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A rare serious impairment victory

In a 2-1 decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals, Caroline Ransom's right to pursue a claim against the at-fault dump truck driver who rear-ended her was preserved--at least until the case is heard by the Michigan Supreme Court.

There is no dispute about who caused the accident, or the extent of her injuries.  Nevertheless, the insurer for the Defendant claimed that her injuries didn't constitute a "serious impairment of bodily function".    Ms. Ransom suffered a torn rotator cuff in her left shoulder and a shoulder impingement on the right.  The torn rotator cuff required several months of physical therapy, prescription pain medication, and surgery.  Her neck injury, including multiple bulging discs, has been treated with steroid injections and treatment for that injury is ongoing.

Initially, she had to live with a 3 pound lifting restriction.  She has been unable to return to the 30 hour job she had held for 30 years, delivering mail, and was restricted from any mail work for seven months after surgery.  She was restricted from driving for for two years. Her injuries also had a mild continuing impact on her home and recreation life.

One of the Judges dissented, claiming her injury still isn't "serious".  We wouldn't be shocked if the "gang of four" in the Supreme Court agreed.  It appears that they would consider an injury to be "serious" only if it happened to a member of their family or a close friend.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262