Does an Injury Need to Be Permanent to Claim Pain and Suffering?

Posted: July 15, 2022

man in wheelchair entering handicap accessible vanMotorists and pedestrians injured in New York motor vehicle accidents may request compensation for injury-related expenses, including pain and suffering. Generally speaking, In New York an injured motorist can make a claim for pain and suffering only if they sustained a “serious injury.” That is, barring some exceptions, they must meet New York’s serious injury threshold 

Do injuries have to be permanent to meet the serious injury threshold?   

Under Which Category Does the Injury Fall?

To pierce New York’s serious injury threshold, the injury must satisfy the criteria of at least one of the specifically enumerated categories. Three categories often invoked in bodily injury claims arising from injuries to soft tissue, including tendons, ligaments, and intervertebral discs, include the permanent consequential limitation of use, significant limitation of use, and “90/180” categories. These categories read 

  • permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; 
  • significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a 
  • a If I wanIf  determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment (this is the “90/180” category). 

Courts have held that the injury does not need to be permanent in order to qualify under the significant limitation of use category. Rather, the injured person must generally show, among other things, that limitations caused by the injury are “significant” or “consequential.”  

While the significant limitation of use category does not require proof of permanency, courts have held that the category does require proof that limitations imposed by the injury extend over some period of time.   

The permanent consequential limitation of use category, however, does require an additional showing of permanency. While it, too, requires that the injury pose a consequential limitation, the category also requires that the injury be permanent. Thus, courts have held that this category requires competent proof of permanency.  

Meanwhile, the “90/180” category requires evidence that the injury was “non-permanent.” Someone’s injuries can qualify under the permanent consequential limitation of use and “90/180” categories if medical evidence establishes that some injuries are permanent and some injuries are nonpermanent.  

Evidence like medical records or a healthcare provider’s testimony may help determine the nature and extent of a person’s injury. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can help gather and assess evidence to help injured New York motorists establish that their injuries qualify as a “serious injury,” entitling them to compensation for pain and suffering, regardless of whether the injury is permanent or not.  

Call William Mattar About Your Car Accident Injury

Whether or not your injury is permanent, the car accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. are happy to help you get the maximum available compensation for your bodily injury claim.  Contact us online or call (844) 444-4444 today.

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