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Michigan Personal Injury Law | Supreme Court Issues Ruling In McCormick v. Carrier Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Meaning Of “Serious Impairment of Body Function” Requirement

Michigan Supreme Court Overturns Personal Injury Law Decision Under No Fault Automobile Insurance Statute

On July 31, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court, in McCormick v. Carrier (Appeal No. 136738) overturned the “serious impairment of body function” car accident personal injury lawsuit threshold standard previously set forth in Kreiner v. Fischer, 471 Mich. 109 (2004) for non-economic tort liability under Michigan MCL 500.3101 et seq, according to a personal injury law news report.  

According to the McCormick v. Carrier Court, under Michigan’s no-fault automobile-insurance statute, a car accident victim typically does not have the right to sue the person who caused the car accident, unless “the injured person has suffered death, serious impairment of body function, orpermanent serious disfigurement,” which the legislature (MCL § 500.3135(7)) defined to mean “an objectively manifested impairment of an important body function that affects the person‟s general ability to lead his or her normal life.”

Under previous law in Kreiner, an injured person reportedly had to demonstrate that his or her entire life was permanently affected by a car accident or other personal injury in order to meet this threshold. In reversing Kreiner, the McCormick v. Carrier Court reportedly held that the “serious impairment of body function” threshold is met where:

1) an objectively manifested impairment (observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions) (2) of an important body function (a body function of value, significance, or consequence to the injured person) that (3) affects the person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life (influences some of the plaintiff’s capacity to live in his or her normal manner of living).

The Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling in McCormick v. Carrier potentially affects thousands of auto accident victims who were seriously injured in Michigan yet were told they had no personal injury case under the law and who now potentially may have another chance to bring pain and suffering personal injury lawsuits.

For more information on the McCormick v. Carrier personal injury lawsuit decision, read the McCormick v. Carrier supreme court opinion.

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