There are several different laws in New York City which govern the litigation practices involved in personal injury lawsuits. In order for a person to proceed with an action to sue in reference to a serious bodily injury that was the result of a traffic accident, they must prove that the injury is serious in accordance with the law. The statute CPLR § 3212 and Article 51 of the New York State insurance law specify the guidelines that are used to determine if an injury is considered serious.
There are several different categories that are used to determine serious injury under these statutes. Some of these involve brain injury, loss of an appendage, loss of use of an appendage, loss of a fetus, some brain injuries, and some spinal injury. In order for an injury to be considered serious, it must be pervasive enough to interfere with the person’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. This type of injury is usually one that is permanent in nature. Although, some brain injuries and spinal injuries may not be lifelong disability type injuries.
On June 10, 2007, a woman was driving her 2005 Nissan on East Shore Drive, Massapequa, New York in Nassau County. She was hit in the back end of her vehicle by a 1994 BMW. She received injuries in the accident that she felt met the criteria to be considered serious under the statutes of New York. She filed a personal injury lawsuit based on these injuries. The injuries that she claims to have suffered involved annular tear at L4-5 vertebrae, disc herniations at L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1. She claims to have been diagnosed with a disc bulge at L2-3 which caused a constriction on the spinal cord. She also sustained an internal derangement of the lumbar spine with a severe strain or sprain of the lumbar spine. She gave a sworn statement to the court that after the accident, she had to stay in bed for a full two weeks. She also claims that after she was able to get out of her bed, she had to stay at home for another four weeks recovering. She stated that at the time of the accident, she was unemployed. However, she claimed that she can no longer take part in many of the activities that she enjoyed such as playing volleyball, gardening, cooking, or driving somewhere that is more than thirty minutes away. She stated that she cannot lift heavy objects or wash dishes. She stated that she joined a local gym and that she uses the recumbent bicycle several times a week to try to stay in shape. In her statement, she did not detail the specific compensable serious injury categories that she contends that her injuries fall under.