Serious impairment of shorter duration
In Donovan v. Metro Plant Services, the Court of Appeals recognized that an injury may meet the Supreme Court's interpretation of serious impairment, and thus be "life-altering", even though it may not be "life-altering" for more than a few months.
Donovan suffered a shoulder injury in a motor vehicle collision. It progressively worsened over several months until he had to undergo arthoscopic surgery. For about two months after the surgery, Donovan proved to the Court that he could not (or could only with great pain and difficulty) work, drive, bathe, dress, tie his shoes, brush his hair, clean, cook, mow the lawn, or do laundry. He had to purchase a recliner to sleep in, and could not get out of it without assistance.
The Court held that this all-encompassing limitation which was only addressed by recruiting the 24 hour care of his family, constituted a serious injury under the Kreiner standard adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court. The judges noted that Kreiner had acknowledged that an injury could be "serious" and "life-altering" even for a short duration, and they felt that Donovan had documented such a situation. There are several other cases similar to Donovan's where other panels of the Court of Appeals have refused to recognize a serious impairment under similar circumstances. Part of the problem in these other cases may have been a failure to carefully document the manifestations of an injury that was not long-lasting. The Supreme Court may not grant leave in Donovan to address the lower court's holding, as Donovan is a U.S. Marshal and it would not be politically expedient to make an aggresive ruling against him.