Understanding the “Serious Injury Threshold” in New York

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident and you believe you meet the Serious Injury Threshold, it’s crucial to seek legal advice.

Regarding auto accidents in New York, the term “Serious Injury Threshold” is crucial. At Apicella & Schlesinger Attorneys at Law, we believe it’s essential for you to understand this concept, especially if you’ve been injured in an accident. This threshold determines whether you can pursue a lawsuit for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages beyond what is covered by your insurance.

What is the Serious Injury Threshold?

New York operates under a no-fault insurance system, which means that your insurance company will cover your medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. However, to sue for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, your injury must meet the “Serious Injury Threshold” as outlined in New York Insurance Law § 5102(d).

Types of Serious Injuries Defined by Law

The law specifies several types of injuries that qualify as “serious.” These include:

  1. Death: If the accident results in the fatality of the injured party.
  2. Dismemberment: The loss of a limb or other body part.
  3. Significant Disfigurement: A noticeable and significant alteration in appearance.
  4. Fracture: Any type of broken bone.
  5. Loss of a Fetus: Miscarriage caused by the accident.
  6. Permanent Loss of Use: Permanent inability to use a body organ, member, function, or system.
  7. Permanent Consequential Limitation: A significant and permanent limitation of using a body organ or member.
  8. Significant Limitation: A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system.
  9. Medically Determined Injury or Impairment: An injury or impairment that is medically determined to be non-permanent but prevents the injured person from performing their usual daily activities for at least 90 days within the 180 days immediately following the accident.

Proving a Serious Injury

To successfully claim non-economic damages, you must provide substantial medical evidence and documentation supporting your injury’s severity and impact. This evidence can include:

  • Medical Records: Detailed records of your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
  • Doctor’s Statements: Written opinions from your healthcare providers about the extent and impact of your injury.
  • Expert Testimony: Testimonies from medical experts who can attest to the seriousness of your injury and its implications on your daily life.

Why is Meeting the Serious Injury Threshold Important?

Meeting this threshold is essential because it allows you to seek compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, which are not covered by no-fault insurance. These damages can significantly impact your quality of life and financial stability.

Get the Legal Help You Need

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident and you believe you meet the Serious Injury Threshold, it’s crucial to seek legal advice. At Apicella & Schlesinger Attorneys at Law, we have extensive experience handling personal injury cases. We can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.