The case of McCormick v Carrier is a case that was decided by the Michigan Supreme Court on August 1, 2010. According to some legal analysts, it is the decision that restored the use of common sense to Michigan’s auto accident law.
McCormick established the new definition of “serious impairment of body function”. Three different elements need to get established in the court to prove serious impairment of body function.
There must first be a factual dispute relating to the extent of the injury and the nature of the person’s injuries. Absent the question on the injury, there is no factual dispute to speak of and there is no problem about the definition of serious impairment of body function.
Did the injury cross the serious impairment threshold?
There must be a determination as to whether or not the serious impairment threshold has been crossed. Three prongs are relevant here:
First Prong: Is there an objectively manifested impairment that is easily perceivable?
The first prong requires that there is an objectively manifested impairment that is easily perceivable.
In the case of McCormick v. Carrier, 487 Mich. 180, 196 (Mich. 2010), it was discussed that the definition of objectively manifested is to include the following:
“To begin with, the adverb “objectively” is defined as “in an objective manner,” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1966), and the adjective “objective” is defined as “1. Of or having to do with a material object as distinguished from a mental concept. 2. Having actual existence or reality. 3. a. Uninfluenced by emotion, surmise, or personal prejudice, b. Based on observable phenomena; presented factually” The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition (1982). It is defined specifically in the medical context as “[indicating a symptom or condition perceived as a sign of disease by someone other than the person afflicted.” 7c?. The verb “manifest” is defined as “1. To show or demonstrate plainly; reveal. 2. To be evidence of; prove.” Id. Overall, these definitions suggest that the common meaning of “objectively manifested” in MCL 500.3135(7) “is an impairment that is evidenced by actual symptoms or conditions that someone other than the injured person would observe or perceive as impairing a body function. In other words, an “objectively manifested” impairment is commonly understood as one observable or perceivable from actual symptoms or conditions. ”)
This means that the term objectively manifested means the inclusion of an impairment that is evidenced by the actual showing of symptoms or conditions.
Second Prong: What is the important body function that is affected?
In the case of McCormick v. Carrier, 487 Mich. 180, 199 (Mich. 2010, the definition of important bodily function is settled, to wit:
“defining “important” in the relevant part as “of much or great significance or consequence,“” mattering much,” or “prominent or large.” Whether a body function has great “value,” “significance,” or “consequence” will vary depending on the person. Therefore, this prong is an inherently subjective inquiry that must be decided on a case-by-case basis, because what may seem to be a trivial body function for most people may be subjectively important to some, depending on the relationship of that function to the person’s life.”
Third Prong: How does the impairment affect the person’s general ability to lead his normal life?
In this part, it is also based on subjective inquiry and is on a case-by-case basis but there are a couple of important points relating to it, such as:
- that a person’s general ability to lead his or her normal life has been affected, not destroyed;
- that some of the person’s ability to live in his or her normal manner of living has been affected, not that some of the person’s normal manner of living has itself been affected; and
- That there is no period as to how long the person affected had to undergo therapy or recuperate to gain some of their bodily functions again.
This is the latest update in terms of the standard used for personal injury lawsuits. This latest standard applies the best use of common sense.
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