Serious Injury Threshold

Lawyers for Car Accident Lawsuits in Syracuse

Car accidents can produce devastating consequences. Possible injuries can include paralysis, traumatic brain injury, fractures, bruises, lacerations, and broken bones. Not every injury sustained in a car accident meets the serious injury threshold under New York law. One of our first inquiries if you consult us about your personal injury claim will be whether your injury is serious enough to meet that threshold. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our experienced Syracuse car accident attorneys understand the intricacies of recovering damages for injuries arising from an auto collision.

Serious Injury Threshold

New York defines what injuries are considered severe enough that you can pursue damages from an at-fault party rather than turn to your own no-fault insurance. The New York State Serious Injury Threshold is the law that defines which injuries are considered “serious.” In other words, it outlines the types and severity of the injuries that entitle you to pursue compensation if they were caused by the negligence of another person. When injuries don't fulfill the requirements of the threshold, you will not be able to pursue damages in a lawsuit and will be restricted to the benefits available through no-fault insurance.

Under Section 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance Law, a serious injury may include significant disfigurement; dismemberment; death; fractures; loss of fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, function, member, or system; significant limitation of a body system or function; and permanent consequential restricted use of a body member or organ. A serious injury can also be a medically determined impairment or injury of a non-permanent nature that stops the injured person from doing substantially all of the material acts that constitute the person's customary and usual daily activities for at least 90 days in the 180-day period immediately after an injury or impairment occurs.

Many different injuries will seemingly not fall into these categories, but if severe enough they may qualify as significant limitations, permanent restrictions, or non-permanent injuries that still prevent you from doing most of the material acts you usually do. For example, herniated disks and soft tissue injuries can be severe enough in some cases to qualify under these categories. Another permanent restriction can include being unable to walk properly or unable to perform daily activities for more than 90 days after a car accident.

If your injury does meet the serious injury threshold, you may still be able to pursue damages in court. In most cases, you'll need to establish negligence, which means you'll need to show it's more likely than not: (1) the other driver owed you a duty, (2) breach of duty, (3) actual and proximate causation, and (4) actual damages.

Damages you may be able to recover for serious injuries in a lawsuit include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses can include medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, and out-of-pocket costs. Noneconomic losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment.

Sometimes there are multiple parties at fault for a car accident, including the plaintiff. If the defendant is able to prove your comparative negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, your damages may be reduced by an amount equal to your fault.

Syracuse Attorneys Advocating for Car Accident Victims

After a car accident, you may be concerned about how you'll pay your bills and whether you can take time off to recover from your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident and believe that your injuries may meet the serious injury threshold in Syracuse, you should consult an experienced attorney. It is important that you lawyers understand car accident cases and how insurers will view your particular situation. Our law firm may be able to help you file a lawsuit to recover damages from all potentially responsible parties. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents injured patients in communities including Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, and Lyons. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous." D.L., Cortland, NY
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"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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