Physical restrictions due to injury
With very few exceptions, lawyers and judges are not doctors and therefore cannot determine based on a medical report or MRI or X-Ray whether and to what extent someone has sustained a traumatic injury. What they can do is set standards for what a medical record must contain in order to be sufficient proof of an injury. The court system and legislature have set these standards as a way of sifting through the thousands and thousands of cases to determine which ones constitute a “serious injury” and which ones do not. Only serious injury cases are compensable. “Serious Injury” is a term of art and is defined by the Insurance Law and interpreted by the courts in volumes of case law. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes a legitimate case will be thrown out for technical reasons. Often in motor vehicle accidents, the range of motion (ROM) in an injured body part is measured and compared to what is considered “normal” for someone of the same age, weight, and height. The courts have used range of motion extensively to determine whether a particular injury is sufficiently serious to justify a lawsuit. Range of motion is a numerical measurement which is straightforward and easy to understand, which is why it is favored by the courts. Range of motion testing, particularly where the testing shows that range of motion is restricted, is strong evidence of an injury, well beyond a plaintiff or physician simply stating that there is an injury. The courts are familiar with range of motion testing and have established standards for what the testing must show. If the standards that the Courts apply are not met, a case can be dismissed as a matter of law, without the plaintiff ever getting to present their case to a jury of their peers. Your attorneys are familiar with these standards and can determine from your medical records whether the court is likely to give credit to the medical reports or if the court will find them insufficient. Your attorneys’ guidance on this is often the difference between recovering damages for your pain and suffering or getting thrown out of court without getting anything.