Can a Fracture Qualify as a “Serious Injury”?

Posted: July 28, 2022

Doctor reviewing an XrayIn most cases New York motorists who have been injured in a car accident can receive compensation for their pain and suffering following a motor vehicle accident only if they can show a “serious injury.” That is, they must meet New York State’s serious injury threshold. Under New York law, a “serious injury” is defined to include “a fracture,” among other “serious injury” categories.    

The following analysis briefly explores to what extent a fracture sustained in a New York motor vehicle accident can qualify as a “serious injury.” 

What Counts as a Fracture? 

A fracture generally includes any full or partial breaking of the bone. This normally includes situations where the bone is broken yet maintains a proper position, making surgery unnecessary for the healing process. This is commonly referred to as a “non-displaced fracture.” This contrasts with a “displaced fracture,” which can happen when the bone breaks into two parts. Fractures can be open or closed. An open fracture (also called a compound fracture) indicates an injury where the bone breaks through the skin. This type of fracture requires immediate medical attention because it poses a risk of infection. A closed fracture (also called a simple fracture) is an injury where the broken bone does not protrude the skin.   

Commonly observed fracture injuries that arise from car accidents include, but are not limited to: arm, leg, hip, back, rib, pelvis, wrist, skull, and collarbone fractures.  

What About Dental Injuries?

Generally speaking, a broken tooth resulting from a car crash fits within New York State’s “fracture” category. Therefore, a dental injury may count as a qualifying serious injury, especially where dental treatment is required.  

What Might Not Count as a Fracture?

In general, neither a tear in cartilage nor a deviated septum constitute a fracture under New York law. While both forms of injury may cause severe pain, they alone do not involve fractured or broken bone.     

Thus, a cartilage tear, a deviated septum, and other similar injuries that do not involve a broken bone may not quality as a “fracture” under New York’s serious injury threshold. That being said, many injuries to ligaments and tendons can potentially qualify under other “serious injury” categories, including the significant limitation of use, permanent consequential limitation of use, and “90/180” categories. An experienced personal injury attorney can help identify whether a person’s injuries, though not qualifying as a fracture, nevertheless qualify under a different serious injury category.  

Broke Bone After a Car Accident? Call William Mattar.

While this summary offers a brief analysis of fractures and how they can qualify as a “serious injury” in New York, every injury is different. If you suffered a fracture from a car accident, an experienced car accident injury attorney at William Mattar, P.C. can evaluate your unique situation and help determine whether you can receive compensation for your injury.  Contact us online or by calling (844) 444-4444.

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