Court dismisses woman's auto negligence claim because of lack of work history
Gayle Sigan sued Jessica Deziel after she was rear-ended at a stop sign. The Court took pains to note that neither woman reported the incident to police immediately and that Sigan's car showed no "noticeable" damage. Sigan had applied for SSI years before and had indicated at that time that she was not capable of employment due to arthritis and fibromyalgia. She also described in some detail a very limited personal life resulting from pain and disability.
In her lawsuit, Sigan argued that she had become disabled from working as a social worker pursuant to the degree she had achieved in 2013, resulting in economic damages she should collect from the defendant. Sigan also argued that her medical problems were aggravated by the new collision to an extent that she had met the No Fault threshold and had suffered a "serious impairment of bodily function."
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judge's summary disposition of Sigan's lawsuit. It held that her life was so limited--according to her previously filed documents--that the new injuries and limitations did not constitute a serious impairment. It also held that her claim of income loss based on the new college degree was a claim for "loss of earning capacity" which is not recoverable under the no fault law. Since she had not worked for about seven years, she was not eligible to collect "wage loss" as that term is defined in Michigan's no fault scheme. Under prior cases, she would have needed to prove an existing job offer in order to collect wages she anticipated earning.