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Yarber, et al v Home-Owners Ins Co, et al (COA – UNP 4/21/2022; RB #4303)   


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #357197; Unpublished  
Judges Jansen, Sawyer, and Riordan; Per Curiam 
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion

Causation Issues [§3135]

Not Applicable

In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary disposition order dismissing Plaintiff Christopher Yarber’s action for uninsured motorist (UM) benefits against Defendant Home-Owners Insurance Company (“Home-Owners”). The Court of Appeals held that Yarber failed to establish that his injuries were caused by the subject car crash.

Christopher Yarber was involved in a hit-and-run car crash while driving his mother’s vehicle.  He testified that he felt pain in his shoulder and lower back immediately after the crash, but he did not call the police until the day after the crash to file a report.  He subsequently sought treatment for his injuries from Farmbrook Interventional Pain and Aquatic Solutions Physical Therapy, LLC, the records from which “indicated injury and treatment to plaintiff’s back and spine, but did not explain the cause of the injury.”  Yarber then filed a complaint against the unknown driver, including a claim for uninsured motorist benefits against Home-Owners, and Home-Owners moved for summary disposition, arguing that Yarber failed to present any evidence to create a question of fact as to whether his injuries were caused by the crash.  The trial court agreed with Home-Owners and granted its motion.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary disposition order in favor of Home-Owners, holding that Yarber’s testimony and medical records were insufficient to create a question of fact on the issue of causation, because “none of the records specifically attribute[d] his injuries to an automobile accident.”

“Plaintiff presented testimonial evidence and medical documentation to show he experienced an injury after the alleged accident. At his deposition, plaintiff testified that he felt pain immediately in his shoulder, back, and left side. Plaintiff received treatment from Aquatic Solutions, as well as a pain management physician, who documented plaintiff’s pain and immobility. Plaintiff presented findings from an MRI, which showed injury of plaintiff’s spine at L4 and L5. However, none of the medical records submitted by plaintiff specifically attribute his injuries to an automobile accident. There is no medical opinion providing that his injuries were a result of the accident, as required under McCormick. Id. The only references to the accident in the medical records were reported by plaintiff to the provider. Thus, plaintiff fails to meet the first requirement that his injuries were objectively manifested, MCL 500.3135(5)(a), and we need not discuss the additional requirements. As such, the trial court properly granted defendant summary disposition as to plaintiff’s UM claim because there is no genuine issue of material fact that plaintiff’s injuries did not meet the threshold to be considered a serious impairment of a body function under MCL 500.3135(5).” 

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