It’s not every day that a plaintiff’s auto accident case get heard by the Michigan Supreme Court. Even fewer of these cases are against the State itself. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Christensen Law’s case, Hannay v. Department of Transportation.
Attorneys David Christensen and Sarah Stempky represented the Plaintiff, a student at Lansing Community College studying to become a dental hygienist. The Plaintiff was the victim of a brutal car accident when a salt truck owned by the State of Michigan ran a stop sign and struck her vehicle. As a result of the accident, the Plaintiff had to have five surgeries and suffered from fatigue, anxiety, and mood disorder due to chronic pain. She also needs help with daily activities.
The question on appeal to the state’s highest court is whether the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) should have to pay for the Plaintiff’s lost wages and attendant care. These damages had resulted in a jury award of $474,904, and are normally included in a lawsuit under the Michigan No-Fault Insurance law. But on appeal MDOT claimed “governmental immunity.”
Generally, a person can’t sue the State for tort injuries – slip & fall, auto accidents, trespassing, etc. – resulting from government functions unless a statute specifically allows it. That statute, the Government Tort Liability Act (GTLA), allows for lawsuits resulting from “bodily injury and property damages resulting from the negligent” behavior of a government worker or agency. The Court of Appeals ruled that this provision includes all damages connected to a bodily injury and that the No-Fault Insurance statute governs the types of and limits on damages the Plaintiff could recover.
But MDOT is not satisfied. It has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on whether wage loss and attendant care are included in the GTLA, or whether the Plaintiff is limited to the physical harm and medical expenses resulting from the accident.
Christensen Law is standing by our client. We will continue to argue that the government is liable for all damages allowed under the No-Fault act as long as they are connected to a bodily injury or damage to property covered by the GTLA. The Court of Appeals’ opinion supports our position, and we are preparing now for oral arguments before the Michigan Supreme Court.
We are dedicated to our clients and will fight along side them to the end. If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, contact Christensen Law to schedule a consultation today.