Published on:

Determining whether an injury is considered serious


Determining whether an injury is considered serious under the Insurance Law § 5102, is an issue that is common in the courts of New York State. In order for an injury to be considered serious by law in New York, it must be so serious that for the first 90 days out of the 180 days immediately following the accident, the person must be prohibited from maintaining his normal daily activities. A board certified physician who has conducted tests that demonstrate a diminished capacity in one or more limbs, the spine, or the brain must also document the injury. A person who has sustained a spinal injury, must be able to show through documented tests performed by a board certified doctor that they have a limited range of motion that is permanent in order to recover punitive damages. In the case of a traffic accident injury, where the person is a passenger in one of the cars, that person must attach the driver of the car that they were in and their insurance company as well as the driver of the second car and their insurance companies. Ultimately, the insurance companies will each do their best to place the burden of compensation on the other company.

In one case that involved a traffic accident from March 17, 2008, a man was injured in the accident while he was a passenger in one of the cars. The accident occurred at the intersection of Front Street and Main Street which are in the Township of Hempstead. Hempstead is located in Nassau County. In this case, the car that the complainant who was injured was in, was owned by a person other than the driver of the car. Because of that, he had to attach the driver of the car, the owner of the car, and the insurance company. There is little question about the facts of the accident itself. The insured person was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident even though the airbags in the car did not deploy. At the time of the accident, none of the people involved in the accident requested an ambulance so none came to the scene of the accident.

The injured complainant did not go to a hospital for treatment until later, after the date of the accident. He ultimately sought treatment by an orthopedist and a neurologist for injuries that he claims he incurred during the accident. His doctors claim that he sustained several neck and back injuries, as well as an injury to his right shoulder that has resulted in permanent partial disability of those limbs. The defendant insurance companies filed a request to have the man examined by a doctor of their choosing. That doctor claimed that the man had no injuries that could be termed serious under the New York State Insurance Law. He maintained that his examination revealed that the man did not have any significant reduction in his range of motion. The defendant insurance companies filed a motion to have the court grant summary judgment dismissing the case as filed because they contend that the case does not meet the qualifications for a serious injury.

The complainant and his doctor disagreed. They demonstrated a measured loss of movement and range of motion studies that were less than the normal range. The tests were well documented and provided both the results that the complainant showed as well as what a normal test would show. These tests and their results were submitted along with the diagnoses of the board certified physician who ran the tests and issued the diagnoses. The court was satisfied that there was enough of an issue of fact that they denied the motion for summary judgment and agreed to move the case forward to trial.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its personal injury Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Our medical malpractice lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without an spinal injury Lawyer, you could lose precious compensation to help your family.

Contact Information