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.