What is Legally Considered a Serious Injury in New York?

New York is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. Therefore, only those with serious injuries resulting from another driver’s negligence may file lawsuits. A serious injury includes broken bones, severe disfigurement, dismemberment, loss of body parts or bodily functions, or a disability lasting longer than 90 days.

If you fit the criteria for this, a New York City personal injury lawyer from Douglas and London can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have recovered more than $4 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients.

No-Fault Insurance

Under no-fault insurance, your insurance company pays for the medical expenses and lost wages incurred due to the accident, no matter who was at fault. This does not include compensation for pain and suffering.

Serious Injuries

As noted above, a person seriously hurt after an accident with an at-fault driver may go beyond the no-fault system and file a lawsuit. In this case, they may receive damages for pain and suffering.

In addition to the serious injuries already listed by the New York statute, the person may sue if a fetal loss occurred. Also, the family of a person who dies from their injuries may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Breaking down some of the categories, “significant disfigurement” would usually mean scarring that could cause the injured party to be ridiculed. When it comes to fractures, there is no severity limit. A broken bone makes you eligible to go outside of the no-fault system, whether you suffer multiple fractures or break a toe. Dismemberment refers to the loss of a limb or digit.

Loss of Bodily Functions or Systems

While injuries in the above categories are relatively straightforward, that is not always the case with the loss of bodily functions. The statute’s language says that “significant limitation” of a bodily system or function is necessary if it is not permanent.

Non-permanent injuries

For non-permanent injuries to qualify under New York law, they must prove long-term and prevent you from performing normal activities for more than 90 days within the first 180 days. In other words, this is a long-term but not permanent disability.

Often referred to as the 90/180 rule, it usually means your doctor has determined that you cannot work for over 90 days out of this six-month period.

Soft tissue injuries frequently result from car accidents, and they would likely meet this standard. Depending on the length of recovery and time off work, injuries such as herniated discs and even whiplash could qualify.

Economic Loss

Every motorist in New York is required to carry a minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury liability. If a person who was not at fault for the accident, incurs more than $50,000 in combined medical costs and lost wages, they may file a personal injury lawsuit.

Serious Injury Exceptions

The serious injury threshold includes most kinds of motor vehicle accidents, including cars, trucks, rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, as well as pedestrians or cyclists. Motorcycle accidents are a significant exception. Even if a motorcyclist does not meet the serious injury threshold, they can sue the at-fault driver and receive damages, including pain and suffering.

Proving Fault

In addition to meeting the serious injury threshold, the injured person must also prove the other driver was at-fault for the collision. This involves your lawyer examining police reports, medical records, interviewing eyewitnesses, and possibly hiring an accident reconstruction specialist.

Contact us at Douglas and London today

If you are involved in a car accident that meets New York’s serious injury threshold, you need the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer at Douglas and London.

Call or text us today or complete our online contact form to arrange a free consultation. After reviewing your case, we will determine whether your injury is eligible under New York law, and advise you of your options. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation. Hablamos Español.