New York is a no-fault state, which means that after a car accident you cannot sue for your pain and suffering from your injuries unless your injuries are serious enough to meet the laws threshold that warrants the lawsuit.
If your injuries do not pass this threshold, then each party’s own insurance company pays their own damages for the lost wages and medical bills and both go their separate ways. These are capped by your insurance limits, and there is no award for your pain and suffering.
A serious injury is defined by law as:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- A medically determined non-permanent impairment lasting more than 90 days during the 6 months immediately following the accident.
There are missteps you can make in your case that can seriously limit your ability to obtain compensation. For example, in the 2005 case Pommells v. Perez, the Court ruled that a plaintiff who terminates medical treatment after an accident cannot come back and claim a serious injury without offering some sort of reasonable explanation for terminating treatment. Thus, any treatment gap can weaken your case. The Courts have taken the attitude that if you are in pain you will seek treatment and will conclude that if you are not treating you are not in pain.
If you plan to sue for your injuries after a motor vehicle accident you should involve an attorney as quickly as possible. If you’re not sure whether your case meets the threshold, you should ask an attorney.
The New York City Injury Law Firm of Jaroslawicz and Jaros can help you and your family get the just compensation you deserve. Since 1980, we have helped thousands of New Yorkers seek justice for injuries caused by other people’s negligence.