February 14, 2015 • Personal Injury FAQs
You are involved in a car accident and you know the other driver was careless. You know that the other driver’s carelessness has caused you injuries. However, your injuries are not that bad. Can you still bring a lawsuit if your injuries are not serious?
The Threshold Law
The answer is maybe. Here is the problem. When you go ahead and bring a lawsuit in New York, involving a car accident, you have to show that you have suffered a certain level of injury. This is known as the Threshold Law. You should be able to show that your injuries are significant enough to get over that initial hurdle, in order to go forward with a valid basis for a case.
Hence, even though, you believe that someone else was careless or negligent, and that carelessness caused your injuries, the question remains, what type of injuries did you suffer. How significant or how disabling are your injuries? Are your injuries serious enough to prevent you from doing your daily activities? Are your injuries going to affect your health into the future? If not, then you face a significant amount of challenge in bringing a personal injury lawsuit in the state of New York.
The Initial Hurdle in Filing a Lawsuit
If you cannot get over that initial hurdle to show that you have a significant type of injury, the law will prevent you from filing a lawsuit. Hence, what type of injury would constitute a serious or significant injury in the State of New York? For example, a fracture or broken bone is considered a serious injury, scarring on your face is considered a serious injury, if you have to undergo surgery then the injury is considered significant, and there are many other variations of what is considered serious injuries.
Let us now see, what not a serious injury is. A bad bruise, a strain, a sprain are all not considered serious injuries. However, there are certain exceptions, if these types of injuries have now restricted you or prevented you from doing your daily activities for a certain period of time. If the injury has limited your mobility in doing your daily activity then it can be a strong point for filing the case.
Hence, even if the other driver was careless, and there was clearly a wrongdoing because of which you suffered injuries, the main question you need to ask is what type of injury have you suffered? Are your injuries significant, and are they serious injuries in the way the law defines them.
The law considers certain injuries significant, but even the ones that are not considered significant can be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, if the injury has restricted the person’s capacity or mobility to do his daily activities. Hence, the effect the injury has upon the person is also significant. For instance, a sprain can be considered a minor injury, but if it prevents the person from attending his job and doing his normal activities for a period, then it is considered a significant injury.