In order for New York car accident victims to file for damages beyond their no-fault benefits, they must prove they have met the serious injury threshold. One of the serious injury categories under the New York No-Fault law, is the catch-all 90/180 day rule. This rule allows victims to pursue a lawsuit when they have suffered:
“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 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.” (New York Insurance Laws section 5102(d))
Basically, if the accident injury you have sustained has impacted your life but doesn’t fall within one of the other eight serious injury categories, then you still may be able to claim damages. However, the injury must have prevented you from doing regular activities, such as working, leaving the home, cleaning, cooking, etc., for at least 90 days out of the first 180 days after the accident.
Victims must be able to present medical evidence that they were unable to live normally following their car accident for at least three out of the first six months. This will include:
Since the emphasis is placed on the time immediately following the accident, any gap in treatment can be detrimental to a claim. Additionally, following a medical provider’s instructions and continuing ongoing care as directed will be of the utmost importance.
Victims commonly claim they have met the serious injury threshold under New York’s 90/180 day rule when suffering from soft-tissue injuries. These often include the following:
Successful lawsuits may result in a financial award that can compensate the claimant for medical bills and ongoing care, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress.
New York’s serious injury threshold can be difficult to understand. Even if you believe that you do not have an injury that qualifies, you may be incorrect. Due to the law’s complexity it is worth having a car accident lawyer review your case. It is also critical that procedural and filing requirements are handled correctly. Victims only have one opportunity to seek compensation, and if a deadline is missed or an injury is not properly documented, the right to damages can be lost forever.
A lawyer can handle this for you, in addition to communicating with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurer will likely make it an issue of whether your injury qualifies, which is why a strong case must be built on your behalf. While you recover, a lawyer will gather documentation, information from witnesses, investigate the scene and take photographs, hire experts, and obtain your medical treatment records. You will also be represented in negotiations with the insurer, ensuring that you secure the maximum possible compensation.
For more information regarding the 90/180 day rule and to have your case evaluated for free, contact the NYC car accident lawyers at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. Complete our online contact form or call (212) 732-9000.