Getting involved in a severe car collision often leaves people unable to work or pay their bills. In most cases, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation for your injuries. Unfortunately, though, if your accident took place in a no-fault insurance state, you have very limited options for receiving compensation.
The term “serious injury threshold” is commonly used in no-fault insurance states. This rule essentially means that if you do not have a severe enough injury, then you are unable to file a personal injury lawsuit and, therefore, will likely not be compensated for your damages. We will go over the basics of the serious injury threshold, how you can break it and why having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side increases your chances of being fairly compensated.
What Counts as a Serious Injury Is Not Always Clear
The first thing to understand about the serious injury threshold is that it can be interpreted in different ways by different insurance companies. What one company might consider being a serious injury, another company might not. This makes it difficult to know for sure whether or not you will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
There are a few injuries that are almost always considered to be serious, such as loss of a limb, paralysis, or brain damage. But what about other injuries that might not be as severe? In some cases, these types of injuries can still be considered serious if they result in a certain amount of financial loss. For example, if you are unable to work for an extended period of time due to your injuries, this could be considered a serious injury.
No-Fault States and Serious Injury Thresholds
In order to better understand the serious injury threshold, you first need to understand how no-fault car accident insurance states work. No-fault insurance states require all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage provides compensation regardless of who is at fault for the accident. So, if you are involved in a car accident, your PIP coverage will kick in and help pay for your medical bills and lost wages up to your policy limit.
There are currently 12 no-fault car accident insurance states: Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Most no-fault car accident states have a serious injury threshold, which essentially means that your injuries must meet certain criteria to be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The specific details of the serious injury threshold vary from state to state, but there are generally three ways to overcome the threshold and be able to file a personal injury claim:
- Proving that injuries resulted in death,
- Proving that your injuries resulted in serious and permanent disfigurement or deformity, or,
- Proving that your injuries resulted in significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
If you can meet one of the above criteria, then you will likely be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, even if you do not meet the strict definition of a serious injury, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim if your injuries are severe enough.
For example, some states have what is known as the “severe economic losses” rule. This rule states that even if your injuries do not meet the definition of a serious injury, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim if your injuries have resulted in severe economic losses. These economic losses can include things like lost wages, loss of future earnings, and medical bills.
It is important to note that each state has different rules regarding the serious injury threshold and how it applies to personal injury claims. This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your state.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been involved in a no-fault car accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Your lawyer will be able to review your case and determine if you meet the serious injury threshold in your state. If you do not meet the threshold, your lawyer will still be able to investigate your case and determine if there are any other grounds on which you may be able to file a personal injury claim.
Contact Napoli Shkolnik For Experienced Car Accident Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible. At Napoli Shkolnik, our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help you understand your rights and options. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.