Today was a pivotal day for the rights of injured people in the State of Michigan. Oral arguments were scheduled for today in the case of McCormick v Carrier. This case has the potential of bringing back justice to the courts in matters of automobile negligence. Under Michigan’s No-Fault Act, a person injured by someone else’s negligence cannot sue that negligent driver for his or her "pain and suffering" unless they’re either (1) dead, (2) seriously disfigured, (3) or have suffered a "serious impairment of body function (PDF)." That third category has been the subject of much debate since the category was introduced.
The trial court in Genesee County felt Mr. McCormick hadn’t suffered that type of injury, and he was so convinced he didn’t even think Mr. McCormick’s case should have gone to a jury. The Court of Appeals agreed.
Mr. McCormick’s foot was run over by a truck. Let’s start with that. It’s undisputed his ankle was broken and he was kept off work for over a year. He needed two surgeries to repair his ankle. I empathize with him, because there’s no way he didn’t suffer a "serious impairment of body function."
It’s time for the Gang of Justice at the Michigan Supreme Court to live up to their potential and change some horrible law that has been allowed to prevail in Michigan since Governor Engler’s Gang of Four gave us Kreiner v Fischer. Why is such change needed?
Because of cases like Sower v Reynolds, in which the Court of Appeals decided that a communited fracture (read, broken in multiple places) of the femur that required surgical repair (read, pins, rods, and needles) did not result in a serious impairment of body function. This opinion by the Court of Appeals is so patently unjust, it doesn’t even try to honestly argue how the injuries aren’t serious, it merely says so and cites Kreiner.
Michigan law must change. When people are severely injured by other people’s negligent driving, there has to be personal accountability.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.