Court upholds jury verdict that woman was not injured in car accident
In Livingston v. James Alexander Sullivan, IV, the Court of Appeals recently rejected a motorist's appeal of a jury verdict against her. The injured woman sued after she was rear-ended at a stoplight. She claimed that the car that struck her was traveling 30 miles per hour and although she denied any injury at the scene, she reported to the E.R. that night with low back pain. She was treated extensively for several years for back and shoulder pain and endured one surgery and eventually sued the at-fault driver. Unfortunately, she did not acknowledge to her treaters that she had a history of several motor vehicle accidents and extensive medical care prior to this collision. Apparently as a result, the jury concluded that she was not injured in the subject collision: it believed that her treatment was necessitated by at least five documented prior injuries. The Court of Appeals concluded that between her extensive medical history, questions of her credibility, and the minimal impact of the subject collision, the jury's verdict was not "against the great weight of the evidence."
Meanwhile St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital's action against the woman's PIP insurer for medical treatment expenses was summarily dismissed, based on the outcome of the jury trial brought by Livingston. Given the jury verdict, Livingston's injuries and treatment did not "arise out of the use of a motor vehicle."