Jury must decide whether woman's neck injuries are a "serious impairment of bodily function"
Emma O'Keefe was hurt when Francis Kirchoff backed into her car in Oakland County. The Auto Club acknowledged that O'Keefe suffered an objectively manifested injury, but denied that the consequences were a "serious impairment of bodily function" as that threshold requirement was re-defined in the Kreiner v. Fischer case. On that basis, O'Keefe's lawsuit seeking non-economic damages from Kirchoff's insurer was dismissed.
Observing that O'Keefe's back and neck injuries now prevent her from performing yard work, housework, baking, walking on a treadmill and playing with, or even reading to her grandchildren, the Court of Appeals concluded that it was an error to dismiss her case as a matter of law. Since these and other restrictions and limitations, including a loss of marital relations, appear to be permanent, a jury should determine whether O'Keefe has suffered a "serious impairment of bodily function."