What is the 90/180 Day Rule in New York?

If you are injured in a car accident in New York, the compensation available under your no-fault policy may not seem like enough to cover your losses.  However, if your injury is considered “serious,” you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The 90/180-day rule is one of the ways it is possible to meet the state requirements for a “serious injury.”

If an individual is substantially unable to carry out all of their usual daily activities for at least 90 of the 180 days immediately following the injury, they are considered disabled. However, proving this is not easy. Speak with a car accident attorney in New York as soon as possible to protect your right to compensation.

Why a “serious injury” matters

New York is one of roughly a dozen states that try to limit the financial recovery for an injured motorist– for minor injuries. The no-fault system, in theory, makes it quick and easy for individuals to recover medical costs and lost wages regardless of who is liable.

Yet, medical costs and lost wages are not the only losses that a car accident can cause. If you are injured, you may also experience tremendous pain and suffering, as well as loss of enjoyment of daily activities, loss of consortium, and other non-economic damages. When you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you are entitled to recover for your non-economic losses as well as the economic losses that would be compensable in a no-fault claim.

Meeting the “serious injury” requirement to file a car accident lawsuit

The state definition of a serious injury is found under New York Insurance Law Section 5102(d). It includes:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • A significant limitation of use of a body function or 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

This last category is commonly referred to as the “90/180 rule,” and it makes up a significant portion of the severe injuries for car accident litigation purposes.

How “substantially all” is defined in the context of the 90/180 rule

For your 90/180 claim to succeed, you must be able to show a court that the injury has prevented you from performing “substantially all” of your usual activities. This means you have experienced a significant disruption to your life, and not just a slight interference.

If there are just a few things that you need help with during the day, this may not satisfy the “substantially all” requirement. However, if you have been instructed by your doctor not to work for three months out of the next six, and you cannot perform most of the activities you could before– that is much more likely to be recognized as serious.

Proving a serious injury based on substantial impairment

As stated in the statute, a substantial impairment must be determined by health care providers. To meet the standard, you will need to provide medical records. This can include reports from doctors and diagnostic tools like CT scans. Your testimony alone would not be enough.

It is critical to see a medical professional soon after the accident. The sooner the assessment takes place, the more likely you will be able to show that the accident is the cause of your disability. An experienced attorney can help you determine what evidence will most strongly support your case, and then obtain it.

Speak with a lawyer about your accident

If you are injured in a car accident in New York, there is a real risk that your claim could be undervalued, and you will not receive the compensation you deserve. Speak with a New York personal injury lawyer to maximize your financial recovery.

At Douglas & London, we are committed to helping New Yorkers fight for full compensation. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.