Injuries suffered by elderly couple are not a serious impairment
Robert Baker and his wife, Kathryn Baker, a couple in their 70s, were rear-ended by a Dart Transit truck on I-94 in Kalamazoo County. Within a few weeks, both experienced knee pain. To varying degrees, both Robert and Kathryn also experienced anxiety and depression resulting from the incident. Robert had experienced one bout of depression forty years earlier, while Kathryn had a more recent issue related to anxiety.
Ultimately, Kathryn endured several procedures on her knees, including a surgery, and required counseling for post-traumatic stress. Her doctors also changed her medications to facilitate sleep. Robert's knee was described as bone-on-bone from degenerative arthritis and his doctors thought that both the knee and his own psychological condition were exacerbated by the collision incident. He, also, received months of treatment. The trial court concluded that neither husband nor wife had documented a "serious impairment of bodily function" as defined in the Kreiner case, and on that basis their claims were dismissed. Although their activities were limited by pain and anxiety, the limitations did not meet the "life-altering" test created by "the sleeping judge," Justice Cliff Taylor.