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Motorcyclist who suffers injury in second collision can sue for PIP benefits if first collision caused seizure that caused second collision

Ian McPherson was in a motor vehicle collision while occupying a car driven by his brother and insured by Progressive Michigan.  He suffered a seizure the following day, which his two physicians attributed to a mixture of genetic and traumatic causes. A year later, he was operating his uninsured motorcycle when he suffered a second seizure; in the succeeding crash, he suffered catastrophic injuries that rendered him a ventilator-dependant quadriplegiac.

Since McPherson's bike was not insured and the car he hit was "legally parked," he wasn't eligible to collect no fault PIP benefits to cover his lost wages and medical expenses arising out of the second collision.  He brought an action against Progressive, arguing that his seizure-related expenses were "caused" by the first collision  and should be covered by that insurer.  The trial court held that a factual question had been raised regarding this causation argument and refused Progressive's Motion for Summary Disposition.  The Court of Appeals ruled that since two specialists agreed that the first collision was a "significant contributing factor" in causing McPherson's seizures, and since Progressive presented no medical testimony to dispute that claim, a full hearing on the merits would be necessary to decide whether Progressive owed PIP benefits to McPherson arising out of his seizure-induced second collision.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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