The Michigan Supreme Court Find No Serious Impairment

In April 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Michigan Court of Appeals when it decided the case of Jones v. Olson, 480 Mich. 1169, 1172, 747 N.W.2d 250, 252 (Mich.,2008).

Mr. Jones was in a car accident. He suffered serious injuries including a fractured vertebra in his neck (at C-7), for which he was fitted with a “C-collar” for two months. Also, MRI scans revealed disc bulges in his neck at C6-7 and C5-6 levels. The neck and back injuries were caused by him hitting his head on the window pylon in his car.

Mr. Jones continued seeing a neurologist through January 2004 for treatment of his neck and back injuries. As of November 2003, he was complaining of persistent pain in his neck with radiating numbness into his shoulders and arms. By January 2004, he reported continued neck and back pain with decreased rotation and movement of both, but denied radiating numbness. From January 2004 to February 2004, he underwent physical therapy, with good results. From the accident until February 12, 2004, he had not been medically released to return to work, which entailed pouring and setting up cement walls. On February 12, he was released to restart work for only three hours a day for two days a week. This limited schedule was increased to full time within two to four weeks after the initial work restart date (approximately early April 2004).

During the entire six months Jones was off work, he was unable to do several activities that he normally did in his pre-accident life. Those activities included hunting, snowmobiling, playing softball, doing yard work, and taking long walks with his girlfriend (which he commonly did four or five nights a week). Also, during the first two months after the accident, Jones was unable to be intimate with his girlfriend, dress himself, feed himself, drive a car, or take his son to school. Since early or mid-March 2004, when he regained full-time work status, Jones has resumed all pre-accident work activities and pre-accident normal life activities.

The Michigan Supreme Court decided that Mr. Jones injuries were not serious enough for him to sue the driver of the automobile responsible for the crash. I find this to be a horrible decision by the trial court and the Michigan Supreme Court. Injuries such as those suffered by Mr. Jones and several other similar people are robbed by the courts of not being allowed to have their day in court. These types of cases should be allowed to be decided by juries.

Categories: Personal Injury