New legislation would expand the list of injuries that allows accident victims to recover monetary compensation under New York's no-fault law. Current law in New York requires that persons injured in a motor vehicle accident prove that they have sustained a "serious injury", such as a fractured bone or disfigurement, in order to recover compensation for non-economic damages, also known as "pain and suffering".
The new law under consideration by the New York legislature would widen the list to cover additional injuries, such as an injury that requires an operation of any form. The insurance industry claims that the new legislation will increase new payouts by as much as $2 billion and increase the average auto insurance bill from $40 to $101 per year. THIS IS NONSENSE.
New York's no-fault law limits the rights of injured victims by defining a "serious injury" in terms that no jury can possibly understand (with the exception of death, dismemberment or fractures). The current law cannot be comprehended by lawyers or any jury for that matter. What constitutes a "significant limitation of use or function of a body system" is capable of many different interpretations, few of which make sense. This is way jury verdicts are often inconsistent in motor vehicle cases having the same injuries.
I applaud the efforts of the NYS Legislature to address the confusion and ambiguity of New York's definition of "serious injury", and I hope drastic changes are made.