No one wants to hear the words “serious injury,” especially when they are connected to a loved one. Not only do these words conjure profound and often scary images in our minds, but lead us to wonder what will happen next. Will my loved one be able to walk to work? What about feed and toilet themselves? Legally speaking, the term “serious injury” does not necessarily mean that a person will be unable to function in the ways they did before being injured. The State of New York maintains that legal action can be pursued if the injuries incurred fall within the State’s Serious Injury Threshold.
New York State’s Serious Injury Threshold Defined
To determine whether or not the injuries you or a loved one are facing meet New York State’s criteria for Serious Injury Threshold, they must fall within, or be, any one of the following:
● Significant Disfigurement
Factors that affect “significant disfigurement” are not only physical or medical. The law takes into account not only the diagnostics of disfigurement but how a reasonable person might react or respond if they were to see these injuries in themselves or another.
● Broken Bones
Skull fractures as well as broken vertebrae, arms, legs, ribs, and jaw are some of the most common results of a legally defined personal injury.
● Loss of an Organ, Limb, or Body Part
This includes not only the actual loss, for example, of an arm, leg, kidney, or digit, but the long term inability of a body part or system to function as it typically does in a healthy person.
● Wrongful Death
Wrongful deaths fall under the rubric of personal injury, as they are the result of another person’s negligence or willful intent to cause harm.
● Loss of a Fetus
Though the loss of a fetus may also fall under “wrongful death,” it also stands as an independent category. If an accident can be definitively proven to be the cause of fetal death or the reason the fetus died shortly after delivery, it may be considered a loss due to personal injury.
● Permanent Disabilities
This includes the inability to function in ways the victim was able before the accident, or at all.
● Inability to Successfully Perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) for 90 or more days post injury
This speaks to disabilities that severely compromise one’s ability to feed, ambulate, and toilet themselves. A victim’s resultant dependence on others to complete these tasks is included in this category.
How Do You Know if Your Injuries Meet New York State’s Serious Injury Threshold
You alone cannot decide whether or not you meet the regulations set forth by New York State’s Serious Threshold Injury law. Even if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident in which a permanent disability, loss of a limb or fetus, fractured bones, impaired quality of life, or death have occurred, you must be evaluated by both medical and legal professionals who understand and are well versed in personal injury law.
A personal injury lawyer in New York City, such as the highly qualified and sensitive team at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP can determine if you do meet legal and diagnostic criteria. Also, they can help you successfully file a personal injury claim, verify and support how your injuries fall under the Serious Injury Threshold guidelines, and help you navigate what is sure to be a traumatic and challenging time in your life.