Rare win for injured man whose case was dismissed as "not a serious impairment."
Chad Eccleston sued John Edward Prisk and his employer after Prisk's large passenger van struck Eccleston's pickup while both were maneuvering through heavy Palace of Auburn Hills traffic. Prisk's employer's insurer's attorneys persuaded the Oakland County judge to summarily dismiss Eccleston's case, arguing that his injuries didn't constitute a "serious impairment of bodily function."
The Court of Appeals reviewed the medical records and testimony, noting that while a jury may conclude that Eccleston's life is not seriously disrupted, it could also reach the opposite conclusion. The contractor struggles to work overhead, works more slowly, must hire a laborer to assist in some projects, and has been forced to curtail much of his recreational activity. His doctor testified that he has suffered damaged vertebral discs, endures muscle spasms and limited range of motion and likely will live with permanent pain. One of two "independent medical examiners" hired by his auto insurance company agreed with Eccleston's doctor's assessment. Under these circumstances, the trial judge exceeded his authority when he granted summary disposition.