Serious Injury Claims in New York State Car Accidents
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Serious Injury Requirement


Serious Injury Requirement For New York State Car Accidents


Car accidents can cause personal injury. However, New York State Insurance Law requires that your injuries meet a certain “threshold” before you are eligible to recover damages for pain and suffering.  Known as the “serious injury requirement”, this section of the law is the most litigated area in motor vehicle accident cases.  This area is a favorite for defense lawyers because if you lose on this issue, your claim must be dismissed. 


serious injury


What is a Serious Injury?


A person who is injured in a car accident is eligible to recover damages for pain and suffering only if a “serious injury” is sustained.  New York State Law defines serious injury by category, or type of injury.  Some of the categories, like death or loss of a limb, are straightforward.  However, some categories are vague and usually result in litigation. Under the law, a serious injury is defined as an injury that results in:


  • Death;
  • Loss of a limb;
  • Fracture;
  • Loss of a fetus;
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member function or system, such as paralysis;
  • Permanent limitation of a body organ or member, such an injury to the knee or shoulder that limits use;
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system, for example, a herniated disc which affects body systems;
  • A temporary injury or impairment that stops the victim from performing their usual daily activities for more than 90 days during the 180 days following the injury-causing accident.

How Do I Prove A Serious Injury?


Proving a serious injury requires medical proof.   The law requires objective proof of injury, not merely complaints of pain.  In fact, it is well settled that mere subjective complaints of pain that are not supported by objective medical evidence, are insufficient to establish a serious injury.


To prove a serious injury, you must support your claim with objective medical evidence. Courts generally consider X-rays, MRIs and electrodiagnostic testing as the type of objective evidence that is sufficient to prove a serious injury claim. While these types of diagnostic tests are considered objective, they are usually interpreted differently by competing medical experts   In fact, a favorite defense offered by radiologists hired by insurance companies is that the injuries demonstrated on the MRI are pre-existing or degenerative conditions which are unrelated to the accident.  While this may be true at times, this is a common and overly used defense strategy.  In fact, we once handled a case where the radiologist hired by the defendant’s insurance company concluded that the injuries to our 11 year old client were longstanding, degenerative and unrelated to the accident. Needless to say, our 11 year old client was not old enough to have longstanding degenerative conditions.



How Much Is My Case Worth?


After establishing a serious injury, you may be eligible for a recovery. The amount of your recovery depends on the extent of your injury and an analysis of fault for the accident.


Bronx Car Accident Lawyers


When you need the services of a successful car accident attorney in the Bronx, Brooklyn, or anywhere in New York City, contact and get started today. Your consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless we win your case. Click for a free accident case evaluation online or call us anytime at 718-364-4000.


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