Court upholds jury verdict of "serious impairment"
Glenn Forgette suffered injuries to his right wrist, left shoulder and lower back as a result of Gail Jones' negligent operation of her husband's business-owned car. Forgette's injuries included a torn rotator cuff, a fractured wrist and probable fractures in the lower back. The insurer appealed, claiming that even though these injuries severely curtailed Forgette's lifestyle, they did not constitute a "serious impairment of bodily function." The unanimous Court of Appeals rejected the insurer's arguments, noting that while many of Forgette's activities were restricted by pain and not by explicit physician instructions, the limitations were based upon physician-identified physiological explanations and "tru[e] suffering".
The Court also noted that while the various orthopaedic surgeons were not in complete agreement about the etiology of the Plaintiff's fractures and injuries, the weighing of this testimony was a task for the jury, not the judge. After making a comprehensive analysis of Forgette's treatment alternatives, his prognosis, and all of the factors identified in the Kreiner case, the Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that there was ample evidence to uphold the jury's verdict of serious impairment. The case is Forgette v. Gail Ann Jones and Bill Jones Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a/ Metro Airport Truck.