Most car accidents in New York are covered by the state's “no-fault” laws, which require your insurer to pay for any medical expenses and economic losses you incur without regard for who was responsible for the accident. Only in cases of “serious injury” can you sue a negligent driver for economic damages that exceed your no-fault limits as well as any non-economic damages for pain and suffering. And under New York law, a “serious injury” is one that “prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person's usual and customary daily activities” for at least 90 of the 180 days following the accident.
Judge Dismisses NYPD Officer's Lawsuit
The 90/180 rule is often the key to winning or losing a personal injury claim. For example, in one recent case a Manhattan judge dismissed a lawsuit brought following an accident because the victim failed to meet the statutory requirements. The plaintiff, a New York City police officer, was driving his car on the George Washington Bridge when it made contact with the defendant's vehicle. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant, alleging he suffered serious injuries as a result of the defendant's negligence.
The defendant pointed to the fact the plaintiff returned to work just two days after the accident as proof he did not suffer a serious injury. Typically, New York courts consider returning to work within 90 days of an accident as proof that a plaintiff is not “seriously injured” under the 90/180 rule. Here, the plaintiff was able to work, although he noted he was on “desk duty” rather than the patrol he was assigned to before the accident.
The judge did not consider this modified duty sufficient to support a serious injury claim. While there are cases where a person may meet the 90/180 requirement even after returning to work, the judge said the plaintiff still had to provide some evidence that he was unable to perform his “usual and customary daily activities.” The plaintiff failed to do so here, and the judge was compelled to grant summary judgment to the defendant.
Get Advice from a Long Island Personal Injury Lawyer
The 90/180 rule is not just about a person's ability to work. It also covers the ability to perform other daily activities, such as household chores and recreational activities. This is why it is important to document any changes or restrictions to your daily routine following a car accident. This information may prove invaluable in demonstrating the existence of a “serious injury” to a judge.It is also imperative that you speak with a qualified New York personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. While no attorney can guarantee a favorable outcome, he can advise you on any potential lawsuit and help ensure your claim meets the requirements of New York law. Contact the offices of Nisar & Mason, P.C. today if you need to speak with someone about your case.