Excellent "serious impairment" decision interpreting Kreiner
In a sign that the recent forced retirement of Justice Taylor will relax the unrealistic "serious impairment" standard that he had fostered, a recent decision by the Court of Appeals arrived at a common sense conclusion regarding the "seriousness" of an innocent motorist's injuries. In Nassar v. Bazzi, the Court noted that while the injured man's career as a cook was not seriously disrupted by his shoulder injury, "his normal life" was affected [quoting the statute].
Nassar could not lift his arm to its full range of motion, and he had been advised by his doctor to limit all strenuous activities, particularly those involving the shoulder. As a result, he could not golf, play catch with his grandchildren, perform yard work, coach basketball effectively, play volleyball or basketball as he previously did, or run 2 to 3 miles per day. The trial court had dismissed his claim, relying on some of the more restrictive language in Kreiner. The Court of Appeals reversed, noting that not every aspect of the victim's life must be disrupted to constitute a serious impairment. The unrealistic suggestion in prior cases that activity-limiting pain is irrelevant was dismissed where the treating physician had instructed the victim to limit his activity according to his pain level.