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Motorist with herniated disc goes to jury to determine "serious impairment"

Wayne Brown was rear-ended by Stephanie Blouir at a stop sign.  The 2005 collision caused a herniated disc.  Although Brown never required surgery, he did require physical therapy, repeated spinal nerve-block injections, prescription pain relievers and physician-restrictions on his activities. The trial court dismissed his claim, holding that under the Kreiner standard, he had not demonstrated a life-altering injury. 

On appeal, and applying the McCormick standard, the judges concluded that the impact of the collision superimposed on existing degenerative disc disease was enough to create a question of fact for the jury to decide.  Since Brown had to give up an ardent hobby, golfing; needed to change how and when he performed most of his household services; and had to give up his occasional income generation as a musician because he couldn't haul his drums to performance venues; the Court concluded his claim should not be dismissed summarily. The Court also took note of Brown's physicians' [standard bad disc] original restrictions "to avoid lifting over ten pounds, bending twisting or working above shoulder level," even though they had not been renewed since 2006.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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