If you or a loved one have the misfortune of being involved in a motor vehicle accident in New York and sustain severe injuries related to the accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit. This means entering the “serious injury threshold,” which takes you outside New York’s No-Fault system, discussed in part 1 of this series.

In bringing a personal injury lawsuit, you are holding the at-fault driver responsible for the accident. This opens the door for you to pursue compensation for all categories of losses – including those that fall outside the benefits available to you in a No-Fault claim, such as pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.

Do I have a case?

First and foremost, the injury must comply with the legal definition of a “serious injury.” Examples include the following:

  • Death;
  • Broken bone (fracture) or multiple broken bones;
  • Loss of a body part, system, or organ;
  • Loss of the use of a body part, system, or organ;
  • Loss of a fetus;
  • Significant disfigurement or scarring;
  • Inability to conduct normal activities for at least 90 days out of the first 180 days; and
  • Chronic injury which appears to be permanent

Our job is to make sure that you receive the greatest possible compensation for the injuries that you or a loved one have sustained. As a tourist, you have the same rights to compensation as a New York resident. But in order to assert them, we must prove a serious injury. At this stage, this is the single most important factor.

What not to do

A client should never make the “serious injury” determination on their own. Some injuries that seem minor can be serious – and some injuries that you might consider serious may not be so in the eyes of the law. Having Seitelman Law on your side is critical in this respect. We have in-depth knowledge of the parameters set forth by the law and defined by precedent, along with many years of experience in personal injury law. You can rest assured that the matter is in good hands.

What happens next

The statute and court decisions require that an injured person (or person acting on their behalf) carefully review the case with an attorney. This is with good reason. These cases can be complex, and as much energy as we will put into making your case, the defense will also put up a fight. But you can leave the matter entirely to us, while you go home and recover from the trauma of the accident. We will get to work on your behalf immediately. If we determine that your injuries fall within the legal definition of a serious injury, we will move forward and pursue a claim. This topic is covered in part 3 of this series.