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Michigan Supreme Court Reverses Court of Appeals and Holds That Pain and Suffering Damages Are Recoverable In Third-Party No-Fault Cases Arising Out of the Use of a Governmental Motor Vehicle

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Pamela Collette Dausman
Foster Swift No-Fault E-News
December 23, 2014

In its Dec. 19, 2014 Opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed Hunter v Sisco, 300 Mich App 229; 832 NW2d 753 (2013), holding that a governmental entity can be “legally responsible for damages flowing from a physical or corporeal injury to the body.” Hunter v Sisco, ___ Mich ___; ___ NW2d ___, slip opinion, at *2 (2014). Damages may include economic damages and non-economic damages, “such as pain and suffering and mental and emotional distress.” Id. at *19. The Court of Appeals’ opinion was a significant departure from Michigan case law, and held that the motor vehicle exception to governmental immunity did not allow for the recovery of damages for pain and suffering and mental and emotional distress even when those damages arose from a bodily injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident. 

Plaintiffs in third-party cases are still required to show that they have sustained a serious impairment of a bodily function, a permanent and serious disfigurement, or death to recover non-economic benefits under the No-Fault Act. Click here to read the Michigan Supreme Court’s Dec. 19, 2014, Opinion.

Please contact Pamela C. Dausman at pdausman@fosterswift.com, or any other member of Foster Swift’s No-Fault Litigation Sub-Practice Group, for more information.