Another non-catastrophic "serious injury" goes uncompensated
In Williams v. Caleca, the Farm Bureau insurance Company won an appeal to keep from paying an injured plaintiff reasonable compensation for his injuries.
Farm Bureau has fast become one of the more aggressive insurers in attempting to take advantage of the Engler-activist Michigan judiciary's anti-consumer bias. It won on another claim this week, challenging the "seriousness" of the victim's permanent injury. Plaintiff Williams was struck by a car driven by Farm Bureau's insured and suffered a badly injured foot and ankle: Farm Bureau did not contest that its insured was at fault.
As a result of his injuries, Williams had to give up his employment as a Black Jack dealer because he could not stand on his feet for 3 hours at a time. He also experienced difficulty sleeping and could no longer shovel snow, lift weights or play basketball. He experienced difficulty with domestic chores and had to revert to a more sedentary lifestyle. (Before the injury, his medical chart demonstrated that he bowled in two leagues, played basketball, and kept a gym membership, for example).
Relying on the fact that he had found other employment at a comparable wage, the fact that he could now stand at the sink for 20 minutes to shave, and the fact that his 20 pound weight restriction applied only to work and not to occasional lifting, the Court held that Williams had not adequately documented that his injury was "serious". It was not clear if the Court was criticizing Williams' attorney for failing to adequately document the lifestyle impact of his injury, or if it was using that rationalization to justify its decision that he was not entitled to any compensation for his injury. Given that Judge Saad was on the panel, it is likely that the insurer would have won under any circumstance: we aren't sure if he has EVER voted in favor of a consumer, an injury victim or an insured.