Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Minor Injury?

Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Minor Injury?
Calendar icon December 14, 2023
Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Minor Injury - Cellino


  • Rely on your New York no-fault insurance to compensate your economic damages in cases involving minor injuries.
  • Eligibility for filing a personal injury lawsuit depends on meeting the serious injury threshold, as defined in Article 51 of New York insurance law.
  • Let medical professionals and personal injury attorneys assess whether your minor injury actually qualifies as a serious injury.
  • A New York personal injury lawyer can help you weigh the benefits of pursuing compensation in a personal injury claim based on your individual circumstances.

The process of filing a New York personal injury lawsuit can be stressful, and you may be unsure if it is worth it to pursue compensation if you only sustained a minor injury in a car accident. There are several factors that may influence your decision.

It is in your best interest to seek an informed perspective from a qualified personal injury attorney. Our team at Cellino Law can offer a realistic picture of what to expect from the personal injury claims process and assess your eligibility. To schedule a free consultation, call (888) 888-8888 or fill out our online contact form.

Exhaust Your No-Fault Insurance Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit For a Minor Injury

New York is a no-fault insurance state. That means that after an auto accident, an injured party makes a personal injury claim against their own insurance first, regardless of who caused the crash. Injured pedestrians can also access their no-fault benefits. The insurance company offers compensation up to a certain amount for economic damages like medical bills and lost wages.

If you experienced a minor injury, there’s a high likelihood that your damages are covered under these provisions, and there would be no need to pursue additional compensation. However, if your bills exceed your PIP benefits, you may be interested in recovering more financial reimbursement through your no-fault Personal Injury Protection insurance.

No-fault insurance can provide a party with a minor injury further compensation if they can prove the cost of their medical bills and lost wages totaled over $50,000. This would be a relatively unusual situation, though possible. Minor injuries do not qualify for compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress through no-fault insurance.

Review Qualifications For Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit For a Minor Injury

Before you decide if you should file a personal injury lawsuit for a minor injury, you first need to determine if you are eligible to do so. New York law stipulates that a party who wants to pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent party after a motor vehicle accident must demonstrate that they meet the serious injury threshold.

Motorcyclists are exempt from the serious injury threshold law and may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party even if they only sustained minor injuries. Otherwise, plaintiffs cannot seek compensation for minor injuries in a personal injury lawsuit. A serious injury must be described by one of the conditions outlined in Article 51 of New York insurance law:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fractures
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Or “a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”

Don’t make assumptions about whether your injury fits the legal definition of a “serious injury.” Instead, consult a personal injury attorney. You could deprive yourself of compensation by presuming your injury doesn’t meet the standard. For example, you may think the law would categorize a soft tissue injury like whiplash as minor. However, it could be a serious injury if it regularly interferes with your life.  

Factors to Consider Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New York

A New York personal injury lawsuit often requires the plaintiff to invest substantial time and effort into the process of seeking compensation. The level of commitment needed is often a deterrent for plaintiffs, but the prospect of full reimbursement for damages warrants careful consideration. 

Provided that you can establish that the other party is liable for your damages, you may benefit from pursuing a personal injury lawsuit if you:

  • Anticipate significant or ongoing medical expenses
  • Endured considerable pain and suffering or other non-economic damages
  • Experienced a noticeable impact on your career or quality of life 

For most car accident victims with minor injuries, a Personal Injury Protection claim against their own insurance policy is the most appropriate route to compensation. If you are unsure if your car accident injuries qualify as minor, your best option is to seek the advice of a reputable personal injury lawyer who can help you determine how to proceed.

The New York Personal Injury Attorneys of Cellino Law Are Known For Maximizing Compensation

The personal injury lawyers of Cellino Law have served generations of New Yorkers with distinction. Our team is well-versed in the complexities of the personal injury claims process, which we use to our clients’ advantage to obtain outstanding settlements. Our client testimonials express appreciation for our negotiating skills, reliable work ethic, and straightforward communication style.

Contact Cellino Law About Your New York Personal Injury Lawsuit Today

Minor personal injuries may not be life-threatening, but they can cause you to suffer financial setbacks, pain, stress, and inconvenience all the same. The skilled personal injury attorneys of Cellino Law will diligently work towards securing maximum compensation for your damages, regardless of the size of your claim. 

Call us at (888) 888-8888 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our team will gladly review the specifics of your personal injury case to determine the best method for seeking compensation, offer an estimate of what your New York personal injury claim could be worth, and help you avoid mistakes that can damage claims.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

The legal representatives of a plaintiff and a defendant negotiate personal injury claims. In many cases, the defendant is the negligent party’s insurance carrier. If the parties can not reach an agreement, the plaintiff may try to file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are adjudicated in court by a judge or jury. With rare exceptions, personal injury claims are settled before trial.

What are common car accident injuries that meet the serious injury threshold?

According to the NSC, 46,980 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, and 5.4 million sustained injuries serious enough to warrant professional medical evaluation. Even low-impact car accidents can produce injuries that meet the serious injury threshold. Some of the most common serious car accident injuries include:

How long does it take to settle a New York personal injury claim?

If your personal injury claim follows the typical timeline, your accident injury lawyer could settle your case in 6 to 18 months. This is just an estimate, as many factors can impact your case. If your accident injury lawyer and the insurance company cannot reach a compromise, you may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. Be prepared for this process to last additional months or even years.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.



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