New York Motor Vehicle Accidents and the Law
The White Plains personal injury attorneys at Worby Vecchio Edelman practice in the field of Plaintiff’s personal injury. While we represent people injured in any type of accident, motor vehicle accidents comprise a significant portion of our practice. Since many of our clients are surprised to hear about some of the specific rules involving New York motor vehicle accidents, we wanted to provide a primer on this area of the law.
What Does “No Fault” Mean?
New York is a No Fault state. In its simplest form, No Fault means two things. First, it means that your own insurance company will pay accident related medical bills, and in some cases, partial lost earnings for you and any passenger, regardless of fault. Even if you are completely without blame for the accident, your own carrier pays. Second, since your medical bills are already covered, you cannot sue the owner or drive of the other vehicle for those bills. In addition, in order to sue that owner or driver for non-economic loss – pain and suffering – you have to prove that you have sustained a “Serious Injury” as a result of that accident.
The term “Serious Injury” is defined in the Insurance Law, and there are several definitions, nine in all. Some definitions are easy to prove, such as “death”, or “fracture”. Others, such as a “significant limitation of use of a body function or system”, are much harder to prove. The question of whether someone has or has not sustained a Serious Injury has confounded many a New York practitioner, and many a New York Judge.
If you suffer a fracture as a result of an automobile accident, you have automatically suffered a “Serious Injury”. That fracture can be a fracture to the tip of your pinky – which is not a major injury at all – or a compound fracture of an extremity, which requires surgical intervention, which depending upon the exact circumstances, can be a devastating injury. So, a fracture injury is easy to prove.
But what about multiple disc herniations which require fusion surgery? Or, a torn rotator cuff, or SLAP tear, which also requires surgery? Or, finally, a tear of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which also requires surgery? Actually, those injuries are often much more painful, and have more far-reaching consequences than a fracture injury, and yet, the injuries mentioned in this paragraph do not automatically, and by definition, qualify as a “Serious Injury”. Speaking of pain, pain itself is not an injury. Rather, pain is a symptom of an injury. The fact that you are in pain can certainly mean that you have suffered a Serious Injury, but the proof has to be developed, and your attorney has to have the knowledge and expertise to do so.
Get an Expert Opinion
The area of motor vehicle accident law can be a complicated area in which to practice. The White Plains accident attorneys at Worby Vecchio Edelman have decades of experience in proving “Serious Injury” cases, so call us for a free consultation. We can tell you when it is likely that we can prove Serious Injury, and we can tell you when it is unlikely that we can prove Serious Injury. We’ll give you our expert opinion based upon your medical records, and medical reports from your doctor. Make sure that the law firm that you choose is able to navigate its way through the New York No Fault Law. No one can change the facts of your case, but we can make sure that the best legal arguments are used within the confines of your case to achieve the best result possible.
Accidents occur every day, and the insurance companies that will defend your case have experienced attorneys on their side. Make sure you do the same. Contact the law firm of Worby Vecchio Edelman, and we’ll take the time to review your case in detail. There’s no obligation, and we work on contingency, so there’s never a fee unless we recover money for you.