Can I File a Car Accident Lawsuit for a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Were you recently diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a motor vehicle accident? You may be wondering if you are eligible to sue the at-fault driver in order to seek financial compensation for your losses. The answer will depend upon the particular facts of your case, and a dedicated Rochester car accident lawyer at our firm can assist you.

Your Injury Must Be “Serious” According to New York Law to File a Lawsuit

Given that New York is a no-fault state when it comes to car accident cases, it is important to understand how the “serious injury” threshold works under New York Insurance Law § 5104 and what it means for your ability to file a lawsuit. In short, the law says that a person who has been injured in a traffic collision in New York can only file a lawsuit against the liable party if their injury is serious enough to meet the threshold required for a civil claim, which means that the injury has resulted in one or more of the following: 

  • death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or an injury that prevents the injured person from performing all of the material acts that constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for over 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the onset of the injury.

How does this definition apply to traumatic brain injuries and your ability to sue after a car accident? In order to file a lawsuit after sustaining a TBI, you would need to show that the brain injury resulted in one of the serious injuries or conditions listed above. Since many brain injuries can be severe and cause a permanent or significant loss or limitation of the brain and its functions, it certainly may be possible to file a lawsuit. A car accident attorney in Rochester can assess your case.

Brain Injuries Can Range in Severity

When you are trying to determine whether or not a TBI meets the “serious injury threshold” requirement to file a lawsuit in New York, you may be wondering if the consequences of a TBI are enough to be understood as causing a permanent or significant loss or limitation of the brain. While you should seek advice from your lawyer and from a healthcare provider, it is important to understand that brain injuries can range widely in terms of their severity. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, brain injuries are usually classified into one of three categories:

  • Mild TBIs, which include concussions;
  • Moderate TBIs; and
  • Severe TBIs.

A person who sustains a concussion, or a mild TBI, will typically recover within a few weeks with proper treatment and medical care. However, in some cases, if a car accident results in a repeat concussion, the symptoms can be more severe. Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries more often result in temporary and sometimes permanent disabilities. 

Seek Advice from a Rochester Car Accident Attorney Today

Do you need assistance seeking compensation for the brain injury you suffered in a crash? Our Rochester car accident lawyers can help. Contact King Law for more information.


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