On March 24, 2006, a 77 year old man was about to cross the street at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 139th Street. He was hit by a car. This car hit the 77 year old because it was also hit by another car from the back.
The 77 year old man was hospitalized in Manhattan. Later he filed a case for damages and he sued the two car drivers. The 77 year old man presented the medical findings which were made from tests conducted immediately after the accident while the two drivers presented the findings of a neurologist, an orthopedic surgeon, radiologist and a plastic surgeon.
The orthopedic surgeon conducted a range of motion tests on the entire spinal column of the 77 year old man to determine if he sustained any spinal injury. He observed that the movement of his spine is limited but he did not attribute this as resulting from the accident but from his advanced age. All the other medical specialists who examined him all gave the opinion that the 77 year old man suffered no permanent disability or spinal injury. The orthopedic surgeon conducted these tests in 2008, two years after the accident occurred in 2006.
The two car owners then moved for summary judgment asking that the complaint against them be dismissed because the 77 year old man did not suffer any serious spinal injury. According to them, their liability stems from the Insurance Law which requires them to pay damages in case of permanent loss of an organ; or that a body system has become significantly limited.
The 77 year old Long Island man then presented a radiologist who tried to show through scans and MRIs that there was a swelling in his lumbar and cervical vertebrae. The radiologist performed the scans and MRIs two days after the accident took place. He gave an opinion that there is medical evidence that the 77 year old man suffered serious spinal injury in his lumbar and cervical spine.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court held that the Insurance Law explicitly mandates that for the person who was injured in a motor vehicle accident, the injured person must show that he has sustained a serious injury.
A serious injury under the Insurance Law must result in a significant disfigurement or a permanent loss of a body part that renders his function limited or, if the impairment is not permanent in nature, the injury must prevent him from performing his usual and customary activities for at least ninety to one hundred eight days immediately after the injury occurred.
The issue of whether or not the injury sustained is a serious injury is the crux of an action for damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. The purpose of requiring proof of a serious injury is to prevent people from making frivolous and fraudulent claims.
To prove that an injury was serious in nature, there must be objective medical evidence such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds.
Both the 77 year old man and the two drivers who figured in the motor vehicle accident submitted competent medical evidence that shows two conflicting medical findings. When the experts of both the parties present conflicting medical findings, it is then clear that a material issue has been raised that must be presented and tried before a jury.
For this reason, the motion for summary judgment filed by the two drivers must be denied. It is to be noted that the medical evidence proffered by the drivers were from tests performed two years after the injury while the medical evidence proffered by the 77 year old man were performed just days after the injury. The question, then, of which of the results show that serious injury resulted from the accident is for a jury to appreciate.
If you were in the same situation as the victim of the accident here and you want to seek the payment of damages through a court action. You must know whom to include in the suit. You need the advice of a New York Spinal Injury lawyer. You need to present competent medical evidence as interpreted by a specialist or medical expert. You need a New York City Spinal Injury attorney who can depose the medical expert. If you need to speak with a NYC Spinal Injury attorney, you may call or visit the office of Stephen Bilkis and Associates. Their NY Spinal Injury attorneys are willing to entertain your queries. Call of visit Stephen Bilkis and Associates at any of their offices in New York.