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Lund v Travelers Indemnity Co of America (COA - UNP; 12/29/2016; RB # 3596)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket # 330212; Unpublished
Judges Borrello, Sawyer and Markey; Unanimous, Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion


STATUTORY INDEXING:

Entitlement to PIP Benefits: Arising Out of / Causation Requirement [§3105(1)]
Allowable Expenses for Medical Treatment [§3107(1)(a)]

TOPICAL INDEXING:

Not Applicable


CASE SUMMARY:

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion involving no-fault benefits under MCL 500.3107, the Court of Appeals held that summary disposition was properly granted for the insurer because the evidence that plaintiff provided – in the form of billing statements and her own deposition testimony – was insufficient to create a question about whether the medical treatment she received in the years following her accident was causally related to the accident, as required by MCL 500.3105.

Plaintiff was a self-sufficient schizophrenic. Her healthcare was paid by Medicaid. She controlled her schizophrenia by taking Haloperidol (Haldol). In October 2012, plaintiff was hit by a truck while crossing the street. Plaintiff was treated and discharged from the hospital a few days later. Defendant Travelers paid plaintiff’s medical expenses through the date of her hospital discharge. Travelers, however, disputed that medical expenses plaintiff subsequently incurred in 2013 and 2014 were related to the October 2012 accident. When Travelers refused to pay the 2013 and 2014 medical expenses, plaintiff filed this action. Because plaintiff was not working before the accident and remained unemployed afterward, she presented no wage-loss claim. During discovery, plaintiff failed to appear for depositions and for three independent medical exams (IMEs). Plaintiff’s counsel withdrew from the case and plaintiff was eventually deposed in August 2015. Travelers moved for summary disposition, asserting that plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence that her medical expenses were related to the 2012 accident. In response, plaintiff attached billing statements from providers and summaries of billing statements. Plaintiff did not present any affidavits or depositions from medical experts. The trial court granted Travelers’ summary disposition motion.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, finding that plaintiff did not produce sufficient evidence to create a question about whether her medical treatment in 2013 and 2014 was for symptoms causally related to the motor vehicle accident, as required by §3105(1).

In particular, the Court pointed out that, when challenged to produce evidence of a causal link between the October 2012 accident and her various post-accident symptoms and treatment, plaintiff submitted only billing statements and her own deposition testimony. The Court noted that these billing statements included only single words or short phrases. The Court held these hearsay statements provided no evidence causally linking plaintiff’s complaints in 2013 and 2014 to injuries from the October 2012 accident.

Regarding plaintiff’s own deposition testimony, the Court of Appeals said that, at best, it provided inadmissible hearsay concerning whether her post-accident symptoms were linked to injuries caused by the October 2012 accident. The Court observed:

“The hearsay testimony of plaintiff is insufficient to create a material question of fact on a motion for summary disposition.”

Therefore, because plaintiff did not produce sufficient admissible evidence to create a material question of fact, the Court of Appeals concluded that summary disposition was properly granted for Travelers.

 


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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