In a published decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently found that hearing loss can present a serious impairment of bodily function and the injured person can recover damages under Michigan’s No-Fault law.
The plaintiff was in an automobile accident where the air bags were deployed and the side curtain airbag above the driver’s side door hit on the side of her face, her left ear, and the top of her head. She experienced some hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) after the accident.
The Court of Appeals found that subjective testing methods incorporated into evidence from medical professionals and others were acceptable proof that arguably demonstrated “objectively manifested impairment” of a body function. The plaintiff experienced ringing in her ears, which does not show up in any kind of medical test and is considered a subjective diagnosis.
There was evidence that the Plaintiff “had trouble communicating with her family, and her tinnitus made it difficult to drive for long periods as required by her work,” and to engage in other activities she previously enjoyed.
The decision is Patrick v Turkelson, ___ Mich App ___; Docket No. 336062 (Jan. 16, 2018): http://www.michbar.org/file/opinions/appeals/2018/011618/67017.pdf.
Note: This is for informational purposes and was not a Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys case.
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