New York State Insurance Law Section 5102(d) provides the definition of serious injury as it pertains to motor vehicle accident cases. The term serious injury is of upmost importance because unless you can prove that your injuries meet the “serious injury” definition then you will not be able to sustain a lawsuit in this State.
The Insurance Law definition includes the following items which would be considered “serious injury”:
•A personal injury which would result in death;
•Loss of 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;
•Medical determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitutes such persons usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence or impairment.
It was the intention of the Legislature as well as the Courts enforcing this provision to limit the number of lawsuits brought in New York State. In particular, the serious injury threshold is intended to keep minor personal injury cases out of Court.
Whether or not ones injuries qualifies under the Insurance Law’s definition of serious injury is a much litigated and contested area of Law. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, feel free to contact us for more information regarding your potential rights.