Should I Sue for My Car Accident in New York?



If you have been injured in a car accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If your injury qualifies as a “serious injury” under New York State Law, you may be able to recover economic damages, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.


Sometimes, injuries may not be so obvious at first. While it is always best to go to the hospital immediately following an accident, you may not discover that you have a permanent physical limitation as a result of the accident until much later. Moreover, even if you had X-rays taken in the Emergency Room, certain injuries won’t be apparent until you have had an MRI or EMG-NCV. Sometimes, a person who was injured in a car accident may not know that they have a permanent injury until after they have undergone significant treatment.


Car accident injuries can range from sprains and strains to broken bones, disc bulges and herniations, torn ligaments, lacerations, brain injuries, and even death. In order to pursue a personal injury action for a car accident in New York State, a plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that they suffered a “serious injury.” What constitutes a “serious” injury is defined by statute. To establish a “serious injury” under the statute, the injured party must show they have suffered from one of the following categories:

  • Death

  • Dismemberment

  • Significant disfigurement

  • Fracture

  • Loss of a fetus

  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system

  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member

  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system

  • 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 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

While fractured bones automatically qualify as serious, soft tissue injuries may also meet the serious injury threshold if they satisfy the last three categories listed above. While they may not appear as serious on the surface as a fractured bone would, you may not know until the completion of weeks or months of physical therapy that you have reached “maximum medical improvement.” Depending on what your job is, or the limitation you suffer, this could be problematic for you physically and economically.


Under New York State No-Fault law, a car accident victim is covered up to $50,000 for basic economic loss resulting from the accident, which can include costs for hospitals, MRIs, X-rays, physical therapy, psychiatric treatment related to the accident, and loss of earnings. However, if your economic damages exceed $50,000, you may be able to recover those additional damages in a lawsuit. In addition, you may be able to recover for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.


If you have been in a car accident, it is best to consult with an attorney immediately as there are strict statutes of limitation that must be adhered to in New York beginning with documentation called a “No-Fault” application that must be provided to the insurance company within thirty days of the accident in order for them to cover the costs of your accident related medical treatment. Other statutes of limitation come into play if a government entity is involved. A personal injury attorney can explain the time frames to you and how they can affect your case.


The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins takes a personalized approach to each and every personal injury case and strives to ensure that clients receive the maximum compensation to which they are entitled. The dedication and attention to every case can leave you rest assured that your legal matter is in good hands so that you can focus on getting better. If you have been in a car accident, or have suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another, call today for a consultation (646) 397-6844 in Manhattan or Melville. Consultations are by appointment only.


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Attorney Advertising.  The content contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor form an attorney-client relationship. (c) 2019 The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins, Jessica M. Semins, Esq.