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Bush v Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan; (COA-UNP, 3/30/2006, RB #2704)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #257757; Unpublished
Judges Murphy, White, and Meter; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion alt

Serious Impairment of Body Function Definition (Kreiner Era - 1996-2010 [3135(7)]
General Ability / Normal Life Element of Serious Impairment [3135(7)]

Underinsured Motorist Benefits: Underinsured Motorist Coverage in General

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion decided after the Supreme Court’s decision in Kreiner v Fischer [RB #2428] interpreting the statutory definition of serious body function, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court order granting summary disposition in favor of defendants on plaintiff’s claim for underinsured motorist benefits. The plaintiff in this case sustained multiple fractures to her face and eye socket for which she underwent surgery, wore an eye patch for a month and took pain medication for two months. She also sustained a fracture to her jaw for which she was required to wear braces. In affirming the trial court’s decision, the Court of Appeals noted that plaintiff was able to graduate from high school on time and, although she no longer participated in softball, football, roller hockey, ice hockey and wrestling, she was not restricted from these activities. Instead, she did not participate in these activities because she was afraid she would re-injure herself. In this regard, the court stated:

Plaintiff’s injuries included multiple fractures to her face and eye socket that required surgical repair. The surgery was done within two weeks of the accident, however, and after wearing an eye patch for a month and taking pain medication for two months, plaintiff was able to continue her high school career and graduate on time. She also had a ‘slight fracture’ of the jaw that required her to wear braces. However, she was able to graduate high school on time with her class, and she now works full time. While she complains of some continuing pain, there are no medical restrictions on her leisure or work activities. Dr. Telman, the treating surgeon whose deposition is relied on by plaintiff, testified that plaintiff was not under any restrictions, and that she should be able to engage in normal activities. There is no indication that plaintiff is physically unable or precluded by pain from functioning in her daily life or engaging in normal activities. Although plaintiff testified that she no longer played softball, football, roller hockey, ice hockey, and wrestling since the accident, she also testified that she did not engage in these sports because she was afraid of being injured again, not because the injuries prevented her from doing so. . . . In short, under the analytical framework set forth by our Supreme Court in Kreiner, plaintiff’s injuries do not meet the threshold requirements because they do not affect her general ability to live her normal life.”

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