Unfortunately, car accident victims will often suffer from personal injuries that can range from cuts and bruises to crippling afflictions. However, in order to obtain a settlement for an injury caused by a car crash, the injury must meet New York’s Serious Injury Threshold.
If you’ve recently been injured in an accident in New York, you should contact a trusted personal injury lawyer to determine if you meet the threshold before you consider filing a lawsuit.
What Is New York State’s Serious Injury Threshold?
The New York State Serious Injury Threshold is a law that defines which injuries are considered “serious” in nature. Simply put, the law outlines the types and severity of injuries that entitle you to pursue compensation if your injuries were caused by another party’s negligent action.
Under this law, anyone who is involved in a car accident must first meet the “serious injury” criteria under the New York State Serious Injury Threshold. While your injuries can certainly be serious in nature, they must fall into one of the definitions of a serious injury defined in this law. If your injuries do not satisfy this threshold, the negligent party’s insurance company is not responsible for paying any damages that were incurred as a result of your accident.
What Is Considered A Serious Injury in New York State?
Under Section 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance law, a viable personal injury lawsuit can arise if one of the following serious injuries occurs:
- A significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- A permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- A permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of use of a body function of system
- 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 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”
While many of the categories of Serious Injury listed above can be easily determined, there are other categories are not so clear. For example, common injuries such as herniated disks, muscle strains and other soft tissue injuries may still satisfy the threshold depending on the effect they have on the injured party.
Proving Your Injury Is Serious
Even if your case qualifies as having a serious injury in the eyes of New York State law, you can likely still expect pushback from the at-fault party’s insurance company or attorney. Unfortunately, a simple conclusory statement from your doctor will likely not be a sufficient piece of evidence in proving your case.
In order to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance, you must not only meet the New York State Serious Injury Threshold, but also provide the following evidence:
- A clear connection between the injuries sustained and the accident
- The methods in which the medical provider arrived at their diagnosis
- Details of your medical provider’s findings related to your diagnosis
- Proof of continued medical treatment by a trusted medical provider after initial diagnosis
Unfortunately, courts tend to question the reliability of a medical expert’s opinion if they do not continue to treat you after your initial diagnosis. Additionally, a pre-existing condition that is aggravated or trauma that occurs due to the accident may complicate your claim further. Your medical claims must clearly establish that the injury you’re suffering from is directly related to the accident in which you’re suing for or caused an exacerbation of your pre-existing condition.
Why You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer
Proving a serious injury on your own can be a difficult task, especially when dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance or attorneys. Hiring a trusted personal injury attorney can protect you in communications and negotiations and ensure that you do not accept a lowball offer from the insurance company.
With a personal injury attorney, the evidence needed to successfully file a claim, collection of medical records, witness and professional testimonies will all be completed on your behalf while you continue to seek medical treatment for your injuries.
As a victim of a car accident, you deserve compensation for any serious injuries you acquired as a result of another driver’s negligence. A qualified and experienced attorney at Cellino Law is ready to help you. Give our team a call at 800-555-5555 for a free and confidential case consultation with a member or our legal team.
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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