Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lawyer says "Don't Look a Gift Horse in Mouth? or Maybe You Should?"

What the .... ? The old expression don't look a gift horse in the mouth comes from many hundreds of years ago when horses were given as gifts and exchanged regularly. If you were given a "gift" horse then you should not be inspecting it's teeth (as a barometer of it's health or value). You should be grateful for the gift "as is" and expecting nothing more. To look at it (or examine/inspect it) was the act of an ungrateful recipient.

The original latin:

From The Letter to the Ephesians, circa AD 400, which conatins the text 'Noli equi dentes inspicere donati' (Never inspect the teeth of a given horse). 

Which brings me up to today, I recently got a call from a parent whose child was in a car accident. The car was totaled by another driver. The accident was completely, 100% the fault of this other driver. The 


BUT ... The child was never examined, never x-rayed, never evaluated, never checked by any health care provider or practitioner. The child has had no diagnosed injuries, impairments, disabilities, medical bills, or anything relating to this accident. 


The mother was offered $1,000 by the "at fault" person's insurance carrier. This to me is the proverbial gift horse. This is a gift that in my legal opinion has to be EXAMINED and QUESTIONED. This is because the acceptance of the gift has concessions attached to it. 

The Concessions

By signing a release (for the $1,000) this indicates that you are Failing to challenge the at fault driver (and their carrier) for damages. This would concede (give up) the right to pursue any future compensation. The statute of limitations is the time period you have to make a claim. In New York State you have three years to file a lawsuit for personal injuries as a result of a New York based car accident. 

Personal Injuries Require Proof

If you are pursuing a claim for pain and suffering damages in NYS you must first meet the NYS threshold. These are referred to as the "human loss damages" and you must prove them. 


The certain criteria allowing an injury victim to receive pain and suffering money is called the “SERIOUS INJURY” threshold.   Many in NYS call it theBreak 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.

In this case we have a fast cash offer of $1,000 to go away and never come back. It is not based on anything but a hunch and the likelihood that this child may have injuries in the future stemming from this event. In my opinion without getting checked out now, and within (or over) the next few months
this is a BAD IDEA. Don't sell your body or your health cheaply, they are your wealth!

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

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