If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York and are pursuing a personal injury claim, it’s essential to understand the state’s serious injury threshold. Meeting this threshold is crucial for obtaining compensation for your injuries.
Here are five key things to know about New York’s serious injury threshold:
- Qualifiers under Insurance Law § 5102(d): According to Article 51 of the Insurance Law, a plaintiff in a personal injury action must establish that they have incurred a basic economic loss exceeding $50,000 or have suffered a “serious injury.” Insurance Law § 5102(d) defines serious injury as a personal injury resulting in 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, a significant limitation of use of a body function or system, or medically determined injury or impairment preventing the injured person from performing all of their usual and customary daily activities substantially for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the injury.
- An Explanation for Gaps in Treatment: If there are gaps in your medical treatment following the accident, it’s important to provide a reasonable explanation for the discontinuity. In the case of a defendant moving for summary judgment, your opposition papers should address the reasons for the gaps. Providing a doctor’s affirmation can help explain the gaps and lend credibility to your claim.
- Addressing Pre-Existing Injuries: When a defendant raises the issue of a pre-existing medical condition as a cause of the alleged injury, it becomes necessary to address whether the symptoms and injuries were actually caused by the accident. In response to a motion for summary judgment, you should provide a detailed explanation supported by a doctor’s affirmation to establish that the accident, and not the pre-existing condition, caused the injuries.
- Quantifying Deficiencies: To establish a permanent consequential limitation or a significant limitation of use, the medical evidence must contain objective, quantitative evidence of a diminished range of motion or a qualitative assessment comparing the limitations to the normal function of the affected body part. Conclusory findings without supporting evidence are insufficient to meet the serious injury threshold. It’s important to submit proof of the actual range of motion and compare it to the normal range.
- Certification of Medical Records: Proof submitted in support of or opposition to a summary judgment motion must be in admissible form. Unsworn medical records are not considered admissible, and movants for summary judgment cannot rely on such records. Ensure that medical records are properly certified to support your claim and meet the requirements for admissibility.
Understanding New York’s serious injury threshold is essential for successfully pursuing a personal injury claim after a motor vehicle accident. By meeting the threshold and providing compelling evidence, you can increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and related damages. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is highly recommended to navigate the complexities of New York’s serious injury threshold and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
When it comes to choosing legal representation for your accident with injury, Parker Waichman LLP is a trusted and reputable option. Their experience, expertise, personalized approach, and commitment to client advocacy make them a strong ally in seeking justice and fair compensation. Contact Parker Waichman LLP today to discuss your case and receive the legal support you need.
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