 miles of fresh water coastline make Michigan a boater's paradise. With so much recreational demand, it's a good thing most boaters take safety seriously. However, accidents and serious injuries still occur due to negligence or sheer accident on the water.

The personal injury attorneys at Varnum help you dig through the complexities of the accident and guide you through the intricate claims involved in boating and recreational vehicle accidents. With each unique case, we partner with you so you receive the help, both financial and emotional, you need to heal. 

Burn injury

The burn injury clients we have represented have been the victims of propane and natural gas explosions, scalds, car accidents and defective products. We have represented students who have been injured in chemistry labs while attending school. These cases are difficult and emotionally devastating.

Burn injury victims are referred to Varnum by medical care givers because we share the common goal of bringing healing to our clients. One member of our team had a 15-year career as a registered nurse in an acute care hospital prior to becoming an attorney. Because of our in-depth understanding of the medical needs and treatment required for burn injury victims, we have earned the respect of the medical care professionals with whom we work.

The personal injury attorneys at Varnum work to prevent accidents and provide financial support to many organizations dedicated to safety and prevention. Our attorneys are active in care-focused organizations such as the American Burn Association and the Phoenix Society for Burn Injuries. We regularly give presentations and write articles aimed at preventing injuries and treating the emotional injuries that are the most difficult part of recovery.

As lawyers representing burn survivors and families of burn victims for over 40 years, we have learned what information you need if you or a loved one are badly burned. Our Legal Rights of Burn Survivors booklet identifies money that may be available for your treatment, information about financial assistance when you cannot work, government benefits, insurance benefits and lawsuits, as well as resources that will help you deal with the devastation of your injury.

Construction accidents

On-the-job accidents at construction sites are all too common. As the economy grows and new building projects come to life, more and more individuals are working at job sites that require constant vigilance for one's safety. Unfortunately, accidents at construction sites do happen and can lead to serious personal injuries and, in some cases, death.

Regardless of the cause or nature of the injury, an injured construction worker is entitled to compensation. The Worker's Compensation Act provides benefits such as weekly payments and medical expenses, but these are often not enough to fully cover the costs associated with the pain and suffering that accompany construction accidents.

Varnum's experienced personal injury team works with you to determine who is at fault in the accident and recover full damages.

Defective products

When products fail and cause injury, manufacturers need to be held accountable. From exploding e-cigarettes to faulty hip replacements, Varnum's personal injury attorneys have helped individuals who suffered injuries inflicted by a wide variety of products. We have the experience to fight against major manufacturers to ensure that our clients are compensated for their pain and suffering caused by defective products.

Product liability litigation is a complicated process, and you need a team that is well-versed in the product liability laws of Michigan. For over 30 years, we have worked with clients to recover thousands of dollars in claims involving faulty products.

Nursing home and adult foster care

As they grow older and become unable to safely care for themselves, loved ones are often placed in nursing homes or adult foster care programs. As families, we expect entrusted caregivers to give our loved ones proper care and to treat them with respect. Sadly, abuse and neglect are all-too-common in nursing homes and adult foster care programs.

At Varnum, we represent the families of loved ones who have experienced abuse and neglect. We address each individual case to secure the maximum compensation for the victim. With an expansive network of resources, we are ready to see that nursing homes and their owners are held fully responsible for poor and abusive care.

Premises liability

Michigan’s premises liability laws are ever-changing. Injuries caused by black ice, a slippery walkway or an object stored on the property may or may not be recoverable against the property owner depending upon the current state of the law and the underlying facts of the incident.

Varnum personal injury attorneys monitor premises liability laws closely and have successfully litigated in this area of the law, obtaining million-dollar jury verdicts and settlements.

Spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries can be the most devastating type of injury claim because of the long-term consequences. The injured client and their family are impacted financially, physically and emotionally.

Varnum has handled spinal cord injury cases ranging from herniated discs to quadriplegia. In representing those who suffer from spinal cord injuries, our mission is to secure all available resources necessary to assist with expenses related to medical and rehabilitation care, as well as social and emotional support.

Varnum has been involved with home modification and transportation issues, as well as assisting our clients in finding the very best resources to manage their short and long term care needs. Whether advocating for clients by dealing with their automobile or health insurance companies or pursuing the person or entity responsible for causing the injury, Varnum attorneys understand the needs of those suffering spinal cord injuries.

Traumatic brain injury

Effective legal advocacy for those who suffer traumatic brain injury requires knowledge, preparation, tenacity and passion. The best representation comes from attorneys who have a solid understanding of the medical practices involved in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of those living with a traumatic brain injury, including neurology, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, psychology, internal medicine, radiology, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

We understand the specialized diagnostic and treatment terminology used in these sophisticated medical disciplines. We have studied the test batteries used and understand what they can measure and what they mean. This knowledge is imperative in the legal representation of our clients

We also understand the importance of the medical team approach for the diagnosis and rehabilitation of persons who live with traumatic brain injury. We work with the treatment team toward not only financial, but emotional recovery for our clients.

Living with what has been called the “invisible injury” and the cognitive, psychological, social and economic upheavals can be overwhelming and confusing. Our approach is to become involved with, consult and communicate as a facilitative adjunct to the treatment team and the survivor and family members.

Wrongful death

Perhaps nothing is more difficult than dealing with the unexpected death of a loved one. Because this is a devastating time for family members and other survivors, selection of legal counsel should be a careful consideration.

Strong, capable and experienced representation at the outset provides you not only with the best chance of obtaining optimal legal results, but can also provide the reassurance and strength needed to navigate the numerous unexpected tasks and responsibilities that befall survivors of wrongful death.

Our solid foundation of experience can be relied upon in a time of uncertainty. Varnum’s personal injury team is one of the strongest in Michigan with a full spectrum of experience in wrongful death legal issues.

Most importantly, our attorneys will help surviving family members navigate the emotional trauma caused by the sudden loss of a loved one with careful, sensitive and experienced advice. We help your family identify goals, and we move forward recognizing the unique needs of each family.

Verdicts & Settlements

Verdicts & Settlements


Wrongful death of mother, father, and two young children due to leaking propane gas in home on hog farm. Multiple experts presented cause and origin and scientific testimony. Defendants claimed causation could not be established. Loss of society and companionship damages awarded to each of the survivors in the four estates.


A couple traveling by car were stopped at a rest area. While standing near a rest area picnic table, a car pulling into the rest area jumped the curb, struck her and pinned her underneath. The woman suffered serious injuries that rendered her a quadriplegic. The case was settled out of court.


2 1/2 year old boy suffered burn injuries. Product liability case with difficult liability facts and proofs versus national manufacturer, settlement just prior to trial.


16-year-old girl suffered burn injuries. Case required proofs for willful and wanton conduct, recklessness and gross negligence to overcome governmental immunity. Settlement after over a year of litigation.


Burn injuries from negligence/premises liability claims.


Neuro damage to c-spine after trip and fall.


16-year-old girl suffered burn injuries. Case required proofs for willful and wanton conduct, recklessness and gross negligence to overcome governmental immunity. Settlement after two years of litigation.


7-year-old boy suffered burns in propane explosion. Settlement during litigation.


A man working at a loading dock area was killed when a large overhead door failed and collapsed on him. After significant litigation against the manufacturer of the door system, the installer of the system and the maintenance company, the case settled.


4-year-old girl suffered burn injuries from improperly filled propane cylinder. Settlement after both parties accepted mediation award following over two years of litigation.


Man's vehicle was stopped in a construction zone on the interstate. Defendant’s truck driver rear-ended the vehicle killing him. Truck driver fatigue played a major role in causing the crash. Decedent left a spouse and four minor children.


Claim arising from sexual assault.


Three Illinois students burned in a chemistry class accident.


Fractured heel and mild brain injury.


Fire sprinkler installer was crushed to death when sidewall collapsed, pinning him between a 20,000 gallon water storage tank and the opposite wall of the hole. He was survived by his wife and two teenage children.


A man was killed after coming into contact with a live electrical wire. Initial discovery showed the utility pole not properly maintained. A mediation took place and the case was resolved through a settlement.


20-year-old single man suffered burns from fire in building. Proofs required evidence to overcome governmental immunity and arson causation by other person (sentenced to prison for starting fire). Settlement pre-suit for non-economic damages only.


Wrongful death case and brain injury to 2-year-old boy. Difficult liability claims with evidence that one Plaintiff at fault. Settlement after four years of litigation.


Premises liability from propane leak and fire with burn injuries to three occupants. Limited insurance coverage.


Couple's auto rear-ended by driver under the influence of alcohol and narcotics. Husband was owner operator of farm semi-trucking business. Post-crash, Plaintiff was unable to continue working in his business.


While reading water meters, City Public Works Department employee was electrocuted when he inadvertently touched live wire exposed on boiler. Wire was exposed when Defendant’s employee forgot to secure cover over boiler’s low water switch. Decedent was survived by a dependent wife and two teenage sons.


Man suffered burns and mild brain injury in electrical explosion. Settlement after two years of litigation.


Decedent, 15 years old, was a passenger in a vehicle struck by an Amtrak train at a railroad crossing. The view of the on-coming train was blocked by a building at the crossing. The active train warning system failed to provide sufficient time to warn the driver of the approaching train.


79-year-old with approximately 13% scald burns to feet and legs with subsequent wrongful death from sepsis.


Driver ran stop sign and entered path of motorcyclist, who had no time to react or avoid collision; cyclist was killed. Recovery was solely for non-economic damages.


Woman was driving her vehicle when a drunk driver crossed over the center line and struck her head-on. Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures and mild brain injury. Defendants included the intoxicated driver and the company who owned the establishment where the driver was served alcohol.


Truck and automobile collided in intersection sending auto into a parking lot striking victim. The young man suffered catastrophic injuries to his lower extremities, including multiple leg, ankle, pelvic, hip and rib fractures. A below the knee amputation later became necessary because of infection.


Decedent was driving his motorcycle below the speed limit. Defendant suddenly turned in front of motorcycle without sufficient time to avoid the collision. Decedent is survived by a dependent spouse and two teenage children.


Small child scalded in bath tub. Boyfriend convicted of homicide. Claim brought against separate entity despite homicide conviction. Settlement against separate entity despite fault of felon.


Burn injuries and traumatic brain injury alleged resulting when man crashed into vehicle on freeway. Difficult liability claim with issues concerning non-party fault. Some of the settlement proceeds structured for economic security of clients.


Female was passenger in vehicle that was broadsided in intersection where Defendant’s truck and overloaded trailer ran a red traffic signal. Plaintiff suffered pelvic fractures and mild brain injury.


A young woman was killed when the car she was driving was struck head-on by a semi-truck. Pre-suit settlement out of $1 million policy.


4-year-old child crawled into an unlocked electrical transformer box at an apartment complex while outside playing with her siblings and neighbors. The child suffered second and third degree electrical burns. The settlement was used to purchase a structure guaranteed to payout over the child’s lifetime.


A young boy was killed when a vehicle strayed from the roadway and struck him while he rode his tricycle. We recovered the policy limit from the driver's no-fault carrier plus additional maximum recovery from the mother's no-fault carrier, with no need to file suit.


A man was involved in a serious automobile accident and received extensive physical injuries, including significant closed-head injury. The case was successfully settled.


Driver stopped in a construction zone was struck from behind by driver that never braked before impact. The other driver was looking down before the collision and was thought to be texting. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his neck requiring three different fusion surgeries.


Amputation of finger when farm tractor tire fell on minor’s hand while she was playing in grandparent’s barn.


Scald injury to minor who was being bathed in sink at apartment. Treated and released at the hospital and no skin grafting with resultant discoloration. Recovery was used to purchase a lifetime structured settlement for minor with a minimum of $915,215.98.


We understand that you have questions and are happy to talk to you at no cost.

Phone: 800/400-9115

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