The plain language of MCL 500.3135 states that a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (called in the statute a “closed-head injury”) does not require proof of objective manifestation. So what happens when, despite the clear language and logic of MCL 500.3135, TBI lawyers in Michigan still face summary disposition because a traumatic brain injury is not objectively manifested?
While auto accident victims with mild traumatic brain injuries may appear perfectly healthy and look “normal,” it’s common to have impairments in concentration, mood, memory, cognition, attention and a number of other vital brain functions. Even worse, some brain injury victims may never heal or improve their TBI symptoms, even when their brain injury is not objectively demonstrated by medical technology.
Neuropsychological testing is the gold standard that doctors use to discover brain injury and measure the significance of the deficits. But under the Michigan statute, a neuropsychologist cannot testify to the existence of a brain injury.
TBI lawyers must respond to the plain language of MCL 500.3135. It makes no sense to have a closed-head injury exception under Michigan law if a closed-head injury still needs to be objectively manifested.
Because almost all closed-head injuries cannot be objectively manifested, the argument that a traumatic brain injury must be objectively manifested is simply incorrect, contrary to the legislative intent of and plain language of MCL 500.3135 — and common sense.
Thankfully, Michigan traumatic brain injury lawyers can now argue more than just common sense. The Michigan Court of Appeals decision Guerrero v. Smith supports this argument and is directly on point.
The opinion has great language that brain injury lawyers can use to keep their traumatic brain injury claim and ensure their clients get their day in court. In Guerrero, the Court specifically ruled that the plaintiff was not required to objectively manifest a closed-head injury, due to the exception contained in MCL 500.3135. Even the dissent agreed with the majority on this important point: The requirement that an injury be objectively manifested under Michigan’s automobile accident threshold law does not apply to cases of traumatic brain injury.
Michigan Auto Law partner Steven Gursten is a member of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Group and lectures on traumatic brain injuries throughout 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 a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident or truck accident in Michigan, we 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 more than 50 years, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships that TBI victims experience from automobile accidents. Please call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028 for a case evaluation with no fee or obligation, or fill out our free consultation form.
Did our Michigan traumatic brain injury attorneys answer all of your questions about the incorrect use of objective verification? If not, please contact us and we can help.