Driver injured by concrete chunk from I-696 pothole can sue MDOT, Michigan high court rules

The man who was injured when a piece of concrete broke off a pothole on a Metro Detroit freeway and flew through his car's windshield is cleared to sue to the state government.

The ruling came in a decision from the state Supreme Court, which rejected arguments from the Michigan Department of Transportation that Norman Champine failed to notify the state of his injuries within 120 days.

As a result, Champine is free to pursue a lawsuit against MDOT after he suffered multiple facial and jaw fractures, lost several teeth, and suffered a brain injury when the concrete chunk hit him.

The court ruled 6-1 in favor of the plaintiff. 

His attorney said the decision allows citizens to "chip away" at immunity arguments from government organizations that are usually shielded from lawsuits from private citizens. 

"Most Michigan citizens don’t know that if you don’t give the state notice within four months of your injuries, the state of Michigan will take the legal position that your claim fails and should be thrown out of court," said attorney Ven Johnson. "In this case, luckily our client retained our firm within the 120 days, and we immediately filed the lawsuit which absolutely gave the state ‘notice’ of our client’s claim."

The collision happened on I-696 between Gratiot Avenue and Mound Road in Macomb County in 2017. 

READ NEXT: Court complaint says section of I-75 is defective, leading to deadly crash

This isn't the only suit that Johnson has brought against MDOT. In December, FOX 2 reported on a filing involving a section of I-75 that the attorney alleges has a major defect and is the cause behind multiple crashes, including one fatal one.