Motorist Injured in Car Accident Entitled to Jury Trial Based on Reduced Spinal/Knee Range of Motion
On June 15, 2017 a New York County Supreme Court Justice upheld the right of a car accident victim to proceed to a jury trial. The plaintiff was driving a car that was rear ended by the defendant's vehicle and claimed he suffered serious and permanent injuries to his back, neck and knee. The defendant moved to dismiss the case with an orthopedic expert's affidavit arguing that his exam of the plaintiff's neck, back and knee ranges of motion were all normal. Typically, a loss of range of motion of less than than 20% is considered insignificant and those car accident victims (who have not suffered any fractures) wind up having their case dismissed without a jury trial.
The defense pointed out that the plaintiff returned to full duty at work within 2 weeks of the accident and thus could not have suffered a serious and permanent injury justifying a jury trial. The Court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss for two reasons: 1) the MRI's reports of the spine were all positive for herniated discs and bulging; and, 2) plaintiff's orthopedist had documented a 40-50% loss of range of motion in the spine and a 23% loss in the knee. Ramos v Keenan, 159641/2013