What Constitutes a Serious Injury in a New York Car Accident

New York is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that a person’s personal injury protection (PIP) will pay some of their medical bills and lost wages if they are hurt in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. New York law requires coverage of $50,000 per person. However, sometimes an injury is serious, and PIP isn’t enough to cover the losses. If your injury meets the serious injury threshold, then you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit against a negligent driver.


Serious Injury Under New York Law

New York Insurance Law section 5102(d) defines “serious injury” as:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • 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.

Although several of these conditions are easy to determine, the last three cause the most controversy. It is not always clear what constitutes a “significant” limitation or even a “permanent” limitation. Clear and thorough medical records are necessary to establish that the injury you sustained in an accident meets the serious injury threshold.


Exceptions to the Serious Injury Threshold

Injuries in motorcycle accidents are not subject to the serious injury threshold. This means that if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you could file a claim against the at-fault party, even if your injuries were relatively minor. In a claim against an at-fault driver in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to claim medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


Contact an Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, let an experienced car accident attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we’ve been helping car accident victims for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.