When it comes to auto insurance, many states employ an “at-fault” system, in which a person who was injured by another driver’s negligence can file a claim for compensation against the insurer of that driver, who is deemed to be “at fault” for the accident. But New York is a “no-fault state,” which means that when an individual is injured in a car accident, they typically must turn to their own insurance company to cover expenses related to their injury, regardless of who was at fault for the collision. All New York drivers are required to have no-fault insurance—also known as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage—to protect themselves financially in the event of injury.
However, there are some exceptions to the no-fault rule. If you sustained a “serious injury” as defined by New York state law, you could be entitled to step outside the state’s no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual who caused the crash, the same way you would in a state with a fault-based insurance system. While personal injury protection policies grant you coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, a personal injury lawsuit could allow you to claim further compensation, including damages for non-financial losses like pain and suffering.
If you believe you sustained a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision or have questions about the serious injury threshold in New York, contact the knowledgeable New York personal injury attorneys at Mandel Law Firm today for a free consultation.
What Injuries Meet the Serious Injury Threshold in New York?
New York state law outlines several types of injuries that cross the “serious injury threshold.” If you have sustained an injury that crosses this threshold, then you would likely be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party, allowing you to obtain additional compensation beyond that provided by your PIP plan.
To meet the serious injury threshold, you generally need to have sustained one of the following types of injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Significant disfigurement
- A significant limitation of use of a body system or function
- Permanent limitation of a body organ or member
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- A medically determined temporary injury or impairment that prevents you from doing routine activities and tasks for a minimum of 90 days during the 180-day period after the injury was initially sustained
Death is also considered a serious injury for the purposes of the law, allowing a decedent’s immediate family to bring a lawsuit against the person who caused their loved one’s death.
If you have sustained an injury that meets the serious injury threshold in New York, then you should consult with one of our dedicated personal injury attorneys to discuss filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent individual who caused your injuries.
Compensation For Serious Injuries in New York
If you sustained a serious injury as defined by New York state law in a motor vehicle accident that was another person’s fault, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. This allows you to pursue additional compensation that you wouldn’t be able to obtain through your no-fault insurance policy, such as for:
- Medical expenses beyond those covered by your insurance
- Lost wages beyond those covered by your insurance, if you are unable to return to work because of the injury
- Property damage, including the cost of vehicle repairs, which is not covered by no-fault insurance
A lawsuit is also your only avenue for pursuing compensation for non-economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering, including PTSD, emotional trauma, and mental distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Bodily disfigurement
- Punitive damages, if appropriate
Additionally, if your immediate family member has passed away due to a motor vehicle accident, a lawsuit allows you to pursue compensation for their wrongful death.
What Are Some Exceptions to the “Serious Injury” Rule?
In New York, motorcyclists and scooter riders are not covered by no-fault insurance and therefore can bring a lawsuit or third-party insurance claim against the person responsible for their injuries without needing to clear the “serious injury” threshold. In fact, doing so may be the only way for injured motorcyclists and scooter operators to receive compensation for expenses like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Contact A New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have been severely injured due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve answers, justice, and fair compensation. Contact the New York personal injury lawyers at Mandel Law Firm online or call (646) 779-1441 for a free, no-risk consultation.