Understanding New York’s No-Fault Law

New York is one of the twelve states in the country with no-fault motor vehicle accident laws. The other no-fault states are Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, North Dakota, Utah and Pennsylvania. It’s called no-fault because your medical bills, lost wages and some out of pocket expenses are paid regardless of how the accident happened. What many people don’t know is that the law was passed to decrease personal injury claims, so it limits lawsuits against the at fault parties to cases where there is a “serious permanent injury.” This law is complicated and failing to properly meet the requirements can cause your case to be delayed or even dismissed. That’s why it’s important to hire the best car accident lawyer in Queens for any type of motor vehicle accident injury case.

The Serious Injury Threshold

New York Insurance Law Article 51 – Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations limits claims against at fault parties for personal injuries to victims that have sustained a “serious injuries.” Section 5102 (d) defines a “serious injury” as:

a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

The law specifies the types of injuries that are considered serious enough to meet the law’s requirements on their own because they are “permanent,” but also allows for lawsuits when “non-permanent” injuries caused long term disability, which is defined as being unable to perform usual and customary activities for ninety out of the first 180 days after in accident. Truck accident lawyers in NYC usually won’t accept cases that don’t clearly meet the serious injury threshold, but there are car accident lawyers in Queens that will take cases with less substantial injuries.

Does My Case Meet The Threshold?

Nobody wants to waste time bringing frivolous cases that don’t meet the law’s requirements. That’s why car accident lawyers in Queens will want to be sure cases have merit before they begin their representation. There’s no need to discuss the wide range of catastrophic injuries that are very obviously serious, but it’s important to know how the law looks at injuries that fall into the gray areas. If you have a broken bone, even the tiniest hairline fracture of the pinky, this will meet the threshold even if you receive very little treatment. If you don’t have a fracture, the lines begin to blur. For example, if you have a cut on your face, it’s not possible to know for months whether it will cause a “disfiguring scar.” The best truck accident lawyers in NYC explain to their clients how this is a “win – win.” You either have a scar on your face and get lots of money, or your case is dismissed, but you don’t have a scar on your face. When you have back pain, neck pain, knee pain or other types of soft tissue injuries, it’s not always possible to know whether or you’ll recover quickly or will require surgery and lose a great deal of time from work. That’s why car accident lawyers in Queens will sometimes take your case even if your injuries don’t clearly meet the threshold.

2021-02-24T14:15:22+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Alyce Wittenstein is a world class attorney, blogger and filmmaker. She began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

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