The case involved a GM employee who worked as a truck loader. The plaintiff suffered an injury when a truck hit him fracturing his left ankle. Because of the injury he had problems walking and crouching and his work ability was greatly diminished. He was not able to return to work at a normal capacity until 19 months later. Even then he needed to be assigned to a different job. He sought damages for the injury.
The old standard created by the court was established in Kreiner v Fisher and stated that, “Although some aspects of a plaintiff’s entire normal life may be interrupted by the impairment, if, despite those impingements, the course or trajectory of the plaintiff’s normal life has not been affected, then the plaintiff’s ‘general ability’ to lead his normal life has not been affected and he does not meet the ‘serious impairment of body function’ threshold.” Therefore, the injury must affect the trajectory of the person’s life as a whole and is a tough standard to meet.
The new standard set up by the court requires that a person’s ability to lead their life must only be affected and not necessarily destroyed. Further, the court specifically explained that the injury need not be permanent. Thus, the recently enacted standard given by the court gives much more protection to those injured in a car accident. The injury no longer has to affect the entire trajectory of a person’s life. In the McCormick case specifically, because the injury diminished some of the plaintiff’s capacity to live in his pre-incident state, he was found to have a “serious impairment of body function.”