Court rejects head-injured man's claim that mental disability tolled the statute of limitations
Joseph Raschke sued Citizens Insurance and a trucking company in 2011, alleging that he suffered a head injury in a collision caused by the defendants in 2005. The defendants raised the three-year statute of limitations, but Raschke argued that his pre-existing depression and bi-polar disease, combined with the head injury from the collision, left him mentally incapacitated and therefore "tolled" or extended the statute of limitations. The trial judge rejected Raschke's argument and granted summary disposition. Raschke appealed, providing extensive medical records of mental or emotional issues going back to age 16 and substantial treatment records after the collision.
The Court of Appeals concluded that the records the injured man provided were not adequate to support his argument that he was "insane" at the time of the collision. It pointed to his Emergency Room records that identified "no blow to the head" and to his family physician's records which "only show conditions occurring after the [accident]." The court concluded that while he documented mental issues, Raschke had not created a question of fact with regard to whether his condition was severe enough to prevent plaintiff from knowing his legal rights.