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Trap 5: Defense Lawyers Use Churchman to Kill Michigan TBI Cases

Beware of Churchman v. Rickerson, Despite Closed-Head Injury Exception

Accident lawyers handling traumatic brain injury cases in Michigan must be aware of Churchman v. Rickerson, where the Michigan Court of Appeals focused on the word “serious” in MCL 500.3135(2)(a)(ii), ruling that a neurological injury “must be dangerous; potentially resulting in death or other severe consequences.”

Although the TBI lawyers at Michigan Auto Law believe Churchman is wrongly decided, and although it conflicts with all other appellate cases that have ruled that an affidavit stating there “may be a serious neurological injury” is sufficient, Churchman has not specifically been overturned.

Advice for TBI Lawyers and Victims to Survive Churchman

To survive Churchman, a plaintiff can only get to a jury if a properly qualified doctor finds there may be traumatic brain injury and offers strong medical opinions by affidavit or testimony on how that brain injury will impact the plaintiff’s life.

The doctor’s affidavit or testimony must contain details about how the brain injury affects the plaintiff’s life, such as impairments in his ability to work, sleep, socialize, recreate, speak and think, for example.

Michigan TBI lawyers should also have the doctor refer to medical literature on the consequences of TBI. The medical literature can help a brain injury case survive the misguided additional requirements of Churchman, because by definition, any victim of brain injury is far more at risk of very serious medical consequences.

Currently, there are many authoritative, published, peer-reviewed journal articles and textbooks that link traumatic brain injury to an increased risk of severe clinical depression, divorce, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, brain injury is now strongly implicated in lowering life expectancy.

“Reserve brain capacity,” or how a second brain injury superimposed on someone who has already suffered brain injury, demonstrates how frightening and fragile TBI can be, and how a subsequent brain injury can have devastating consequences for someone who has already sustained a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers of Michigan Auto Law

Michigan Auto Law partner Steven Gursten is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Group and lectures on traumatic brain injury cases across the country. If you are an attorney and would like to refer a Michigan traumatic brain injury case, please contact Michigan Auto Law.

If you or someone you know has suffered TBI as a result of a car or truck crash in Michigan, our traumatic brain injury lawyers can guide you through the complicated requirements of Michigan’s closed-head injury exception and help obtain the insurance benefits and pain and suffering compensation you need. Because our lawyers have been handling traumatic brain injury cases for three generations, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships that TBI victims experience from auto accidents. Please call Michigan Auto Law at (877) 758-6578 for a case evaluation with no fee or obligation, or fill out our free consultation form.

Did our Michigan traumatic brain injury lawyers answer all of your questions about Churchman v. Rickerson? If not, please contact us and we can help.

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