When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, New York is one of a dozen states that follow a “no-fault” system when it comes to automobile accidents. The system holds that a driver injured in an accident must turn to his or her own insurance company for the payment of medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. In order for an injured individual to bring a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, there must be proof that you met the “serious injury” threshold as required by statute.
The “serious injury” threshold requires an individual to suffer a significant disfigurement, bone fracture, permanent limitation of use or body organ or member, significant limitation of body function or system, or substantially full disability for 90 days as a result of the accident. Once successfully proving a claim of a serious injury, an individual may recover pain and suffering along with other non-economic damages.
When a motor vehicle accident results in back, neck, and spine injuries, the injury may fit into one or more of the above categories of a “serious injury.” In meeting one of the categories, there are several elements an individual will need to prove. First, there must be proof that the traumatic event occurred and it is consistent with the subsequent symptoms the individual is claiming. Next, there must be a proof of the subsequent symptoms which is often proven through physical examinations, neurological examinations, or x-rays and other objective evidence. After the examinations, there must be a diagnosis by a qualified medical practitioner. An injured party will also likely have to prove a course of treatment and how effective the treatment is. Most importantly, there should be an expert opinion regarding causation between the accident and the symptoms that the individual is facing.
When it comes to damages, the injured individual has the right to elicit compensation for different injuries they sustained. The individual has a right to claim all necessary and reasonable medical expenses. Included in medical expenses would be any actual past expenses including hospital, nursing, and medicines. In addition, the injured party can collect any anticipated future expenses. Furthermore, the injured party has the right to collect their loss of past and future earnings. These include actual wages lost, a loss of vocational skills, and loss of capacity to earn future or increased wages. Pain and suffering, and litigation fees and costs are also often claimed after successfully proving a claim of “serious injury.”
Gathering all the necessary medical information in preparation of a personal injury claim resulting from a motor vehicle can be daunting. If you or a loved one have suffered a back, neck or spine injury in a motor vehicle accident as a result of a driver's negligent actions, contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney in handling these matters. Get the experienced Brooklyn, New York car accident attorneys of Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC on your side to vigorously defend your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact (718) 238-2400 to schedule a consultation with our car accident lawyers today.