The Michigan Court of Appeals has recently issued a number of opinions reinstating those cases that were dismissed and decided that the trial courts were wrongly deciding those cases. In a ruling issued yesterday, a Michigan uninsured motorists claim that was dismissed by a trial court judge was reinstated by the Michigan Court of Appeals. In Vliestra v Auto-Owners Insurance Group, a 17 year old student suffered low back injuries, including fractures, in a rear end car accident. Due to his injuries, he treated for several months with an orthopedic surgeon but did not require surgery. He was limited from "strenuous activity" for three months.
The teenager's case was settled for $20,000 against the negligent driver and a lawsuit was filed against Auto Owners Insurance on an underinsured motorists claim. The trial court dismissed the case after deciding that the injuries did not affect the victims normal lifestyle. The Court of Appeals reversed that decision and reinstated the case. The Court determined that his "ability to lead his normal life has been affected." The matter will now go back to the trial court.
This case is a great example of other recent decisions that have recognized that Michigan courts have been dismissing too many cases against serious accident and injury victims. The rights of these victims has been severely eroded over the last decade and the higher courts are finally setting the record straight. It is hopeful that they will continue to do so to protect the rights of innocent injury victims.