Proving Injuries Caused In Motor Vehicle Accidents.

June 13, 2013

Because New York State is a “No Fault” insurance state, all Buffalo personal injury attorneys must prove that a motor vehicle accident caused a “serious injury” before recovering damages.  There are several different categories of serious injury.  Two of these categories – “permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member” and “significant limitation of use of a body function or system” – require special proof regarding the degree of injury.

What injuries fall into these two categories is a highly disputed area of personal injury law.  Generally, the Court of Appeals – the highest court in New York State – has ruled that proof a significant limitation or permanent consequential limitation requires (1) objective medical evidence and (2) an assessment of the degree of limitation.  A permanent consequential limitation has the obvious additional need to prove permanency.

“Objective medical evidence” may include medical tests such as x-rays, MRI examinations, etc., that reveal an injury. This is required to weed out cases based solely on an injured person’s claims of pain or limitations without any proof of actual injury.

The degree of limitation may be assessed either quantitatively or qualitatively. Quantitative assessments are measurements taken by a medical provider comparing the current function of the injured body part to normal function – such as measuring a loss of motion in an injured person’s neck or back.

A qualitative assessment is a medical provider’s comparison of the injured person’s post-accident abilities compared to his or her normal abilities.  It may include such things as a decreased ability to lift heavy objects or the inability to perform normal household chores.

If you have suffered a personal injury in an auto accident and have any questions, we would be happy to help you.  Please call us at 716-400-0000.