Monday, January 16, 2012

The "Quid Pro Quo" of New York No Fault Car Accidents

The Quid Pro Quo of New York No-Fault Law

I remember from the movie Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter (the serial killer) whispers to  Clarice (the Federal Agent), “quid pro quo, quid pro quo” you have to give me something, and then I’ll give you something. In other words, nothing is for nothing, there is always a trade off of sorts. Anyone that has been around long enough learns that life is always a two way street. 


So, if you’re injured in a car or truck accident in the Finger Lakes area, whether it be Ithaca, Cortland, or Binghamton. If you own a vehicle that is insured, you are covered under New York’s PIP/ No-Fault law. That's all well and good, but collecting for pain and suffering (damages) is NOT automatic. There is a big trade off of sorts. Some may even call it a deal with the devil. 

Automobile No-Fault law (and how it works) is strange and difficult for many people to understand.  This is the down and dirty of how it works.  

In the 1970s, the New York legislature, we all know what they were doing in the 1960s before they became politicians, decided to revamp the law.  They had this wonderful idea that anybody (and everybody) involved in a car accident should be get medical care and payment for their lost wages.  


NOW... the BIG TRADE-OFF for getting their medical bills and lost wages paid, these accident victims had to give up their right to receive money for PAIN & SUFFERING (human losses) unless they proved certain (specific) things.  Thus, we have the QUID-PRO-QUO – THIS FOR THAT. 

New York says that a person injured in a motor vehicle accident can receive medical care but for that they are giving up their right to receive money for pain & suffering unless they meet certain criteria. 


The certain criteria allowing an injury victim to receive pain & suffering money is called the “SERIOUS INJURY” threshold.   Many in NYS call it the Break or Bruise law. IF You have a break your'e in (you collect) BUT IF you got a bruise (you don't collect). In order to meet the SERIOUS INJURY threshold, the injured person has to show (to prove) one of the following:

  1. ·      A personal injury that results in death;
  2. ·      Dismemberment;
  3. ·      significant disfigurement;
  4. ·      A fracture;
  5. ·      The loss of a fetus;
  6. ·      Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
  7. ·      Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
  8. ·      Significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
  9. ·      A medically 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.

The optimistic motive of the legislature in the 1970s has developed into a complicated personal injury system.  New York personal injury cases can be confusing and are unfortunately wrought with many pitfalls for the injured.  If you have any questions about your car or truck accident, this is what I do, and I can answer your questions.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850