Rodney McCormick, a Flint-area GM employee, “had sought damages for pain and suffering after he was run over by a loading truck while on the job and missed 19 months of work." Seems like a no-brainer, but unfortunately in 2004, when the court was the most consumer unfriendly, anti-environment, anti-victim, precedent-disregarding court in the land, it ruled in the Kreiner v. Fischer case that only “permanently” harmed people were entitled to this type of compensation, reversing law that had been in effect basically since the 1960s when Michigan’s no-fault law passed.
But yesterday, Mr. McCormick won his case, with the court saying the Kreiner decision “required a ‘strained’ reading of the statute that resulted in more restrictions on lawsuits than the Legislature intended or enacted.”
As one attorney put it, under the earlier 2004 Kreiner decision, “pain doesn’t matter. ‘Periods of near total incapacitation and recuperation after surgery do not make a difference. An entire year off of work and of being physically unable to enjoy the activities that are most important to a person – are not enough’ to meet the law's threshold.” As a result, “Kreiner has resulted in the dismissal of 79 percent of car accident victims' lawsuits. And since Kreiner was decided, there have been 250 unpublished appellate decisions, revealing only 51 cases in favor of auto accident victims; and a staggering 198 cases in favor of auto insurance company defendants, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.”
The Detroit Free Press wrote, "The McCormick decision immensely pleased one formerly injured motorist. Richard Kreiner, of Attica, became synonymous in Lansing with the higher threshold for pain and suffering damages when he lost in the 2004 case. Kreiner said even today, 15 years after his accident, he still has back pain and can’t work at his construction job as much as he once did. ‘I’m glad that some good came out of it … even if it doesn’t help me,’ he said.”