After many years of suffering caused, primarily, by appellate judicial appointments of the pro-insurance Engler administration, seriously injured auto accident victims, previously shut out by conservative judicial interpretations of the “so-called” threshold for tort recovery, may finally begin to receive justice in Michigan.
Some brave Michigan lawmakers are finally taking steps to legislate a reversal or modification of a controversial 2004 Michigan Supreme Court decision. In Kreiner v Fischer, the state’s highest court handed down a decision that has acted as a shield for negligent and drunk drivers, permitting them to cause serious injuries to innocent victims, with absolutely no consequence to the perpetrator nor remuneration to the victim. The decision applied a significant injury threshold that was not contained in the Michigan No-Fault statute and it has denied justice, from 2004 to the present day, to countless Michigan citizens who have sought damages after suffering a variety of serious, disabling injuries. Essentially, the issues have been how serious an injury or disability is by making an erroneous inquiry into the duration of the impairment, a determination that was never contemplated by the statute. To quote Justice Cavanaugh’s thoughtful dissent in the Kreiner case:
” The plain and unambiguous language of the statutory definition of “serious impairment of body function” does not set forth any quantum of time the judge or jury must find dispositive when determining whether a serious impairment of body function has occurred. Therefore, the duration of the impairment is not an appropriate inquiry. The majority noticeably departs from accepted principles of statutory interpretation when it concludes that certain temporal factors should be considered when evaluating whether the serious impairment of body function threshold has been met. For example, the majority reasons that “the type and length of treatment required,” “the duration of the impairment,” “the extent of any residual impairment,” and “the prognosis for eventual recovery” are relevant factors to consider when making the threshold determination…It is equally evident that the majority uses the facts of the Kreiner case to effectively create a more rigorous threshold requirement than that mandated by the Legislature.”
Lawsuit Financial Corporation supports well reasoned legislation that clarifies the Michigan no-fault tort threshold and eliminates the erroneous Kreiner standard. Michigan citizens are encouraged to write to your state representatives and/or state senators to support this effort.