Another injury claim returned to lower court for analysis of "serious impairment"
The no fault allows a motor vehicle accident injury victim to sue the at-fault driver if the victim suffers death, serious impairment of a bodily function, or a permanent serious disfigurement. Almost a decade ago, the activist Justices appointed by Governor Engler interpreted the statute to limit "serious impairment" to victims who had suffered a "life altering" injury. After the statute had been adopted in 1974, the previous sitting Justices had rejected this kind of threshold, noting that if the legislature wanted to establish a "catastrophic" injury threshold, it would have used those words, rather than "serious."
In 2010, the Supreme Court, composed of four Republican-nominees and three Democrat-nominees, overturned this harsh "Kreiner" threshold in the McCormick case and adopted an injury threshold more consistent with the original wording of the statute. This month, the Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal of Mr. Gronda's injury claim because the lower court had analyzed the claim pursuant to the Kreiner standard, rather than applying the McCormick standard.