When Can You Sue Another Driver for Accident Injuries?

Auto accident injuries

New York’s no-fault insurance system is designed to streamline the process of resolving car accident claims so that injured parties receive reimbursement for medical costs and related losses without litigation. However, individuals can pursue legal action against an at-fault driver when their injuries are serious injuries as defined by New York Insurance Law § 5102(d).

The statute lists the following as serious injuries:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Bone 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
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system

The statute also allows you to sue if you suffer a medically determined injury or impairment that prevents you from performing substantially all of your usual and customary daily activities for at least 90 of the 180 days immediately following the accident.

Significantly, if you qualify for bringing a lawsuit over any of these injuries, you can seek damages not only for economic losses but also for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium with your spouse or significant other. 

However, suing for such injuries requires thorough and exacting medical proofs. Subjective complaints of pain are insufficient. There must be objective, quantitative evidence with respect to diminished range of motion or a qualitative assessment comparing your present limitations to the normal function, purpose and use of the affected body organ, member, function or system, such as x-rays, MRI’s and CT Scans. The evidence must document your treatment for the injuries, explain any gaps in treatment and address any pre-existing medical condition that may have contributed to causing the injury.

Rich & Rich, P.C. is skilled in obtaining the maximum compensation possible for New York auto accident victims. We have offices in Midtown Manhattan and Roslyn Heights, Long Island. Please call today at 212-406-0440 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. 

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