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Washington v Van Buren County Road Commission; (COA-PUB, 10/20/1986; RB #963)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 90213; Published    
Judges Holbrook and Peterson; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 155 Mich App 527; Link to Opinion alt    

Serious Impairment of Body Function Definition (Cassidy Era – 1983-1986) [§3135(1)]  
Objective Manifestation Element of Serious Impairment (Cassidy Era – 1983-1986) [§3135(1)]  
Important Body Function Element of Serious Impairment (Cassidy Era – 1983-1986) [§3135(1)]  
General Ability / Normal Life Element of Serious Impairment (Cassidy Era – 1983-1986) [§3135(1)]  
Determining Serious Impairment of Body Function as a Matter of Law (Cassidy Era – 1983-1986) [§3135(1)]  
Causation Issues [§3135]

Not Applicable     

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's grant of summary disposition in favor of defendant on the threshold issue. Plaintiff in this case was a 61-year old man whose injuries primarily involved his low back. His treating orthopaedic surgeon testified that plaintiff had a pre-existing degenerative disc cpndition and osteoarthritis of the lower spine. These conditions had been asymptomatic until the accident. In addition, there appeared to be a bulging disc between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae which was observable on CAT scan and which was considered to have been caused by the collision. Plaintiff had decreased range of motion and complaints of extreme pain. He had been under continuous medical care which had included wearing a supportive brace, physical therapy, traction, a T.E.N.S. stimulation unit and various medications. His doctor testified that he was disabled from working, although had been able to do some work on his farm. The doctor believed that surgery would not be indicated, although the bulging disc might herniate. The doctor thought that the prognosis was "fair to good over the next year.” Thus, it would be approximately 22 months from the time of the accident before plaintiff would be recovered from the affects of his injury.

In reversing the trial court's grant of summary disposition, the Court of Appeals, held, "considering the injury, the treatment required, the duration of plaintiff’s disability, the prognosis of the future course of the disability, and the impact on plaintiff’s life, we believe that plaintiff has shown that the impairment of body function is serious.”

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