SUPREME COURT: BRONX COUNTY – COMPLAINT DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO ESTABLISH “SERIOUS INJURY”
In a venue renowned as being plaintiff friendly, Sobel Pevzner, LLC, successfully moved to dismiss the personal injury action brought by two plaintiffs for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident. As the firm’s client had been driving the vehicle that rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle, the underlying liability was adverse. As such, the firm geared its defense and all discovery toward an eventual motion for summary judgment on the “no-fault threshold.”
In New York State, the law has long been settled that in order to recover for personal injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, the plaintiff must establish that the injuries were “serious” or that they suffered “economic loss greater than basic economic loss” both of which are defined in the New York State Insurance Law Section 5102. In the instant case, the plaintiffs presented claims solely under the “serious” injury standard. To qualify, the statute states in pertinent part that a “serious injury” must fit into one of the following nine categories:
(1) death; (2) dismemberment; (3) significant disfigurement; (4) a fracture; (5) loss of 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; & (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 activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
The firm presented evidence derived from the plaintiffs’ own medical records and supported the motion for summary judgment with reports and affidavits from the physicians who conducted the independent medical evaluations. In dismissing the Complaint, the Hon. Sharon A.M. Aarons held that the plaintiffs failed to establish a “serious injury” pursuant to New York State Insurance Law Sections 5102(d)(7)(8) or (9). By its ruling, the Court agreed with defense counsel, Sobel Pevzner, LLC and prevented this case from being considered by a Bronx County jury.