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Reid v Cavataio; (COA-UNP, 4/20/2004, RB #2452)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 244615; Unpublished    
Judges Cavanagh, Murphy, and Smolenski; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion courthouse graphic

Serious Impairment of Body Function Definition (Kreiner Era: 1996-2010) [3135(7)] 
Objective Manifestation Element of Serious Impairment (Kreiner Era: 1996-2010) [3135(7)] 
Causation Issues [3135]

Not applicable 

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court grant of summary disposition in favor of defendant on the issue of serious impairment of body function. Plaintiff sustained non-displaced rib and sternal fractures in the accident and subsequently experienced back and leg pain that limited her ability to work and to engage in other activities.

In reversing the trial court grant of summary disposition, the Court of Appeals noted that plaintiff’s rib and sternal fractures were objectively manifested via x-rays and MRI scan. The compression fracture in her back and degenerative disc disease were also revealed after an MRI. Therefore, plaintiff’s back condition was objectively manifested. The court further noted that her limitations as a result of the increased pain after the accident did affect her general ability to lead a normal life. Although the back condition was not caused by the accident, the court cited the Supreme Court’s opinion in Wilkinson v Lee (Item No. 2203), and held, “Regardless of the preexisting condition, recovery is allowed if the trauma caused by the accident triggered symptoms from that condition.” The issue of whether or not the plaintiff’s symptoms were attributable to the accident was a question of proximate cause. Because there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to proximate cause, the question was one for the trier of fact. The court ruled that there are factual disputes as to the extent of plaintiff’s increase in pain and the degree her limitations increased after the accident which are material to a determination of whether plaintiff has suffered a serious impairment of an important body function. Accordingly, the trial court grant of summary disposition for the defendant was in error.

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