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What’s Considered a Serious Injury in a Car Accident?

Female leg after knee surgery in bandages and orthosis, close-up

New York is one of only a few states that has a “no-fault” scheme when it comes to car crash injury claims. People file a claim with their own insurance provider after a crash, regardless of fault, and are limited to certain categories of damages and the limits of their insurance policy. In order to get out of the no-fault scheme, the victim must allege that they suffered a “serious injury.” Read on to learn about how to prove a “serious injury” has occurred, and call a dedicated New York car accident lawyer if you or someone you care about has been hurt in a crash in The Bronx or NYC.

New York’s No-Fault System

In most states, when a person is injured in a car crash due to the negligence of another driver, they can bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. That driver and their insurance company will be responsible for compensating the injured party. New York instead follows a “no-fault” scheme under which each party involved in an accident must file a claim with their own insurance provider, regardless of who caused the accident. Unless they satisfy an exception to get outside of the no-fault scheme, they are limited to filing with their own insurance company.

No-fault insurance is generally more limited than a typical personal injury claim. An injured party can collect compensation for accident-related medical costs, lost income for work missed due to the accident up to a maximum of three years, and property damage. Injured victims cannot, for example, recover damages for pain and suffering, which is often the largest part of a car accident injury award.

The Serious Injury Threshold

To get outside of the no-fault scheme and file a claim directly against the at-fault driver, the accident victim must allege that they suffered a “serious injury” in the accident. Victims who have suffered a serious injury can sue for the same damages available under the no-fault scheme as well as additional damages such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and punitive damages.

Serious injury is a legal term defined in New York’s insurance law. According to Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law, “serious injury” 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
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • 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

If you were injured in a car accident in New York, talk to a qualified and effective New York car crash attorney to find out if you have expanded options for recovery.

Call the Kohn Law Firm For Help With a Car Accident Injury Claim in The Bronx

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car crash in New York, get seasoned and dedicated legal help recovering the money you’re owed by contacting the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation at 718-409-1200.

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