New York’s serious injury threshold applies to collisions with motor vehicles and trucks that result in personal injury. New York is a no-fault state, which means for the most part, most people aren’t able to sue for accidents. Supposedly, this keeps car insurance rates low.
Instead, each driver’s Personal Injury Policy (PIP) pays for their own injuries and damages after an accident, as well as a portion of your lost wages. PIP does not pay for pain and suffering. If both drivers have insurance, each driver’s own insurance policy pays for their losses, unless they find some reason to deny the claim.
If a driver is struck by an uninsured motorist, they can either recover from their own uninsured motorist policy, or they can recover from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Company. The same is true for an uninsured pedestrian struck by a driver.
However, when injuries are very serious the situation changes. Injured parties may launch a personal injury lawsuit when the injuries meet one of the following conditions.
- When losses exceed $50,000
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- The permanent loss of a body organ, function, member, or system
- Has an injury or impairment that prevents them from performing their daily activities for 90 out of 180 days immediately following the accident.
If the accident results in a death, the immediate family of the deceased may also press for a wrongful death suit.
Once this threshold is met the injured party is eligible for a full personal injury lawsuit, including pain and suffering damages and, in certain cases, punitive damages if the other driver was acting in a particularly egregious way.
Whenever the case is a somewhat borderline case insurance companies will push for a ruling that the injury does not meet the threshold.
For example, if you experience some scarring, they might try to argue the disfigurement is not “significant” enough to warrant a lawsuit. This is where your personal injury attorney has to step in and argue your case on your behalf, persuading the courts, if necessary, that you have a valid claim.
Proving that you have met the personal injury threshold is just one of the many complicated issues you will need a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate after a serious accident. If you think you meet the threshold and have a case, contact us right away to schedule a case review.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in New York City?
When Can You Sue for a Car Accident in New York?