Issues of Fact Precluded an award of Summary Judgment to Defendants in New York Car Accident Case
Have you been in an accident, injured - don't rely on a TV infomercial, call a lawyer. A great deal of negligence cases in New York are the result of car accidents. Although some car accidents do not result in any injury, after certain criteria are met (insurance law) the injury may be considered a serious injury pursuant to New York law. Here, the car accident allegedly resulted in serious injuries to such areas as the neck and back of both Plaintiffs. That issue, whether there is a serious injury, is usually determined by expert testimony, doctors who examine the injured parties. Here, "Plaintiffs assert that they sustained a serious injury as defined in Insurance Law §5102(d) in that they each sustained a permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; a significant limitation of use of a body function or system; and a medically determined injury or impairment of a nonpermanent nature which prevented plaintiffs from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute their 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." Pp. 2.
On a motion for summary judgment, where the issue is whether the plaintiff has sustained a serious injury under the no-fault law, the defendant bears the initial burden of presenting competent evidence that there is no cause of action (Wadford v. Gruz, 35 AD3d 258 [1st Dept. 2006]). "[A] defendant can establish that a plaintiff's injuries are not serious within the meaning of Insurance Law §5102 (d) by submitting the affidavits or affirmations of medical experts who examined the plaintiff and conclude that no objective medical findings support the plaintiff's claim" (Grossman v. Wright, 268 AD2d 79 [1st Dept. 2000]). Whether a plaintiff has sustained a serious injury is initially a question of law for the Court (Licari v. Elliott, 57 NY2d 230 ).
Where defendants' motion for summary judgment properly raises an issue as to whether a serious injury has been sustained, it is incumbent upon the plaintiff to produce evidentiary proof in admissible form in support of his or her allegations. The burden, in other words, shifts to the plaintiff to come forward with sufficient evidence to demonstrate the existence of an issue of fact as to whether he or she suffered a serious injury (see Gaddy v. Eyler, 79 NY2d 955 ; Zuckerman v. City of New York, 49 NY2d 557; Grossman v. Wright, 268 AD2d 79 [2d Dept 2000]).
The New York Serious Injury threshold is a controlling factor for whether this case can go to trial. For clients, whether you suffer a serious injury is the crux of a New York automotive suit. Here, the "Court finds that plaintiffs raised triable issues of fact by submitting the affirmed medical reports attesting to the fact that each plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the subject accident, finding that each plaintiff had significant limitations in ranges of motion both contemporaneous to the accident and in recent examinations, and concluding that their limitations are permanent and causally related to the accident." This case highlights the importance of acting quickly and getting appropriate medical care to address injuries and establish that you had a serious injury pursuant to New York law.
Your 1-800 number lawyer probably won't explain this to you - If you were the subject of an injury or an accident, call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris.
Hart v. Fnu Kaiwan-Ullah, 15843/2014, NYLJ 1202756840782, at *1 (Sup., QU, Decided April 27, 2016)
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