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Understanding Straub v Collette Case And Its Impact On How Michigan Lawyers Must Handle Auto Accident Cases

Straub: Case Description & Holding

Straub’s Case: Straub suffered a broken little finger on his non-dominant hand and injured tendons in his ring and middle fingers on his non-dominant hand after his automobile accident. He underwent outpatient surgery to repair his hand and tendon damage. He wore a cast for one month and had two weeks of pain medication after his surgery. He underwent two sessions of physical therapy. His injuries healed properly without complications. Mr. Straub’s residual impairment consisted of his inability to completely straighten his middle finger, and the inability to completely close his hand, which decreased his grip strength.

Mr. Straub was employed as a cable lineman. He also played guitar and performed professionally in a band on the weekends. He operated a bow shop during deer hunting season and would repair bows, make arrows and process deer meat. For three months after his car accident, Mr. Straub had difficulty performing household chores, yard work, and repairs on his property. After his four month recuperation, plaintiff could perform all of his pre-accident activities, and estimated his hand was 99% back to normal.

Mr. Straub did not work for two months after his car accident, returning to his cable job part-time for three weeks and resuming full-time work approximately three months after his car accident. During the period of his impairment, he could not operate his bow shop. Plaintiff was able to return to playing his guitar in his band four months after his car accident. Straub never spent a night in a hospital after his car accident, and apparently, never had any restrictions imposed upon him other than those associated with his cast.

Straub Holding: No Serious Impairment. Plaintiff Straub’s “injury was not extensive, recuperation was short, unremarkable, and virtually complete, and the effect of the injury on body function was not pervasive.” No medical evidence of any residual impairment, or that the course of plaintiff’s life was affected. “Temporary limitations [plaintiff] experienced” do not satisfy the serious impairment threshold…Considered against the backdrop of his pre-impairment and the limited nature of his injuries…[plaintiffs] post-impairment life is not so different that his “general ability” to lead his normal life has been affected.”

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