Excerpt: A former Macomb Township woman recently was awarded a nearly $1.5 million jury verdict against her auto insurance company to compensate for serious injuries she suffered in a 2013 car crash.
A former Macomb Township woman recently was awarded a nearly $1.5 million jury verdict against her auto insurance company to compensate for serious injuries she suffered in a 2013 car crash.
A Macomb County jury awarded $1.46 million to Miranda Miller, who now lives in Florida, for her injuries suffered the crash on 23 Mile Road in Macomb Township in June 2013, following a four-day circuit court trial.
The car Miller was driving was stopped with its blinker activated to make a left turn into her subdivision when it was struck in the rear by a vehicle driven by Alexandra Petrovski. Evidence indicated Petrovski was looking at her cell phone and struck Miller’s car at 50 mph without braking, according to Miller’s attorney, James Rasor. Petrovski was ticketed for failing to yield.
“A driver distracted by their phone while operating an automobile can irretrievably change your life, or somebody else’s life, in an instant,” Rasor said.
Rasor said the award will help Miller, who was 17 at the time of the crash, deal with physical limitations and headaches due to spinal injuries. Miller had been an athlete, playing basketball and softball and participating in outdoor recreational sports such as snow boarding, figure skating, boating and ATV riding.
“Unfortunately, Miranda has lifetime, permanent injuries as a result of this,” Rasor said. Still, he added in a court document, “She is a remarkable young woman, who has worked hard to overcome her disabilities, and who has achieved much in the face of adversity and pain.”
Petrovski’s insurance company paid the full $100,000 policy limit, but Miller’s insurance carrier, Auto Owners Insurance Co., refused to pay an additional $400,000 that was available under its under-insured policy, according to Miller’s attorney, Jim Rasor.
Rasor said the case shows that people should obtain extra insurance in case of an incident involving another motorist who is uninsured or under-insured.
“(The extra coverage) will help to cover the gap should you be involved in an accident and injured by a driver who has no insurance or too little insurance to cover all of your injuries,” he said.
Auto Owners has filed an appeal, Rasor said.
An attorney for Auto Owners could not be reached for comment.
Miller suffered “serious and permanent injuries” to cervical and thoracic disks in her spine, Rasor said.
The accident occurred around the time she graduated from high school.
“Plaintiff’s aspirations, future and life all changed on June 6, 2013, in a blink of an eye,” Rasor wrote in a court document.
Miller was seeking compensation for the injuries, loss of bodily functions and enjoyment of life, mental anguish and economic wage loss exceeding the three-year no-fault coverage.
She was able to maintain her plan and graduated with a marketing degree from Oakland University in Rochester in 2017.
But she could not continue to put to use the cosmetology license she earned at Warren Woods Cosmetology School. She worked at Mie Salon in Rochester for more than a year but had to give it up. She cannot work in long stretches due to pain from tasks required to style hair.
Her condition has limited her job opportunities in marketing, Rasor said, such as a limit in how much she can lift.
Still, she remains in constant pain, Rasor said.
A doctor’s prognosis in 2017 indicated her condition requires ongoing pain management though injections, medications, physical therapy and independent rehabilitation, documents say.
Despite the verdict, the case has not been fully resolved. Rasor filed a motion for case-evaluation sanctions, costs and interest, court records said. A hearing was held earlier this month. Judge James Maceroni indicated he will issue a written opinion, records say.