This is Part 16 in our NYC personal injury video series: “If I was injured in an accident, do I automatically have a case?”
In New York we have what’s called no-fault. What that means is everybody who is in any car accident, regardless of fault, gets their medical bills paid for, any lost wages paid for, and up to $25 per day for cabs to doctors and/or household help. Everybody gets that no matter what. If an accident is your fault, you’re still going to get your no-fault paid for. No-fault insurance goes with the car that you’re in. If you’re a pedestrian and you’re struck by a car then it’s going to be the car that hits you. That’s the no-fault insurance.
The second level of that is can you bring a lawsuit? You may want to know that. Yes, you can get your medicals paid no matter what, but can you bring a lawsuit? That depends on whether or not you have a serious injury. In New York a serious injury is defined by a statute. It can be a fracture, it can be severe scarring, it can be a permanent injury, or loss of use of a body part. What that really means, in lay terms, is a positive result on an MRI, and continuous treatment, and a doctor saying that you have a permanent limitation or loss of use of a body party. That could be the neck, it could be the back, it could be the shoulder.
What we have to do is wait to see if you’re going to have your medical treatment; you’re hurt and you’re going to get medical treatment. After that we’re going to take a look at those medical records and we’re going to see if, in fact, you have a serious injury, and then we can bring a lawsuit.