Defining Serious Injury in New York

Injured artist handsIf one gets into a car accident that resulted in serious injuries, he or she can step outside the limitations of a state’s no-fault laws and make a claim or file a lawsuit against the driver at fault. Another distinct difference between standard and no-fault claims is that one may seek indemnity for non-economic reasons.

Defining the Serious Injury Threshold

New York follows no-fault laws when it comes to personal injury cases; the maximum amount that a person can recover is approximately $50,000.

New York’s no-fault laws cover:

  1. Lost earnings that someone may incur up to the amount of $2,000 a month for three years
  2. Other expenditures related to the injuries incurred during the accident up to the amount of $25 a day for up to a year
  3. Medical treatment costs related to the accident which includes physical therapy and psychiatric treatments.

If one suffers losses that are beyond the aforementioned amount, they can step outside the limitations of the no-fault rules as long as they qualify for ‘serious injury’. In such cases, a person can file a personal injury lawsuit or make a claim against the driver who was the cause of the injuries.

Some of the injuries that fall under the definition of ‘serious injury’ include:

  1. Injuries resulting in death
  2. Loss of a fetus
  3. Injuries that result in significant disfigurement, fractures and/or dismemberment
  4. Significant limitation of a certain body system or function/s
  5. The injury led to the permanent loss of use of a body organ, system, member or function

What If One Doesn’t Qualify?

If one does not qualify for the serious injury damages, he or she cannot collect indemnities for non-economic losses like suffering and pain felt because of the accident. A person may not get any compensation or coverage, if the cause of their injuries were the result of intentional acts or driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The abovementioned ‘serious injuries’ are only some that fall under this category. Some of the definitions are vague and have loopholes. Consult with an NYC personal injury lawyer to determine the legal course of action available.