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Court Discusses New York’s Serious Injury Threshold in Car Accident Cases

The force created by collisions frequently causes fractures, contusions, strains, and other bodily harm. People that suffer injuries in car accidents have the right to pursue damages from the individuals that caused the accident, but pursuant to New York law, they must meet a certain injury threshold to recover damages. If they fail to meet the threshold, their claims will most likely be dismissed, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a New York car accident case. If you were injured in a car accident, you should talk to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer to assess your possible claims.

The Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving on a bridge in New York when he was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant. The airbags did not deploy in either car, and the windows did not shatter. The plaintiff did not call an ambulance but drove his vehicle to a local police station. The plaintiff subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he suffered harm in the collision, which he claimed was caused by the defendant’s negligence. Following discovery, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to meet the serious injury threshold as required to recover damages under New York law.

New York’s Serious Injury Threshold

In an effort to cut down on frivolous claims, the New York legislature passed laws limiting recovery for non-economic harm suffered in car accidents arising out of the negligent operation of vehicles to those cases in which the plaintiff sustained a serious injury.

Accordingly, a defendant seeking judgment on the grounds that a plaintiff failed to meet the serious injury threshold must produce adequate evidence to support their assertion. If the defendant neglects to demonstrate that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury, the plaintiff does not need to produce evidence of the severity of their harm. If the defendant does meet its burden, though, the plaintiff can only overcome the defendant’s motion by showing that they sustained a serious injury as defined by New York’s no-fault act.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant met its burden of proof, and in turn, the plaintiff offered evidence adequate to show that he suffered a serious injury. He failed to prove, however, that the injury was caused by the subject accident. Thus, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Meet with an Experienced Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

While many people involved in collisions walk away unharmed, others suffer substantial injuries; fortunately, the law allows people hurt in car accidents to recover damages for their losses. If you were hurt in a car crash brought about by another party’s negligence, you might be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and help you to determine what claims you may be able to assert against the individual responsible for your harm. You can reach us by calling 833-200-2000 or by using our form online to set up a meeting.

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