Finally Reform For New Yorkers Who Sustain Personal Injuries In Car Accidents
For decades, the citizens of New York who suffer serious personal injuries in car accidents and truck accidents have been vicitimized by their insurance companies, the insurance company for the other driver and even the Courts. New York car accident lawyers and even the Judges in New York have long complained about the ridiculous standards of the serious injury law.
New York Insurance Law presently requires that to recover any money for personal injuries from a car accident, the injured person must prove they have a serious injury. New York Insurance Law 5102 defines a serious injury as a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
This law has lead to absurd results which has frustrated New York car accident attorneys and truck accident lawyers. For example, a car accident victim who suffered a nondisplaced fracture, which heals within three to six weeks can recover money, but a person who suffered a herniated disc and has pain for the rest of their lives is not entitled to anything. The Courts have even been dismissing cases where car accident victims have had surgery because they didn’t fit into one of these categories.
The New York legislature initially passed this law on the basis that people injured in car accidents would get no fault benefits, which is lost wages and payment of medical bills without regard to fault. However, this system has proven to be rampant with abuse and fraud with insurance companies cutting people off from treatment, even though they are injured and in need of treatment. As a result New York car accident victims got a raw deal.
Finally New York may get the reform that is long over due in Assembly Bill A10739, which was sponsored by Assemblymen Titone and co-sponsored by Assemblymen (and women) Lavine, Quinn, Ortiz, Spano, Rosenthal, Benedetto, Stirpe, Rivera J, Weprin D, Maisel, Schroeder, Cymbrowitz, Peoples-Stokes, Paulin, Lancman, Millman, Markey, Kellner, Dinowitz, Castro, Meng, O’Donnell, Colton, Schimel, Scarborough, Zebrowski, Robinson, Jeffries, John, Aubry and Koon.
This proposed law adds categories of injuries to the definition of serious injury, which car accident lawyers, judges and doctors have always considered to be serious. Unfortunately, the Courts, especially the intermediate appellate courts have overlystringently applied the serious injury law to exclude injuries, which are serious, but don’t fit squarely into artificial tests created by the Courts.
The new law would define serious injury as a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; a partial or complete tear or impingment of a nerve, tendon, ligament, muscle or cartilage, injury to any part of the spinal column that results in injury to an intervertebral disc, impingment of the spinal cord, spinal canal or nerve, tendon or muscle, loss of a fetus; permanent total or partial loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; a surgical procedure to any injured part of the body, any other permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member, function or system and any other significant limitation of use of a body organ, member, function or system; or any other medically determined injury or impairment of a permanent or non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
New York car accident lawyers and New York truck accident lawyers need to support this bill and urge their clients to support this bill, as it is truly needed. The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph PLLC applauds the sponsors of this bill as finally addressing a needed reform.