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Understanding New York State’s “Serious Injury Threshold” Statute

An injury from a car accident can range from mild to severe, from sprains to traumatic brain injuries. All are unfortunate. But it’s important to understand New York’s Statute entitled the “Serious Injury Threshold”. Your ability to file a personal injury claim after an accident depends on whether your injury breaches this threshold.

What New York State Considers A Serious Injury

Section 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance Law defines a “serious injury” as any of the following conditions:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use 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 ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment

Although the first 6 are straightforward, the last three can be somewhat confusing. Common injuries including (but not limited to) strains and soft tissue injuries may breach this threshold if the effect of the injury resulted in: a limitation of the use of a body organ or member; a significant limitation of the use of a body function or system; the inability to perform daily routines for at least 90 days following one’s accident. To truly know if your injury breaches this threshold and enables you to make a personal injury claim, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who practices in the jurisdiction your accident took place.

Important deadlines to know for your car accident case

Medical bills and lost wages are paid through no-fault insurance. All no-fault insurance carriers require a no-fault application be filed within thirty days. Failing to do so may result in denial of your no-fault benefits and may make you personally responsible for the bills.

In car accident cases there is generally a three-year statute of limitations to initiate a lawsuit. However, that time period may be reduced to as little as 90 days if your car accident involves a municipal, state or federal entity. So, it’s best to check with a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible.

When to consult with a Long Island Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries in Suffolk County, Long Island from a car accident, it is a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Hiring an attorney early on in the process will help protect your legal rights, ensure your medical bills and lost wages are paid, and give you an advantage in building a strong personal injury case. An early investigation will also help preserve key evidence in your case.

How Much Is My Long Island Car Accident Case Worth?

The value of an injury suffered in a car accident is an accumulation of several different factors. These include any accident-related economic expenses such as lost wages and damage to your car as well as non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. At Palermo Law, our experience in handling thousands of car accident cases allows us to accurately assess the value of your case to determine the fairest settlement or jury award. In cases of long-term injuries, we partner with experts in the fields of medicine and economics to make sure that your compensation is adjusted for future inflation. This allows you peace of mind knowing that you will be compensated for years to come.