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Court upholds summary disposition of woman's back injury no fault claim

Diana Lenk sued the at-fault and two auto insurers after she was rear-ended on I-96 in Kent County.  The insurers sought summary disposition, arguing that Lenk could not prove that her back and neck pain constituted a "serious impairment of bodily function."  The defendants argued that she failed to demonstrate an "objectively manifested impairment."  The trial judge granted summary disposition and she appealed to the Court of Appeals. 

The latter court noted that CT scans "revealed no abnormalities" [that is true in about half of all similar neck and back pain situations] but that a "2013 MRI revealed a [r]ight paracentral disc herniation at T9-T10." Nevertheless, the Court concluded that Lenk had failed to provide evidence linking this abnormality with the 2010 car accident, and that she "provided no objective support for her claim that she suffered a threshold injury."  Although she underwent a series of facet injections and thermal radiofrequency neurotomies and was medically limited from some activities such as snow-shoveling, the Court ruled that she had "no obvious or measurable neurologic deficits" and only "subjective complaints of stiffness and pain with movement."  Since she missed only five days of work, the higher court judges agreed with the summary disposition of her claim.

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