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How to Determine if Your Injury is Serious

To reduce the amount of needless litigation arising from motor vehicle accidents, New York State enacted a law that requires that you sustain a serious injury before you qualify to bring a lawsuit for your damages not covered by no-fault. The law has become known as the threshold law. Serije sa prevodom. It can be found in the Insurance Law of the State of New York under Section 5102(d). It lists eight types of injuries that qualify under the law as serious, thus granting the right upon the injured person to seek compensation above what is provided for by no-fault insurance. Therefore, you can seek pain and suffering and economic losses not provided for through no-fault benefits if you have sustained one of the eight enumerated injuries.

Categories of Injury

While some of the eight categories of injuries are straightforward others are more confusing to understand and many people, even attorneys, are left wondering whether a person has suffered a serious injury. The eight categories set forth in 5102(d) of the insurance are as follow:

  1. Death
  2. Dismemberment
  3. Disfigurement
  4. Fracture
  5. Loss of Pregnancy
  6. Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  7. Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body function or system
  8. A medically determined injury impairment of a non-permanent nature that prevents a person from performing substantially all of their normal activities for any 90-day period within the first 180 days following an accident

Numbers one through five are very straightforward and are rarely
challenged. Numbers six through eight are much more confusing and often require litigation to resolve. Numbers six and seven usually deal with soft tissue back and neck injuries.

While there are thousands and thousands of court cases dealing with the issue for our purposes, I would suggest looking at two factors to determine if an injury may meet the threshold under categories six and seven. First, courts look for a positive finding in a diagnostic test such as an MRI or Cat Scan. A positive finding is usually a herniated disc or bulging disc.

Next, courts look for some type of permanent or long-lasting issue as a result of the positive finding such as loss of range of motion or nerve damage. Once those two factors are established, a court will usually consider the threshold breached.
While the threshold law can be complicated, if an insurance company is denying your claim because they do not feel your injury breaches the threshold, you have recourse. You can bring your case to Court and litigate the issue.

If you have suffered from a serious injury, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced lawyer. Here at Palermo Law, we have been helping people who have suffered serious injury for more than 20 years. We help our clients utilize laws like these so they can gain their deserved compensation.