A recent New York Court of Appeals ruling has helped clarify what is necessary to prove that a serious injury occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident. This clarification will ultimately help victims of motor vehicle accidents receive fair compensation for serious injuries.
Victims of motor vehicle accidents in New York often feel that they have little recourse for compensation for injuries sustained, beyond the amount insurance companies are required to by law to pay. New York's No-Fault Law states that insurance companies are required to pay out up to $50,000 to seriously injured parties in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Compensation beyond No-Fault "Limit"
Those seriously injured in such a crash do have the right to pursue compensation through the courts to recover expenses for medical care costs related to the crash beyond this limit. Often, serious injuries can result in long-term medical care costs and even result in the victim's inability to work, far exceeding the $50,000 required by law.
In these cases, victims are able to pursue full compensation through the courts. A recent Court of Appeals ruling has clarified what evidence is needed to prove that a motor vehicle accident, in which no driver is found responsible, caused serious injury.
Proving Serious Injury
The court ruled that a "simple visual assessment" by a physician is enough to prove that serious injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident. This rationale rejected the often-used defensive argument that a comprehensive, objective assessment is necessary to prove an accident caused an injury.
The ruling applies to three unrelated cases in which the cause of plaintiffs' injuries were in question, since their doctors failed to provide a "comprehensive quantitative assessment" immediately following the accident, even though injuries were identified and treated. The Court of Appeals judges decided that the plaintiffs were not required by law to obtain a comprehensive quantitative assessment and that their doctors' identification and treatment of the injuries provided enough evidence that a motor vehicle accident caused the injuries.
The ruling clarifies what medical evidence is needed for the courts to make a decision on whether or not a serious injury was caused by a motor vehicle accident, and will help those who have sustained serious injury in a motor vehicle accident for which determining liability is difficult recover their medical expenses, even those which exceed New York's no-fault auto accident limit. If you or a loved one has been the victim of such a crash, please consult an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.