Nobody expects to be injured in a car crash in Rochester or elsewhere in Western New York, and a collision can result in devastating injuries. Yet as you may be aware, since New York is a no-fault state for purposes of auto accident claims, a person who is injured in a car wreck caused by a negligent motorist cannot simply go out and file a lawsuit against that at-fault party in order to seek financial compensation for losses. Instead, the injured person must first file a first-party auto insurance claim through your own auto insurance policy. Then, if the insurance payout is insufficient to cover the injured person’s losses, then that injured person might be considering the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver. However, if this is your situation, in order to be eligible to file a lawsuit, you must meet the “serious injury” threshold under New York law.
If you do not believe your injuries are serious enough to meet the serious injury threshold to file a lawsuit, what are your options for seeking compensation if the insurance payout was insufficient to cover your losses? The most important thing you should do is to seek advice from a Rochester car accident lawyer.
Seek Advice from an Attorney About the Serious Injury Threshold
Many car accident victims suffer serious injuries, but it is easy to assume that your injuries are not sufficiently severe to meet the serious injury threshold. You might be thinking that, because your injuries have not resulted in a permanent disability or do not appear catastrophic in nature, that you will not be eligible to file a lawsuit. Before you jump to this conclusion, it is critical to seek advice from a car accident attorney in Rochester about your case and whether your injuries are likely to be defined as “serious” under New York law.
Your injuries might in fact reach the serious injury threshold even if you do not think they are severely debilitating.
Many Types of Injuries Are Classified as “Serious” Under New York Law
The serious injury threshold allows for a wide range of injuries to meet the threshold to file a lawsuit, including the following cited in the statute:
- Significant disfigurement;
- Loss of a fetus;
- Permanent use of a body organ or function;
- Limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- Non-permanent injury that prevents the injured person from performing daily acts of living.
As you can see, while the statute does list catastrophic injuries like dismemberment and the permanent loss of a body organ, you may still be eligible to file a lawsuit after a car accident if you suffered a fracture or broken bone, or if your injuries are severe enough that they have resulted in a temporary disability that is expected to last for at least three months.
Contact Our Rochester Auto Accident Lawyers
If your injuries are not in fact severe enough to reach the serious injury threshold, it may still be possible to negotiate with the insurance company to obtain full compensation for your losses. One of our Rochester car accident lawyers can help. Contact King Law today for assistance with your car accident case.