In New York City there are hundreds of auto accidents every day. In Brooklyn alone, there were 5,977 motor vehicle collisions over a one-month period. Most of these accidents result in minor injuries that can be handled through a driver’s car insurance. Under New York’s No-fault Insurance Law a person injured in a car accident will be reimbursed by a driver’s insurance for medical expenses, some lost wages, and other expenses regardless of who is at fault for the crash. New York law requires insurance coverage up to $50,000 per person.
Sometimes an injury is more serious and requires reimbursement beyond what an insurance policy is required to pay. In those cases, filing a lawsuit against the party at fault for the accident is your only recourse. Lawsuits against an at-fault driver for pain and suffering are only permitted in cases where a serious injury has occurred.
What is Considered a “Serious Injury” under New York Law?
New York Insurance Law section 5102(d) defines “serious injury” to include:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent limitation of use 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 usual and customary daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the injury.
Proving a Serious Injury
Some serious injuries, such as fractures, are simple to prove. But determining whether an injured person has sustained a permanent or significant limitation will require evidence from a medical professional. A court will look at certified medical records and the opinion of a treating physician to determine whether an injury is serious. Any physical limitations should be quantified and documented. The question of pre-existing conditions and their effect on an injury should also be addressed.
It is not enough to provide evidence that someone sustained a serious injury. There must also be evidence that the negligence of the other driver was the cause of the serious injury.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto accident, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers injured in auto accidents. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español