If you are in any type of motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Any unnecessary delay in treatment may limit your ability to seek damages against other parties responsible for the accident. New York law requires objective evidence of a “serious injury” before an accident-related lawsuit may proceed. The longer you go without seeing a doctor, the less credible any subsequent evidence obtained may be.
Delayed Medical Attention Leads to Dismissal
Here is arecent example. The plaintiff in this case claimed he was injured in a 2012 motor vehicle accident in Queens. The plaintiff testified he did not seek medical treatment immediately after the accident, but rather did so a week later. In his lawsuit against the other driver, the plaintiff said he suffered serious injuries to his neck and back.
Before the Queens Supreme Court, the plaintiff offered expert testimony from a chiropractor who conducted an examination nearly three years after the accident. The expert “performed range of motion testing and found limited ranges of motion in plaintiff's cervical spine and lumbar spine” and concluded this was a result of the 2012 accident. The plaintiff also presented an MRI report prepared by a diagnostic radiologist.
The defense presented its own expert report prepared by a physician who examined the plaintiff approximately three months after the accident. This expert found no evidence of serious injury at that time. A second expert offered by the defense examined the plaintiff more than two years after the accident and found “no limitations of range of motion” in the plaintiff's back. Furthermore, the second defense expert said there was “no ongoing causally related orthopedic or neurological impairment due to the subject accident and there are no restrictions on activities of daily living or work activity.”
Based on all this information, Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert J. McDonald granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint. The judge said the defense presented ample evidence the plaintiff had not suffered a “serious injury,” and the plaintiff failed to offer sufficient evidence in rebuttal. Specifically, the judge noted the plaintiff's failure to seek immediate medical attention after the accident—including an assessment of any limits on his range of motion—made it impossible for him to prove the accident caused the injuries he later claimed. “While a quantitative assessment or numerical assessment of range of motion of injury is not required on an initial or contemporaneous examination,” Judge McDonald explained, “the courts still require a contemporaneous qualitative assessment of injuries from an examination close to the time of the accident.”
Need Legal Advice Following an Accident?
In addition to seeking prompt medical attention following an accident, it is equally important to retain the services of a qualifiedNew York personal injury attorney. Accident litigation is a complex matter in New York. The attorneys at Mahir Nisar Attorney at Law., can assist you with all types of car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian accident cases. Contact our offices today if you would like to speak with an attorney right away.