Assuming the accident is the other driver's fault, you may have the right to pursue a legal action against that person depending on the extent of your injuries. Under New York State Insurance Law, you have the right to seek compensation against the at fault driver if you can prove that one or more of your injuries is "serious". This is commonly referred to as the serious injury threshold, and relates to the No-Fault benefits that you are entitled to regardless of who is at fault for the car accident. The Insurance Law basically says that because you are able to get No-Fault benefits which cover your medical bills and lost wages, that only people that suffer a "serious" have the right to bring a lawsuit against the at fault driver. The Insurance Law sets forth a definition of what injuries qualify as a "serious". Parts of the definition are very clear and other parts are not so clear and many cases are brought where there is a real issue about whether the injuries qualify. For instance, the loss of a body member or organ, such as a kidney, spleen, finger, etc., a fracture of a bone, a loss of a fetus, a significant scar, and being medically unable to work for at least 90 days are within the definition of "serious". These are pretty black and white. However, many soft tissue type injuries to the neck, back, knee, shoulder, may or may not be considered "serious". These types of injuries would first have to be proven objectively by MRI, CT SCAN, etc., and then it would have to be shown that the injuries were permanent and significant. So for instance, a Herniated disc, tear in a knee or shoulder may or may not qualify, depending upon the effect of the injury on you. It is crucial to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer on Long Island in Suffolk County or Nassau County if you have any injuries from a car accident. They will be in the best position to advise and guide you, do not rely on advice from the insurance companies. You can call me any time at 631-402-5527 to have an honest conversation about injuries that you have suffered in a car accident. I have successfully represented thousands of Long Islanders whose injuries have included Herniated discs requiring spine surgery; knee tears requiring arthroscopic surgery, reconstruction surgery, and knee replacement; Shoulder injuries, including Rotator Cuff tears requiring surgery; Leg, ankle, and foot fractures; Arm, wrist and hand fractures. Serious scars; Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, and death.
No fast talk or false promises, just straight forward legal advice backed by my 25 years of experience. Keep it safe out there. Mark T. Freeley, Esq.