Court overturns jury verdict of "no serious impairment"
Woodrow Allen Byers sued Douglas and Kelley Carpenter after his motorcycle collided with a Ford Escort owned by Kelley and operated by Douglas. He suffered, among other undisputed injuries, two fractures of the femur, a frozen shoulder and fractured humerus, multiple rib fractures and a pneumothorax. His doctors testified that he suffered a torn ACL, although the IME doctor disagreed that the collision necessitated this surgical repair. Byers endured four surgeries, including hardware insertion and removals and more than 96 sessions of physical therapy. He was forced to use a wheelchair initially and was disabled from work for a year. He had continuing pain and restrictions confirmed by his doctors, although the IME doctor claimed he should be released to return to work without restrictions.At trial, the jury ruled that Byers had not suffered a "serious impairment of bodily function" as that term was defined by the Engler Majority in the Kreiner case. The Court of Appeals reversed and returned the case to the lower court, holding that the trial judge should have ruled that Byers suffered a serious impairment "as a matter of law."