Woman who suffered neck fracture can sue for "serious impairment"
Julie Garcia suffered a nondisplaced fracture of her C-7 vertebra in an automobile collision. She sued the at-fault driver's estate, and the defendants appealed the lower court's refusal to dismiss her claim. In reliance on the Kreiner standard for interpreting "serious impairment of bodily function," theCourt of Appeals initially held that Garcia could not sue because she did not suffer a "life-altering" injury. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed and sent the case back to the Court of Appeals to evaluate under a different "serious impairment" standard.After the Supreme Court overturned the Kreiner decision and returned the "serious impairment of bodily function" test to its original interpretation, the Court of Appeals reversed itself and reinstated the lower court's decision not to dismiss her case.
The Court noted that under the newer McCormick standard, Garcia had created a question of fact with regard to the the seriousness of her injury. Although she healed within a few months without serious complications, in the meantime she lost her management job, suffered a reduction in income, and lost the ability to engage in many of the recreational activities she had previously enjoyed.