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Another abusive "serious impairment" decision

  In McCormick v. Carrier, two Court of Appeals judges applied the Michigan Supreme Court's recent interpretation of the "serious impairment" threshold to dismiss the claim of Mr. McCormick.

     Mr. McCormick suffered a badly fractured ankle in January, 2005, when a co-worker backed over his leg.  He required two surgeries to repair the fractures and was not approved to return to work without restrictions until January of 2006.  Citing the fact that "but for pain his life was relatively normal", the Judges overturned the trial court's holding that he had suffered a serious impairment of bodily function.

     In a brief but spirited opinion, the dissenting judge noted that McCormick had returned to different duties at his work because his employer did not consider him capable of performing his prior job;  the dissenting opinion pointed out that both the treater and an "independent" doctor hired by his insurer found indication of degerative arthritis in the traumatized ankle.   Judge Alton Davis, the dissenter, concluded that there was ample objective evidence to support a "serious" injury, even under the Supreme Court's restrictive "life altering" interpretation.  If one looks at the "trajectory" of McCormick's ENTIRE life, as required by the Supreme Court, his doctor, his employer and the insurer's doctor had all objectively confirmed that his activities had been seriously altered from his pre-injury lifestyle. 

     It was a travesty--and pure politics--to deny McCormick's right to claim compensation for this "serious" injury.

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