September 15, 2023
The impact of a car crash can cause immense force to be transferred suddenly and violently into the bodies of the vehicle’s driver and occupants. Energy released in a crash, such as a rear-ender or T-bone collision, can reverberate through their bodies and cause permanent injury to the bones, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue, including cartilage. Injuries can range from temporary muscle strain to catastrophic death.
A New York personal injury lawyer should have experience helping injured motorists who have sustained a range of injuries. Those seeking to recover for pain and suffering after a New York car crash must generally show a “serious injury,” and the way an accident victim can demonstrate a serious injury will generally depend on the nature of the injuries sustained.
For example, one category of serious injury is a “fracture.” A causally related fracture of any kind—whether it is of a finger, or a long bone in the leg—is a qualifying serious injury, entitling the injured person to assert a claim for pain and suffering.
A fracture often requires stabilization over time to facilitate healing and can seriously impair someone’s ability to go about their daily affairs. Sometimes a fracture will require surgery to ensure that the healing process goes according to plan. The amount of damages will generally hinge on the extent to which the fracture and healing process caused pain, emotional anguish, and interfered with activities of daily living.
Another injury commonly seen after a New York car crash is a whiplash injury to the neck. This form of “soft tissue” injury results from the sudden flexion and extension motion of the neck, which can occur during a rear-end collision. Sometimes the seat headrest can act as a fulcrum, increasing the amount of force that is transferred through the neck. This sort of injury can result in a herniated or bulging disc between the intervertebral disks in the neck, also known as the cervical spine. It can also potentially result in a straining or spraining of the ligaments that keep vertebrae properly aligned.
Unlike a fracture, a whiplash injury may not be immediately identifiable in a plain film X-ray. More advanced imaging, such as an MRI, may be necessary to identify soft tissue changes. A whiplash injury can be insidious, sometimes lasting for years, and occasionally even requiring surgery. Whiplash injuries, when they qualify as a “serious injury,” often do so under the “90/180”, significant limitation of use, or consequential limitation of use categories.
An experienced attorney can explain what New York courts require to prove a serious injury under these categories. Courts have largely held that proof of a herniation alone is not enough to prove a serious injury; there must also be some evidence as to how the herniation affected daily life.
Emotional or Psychological Injuries
Another form of injury that can result from a car crash is of the emotional or psychological kind. A motor vehicle crash can have a devastating effect on someone’s mental wellbeing. It is not uncommon for crash victims to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with or without accompanying physical injury. In fact, New York courts have expressly held that PTSD alone or combination with a physical injury can qualify as a serious injury.
This entry has briefly summarized three different types of injuries that can result after a New York car crash. If you were injured in a New York car crash, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at William Mattar, PC. They have the knowledge and experience to review your medical records and advocate on your behalf to receive maximum compensation.