Car accidents happen every single day in the U.S., and they leave accident victims with a lot to deal with. They have to assess the damage to their car, exchange insurance information, give statements to the police, and possibly seek medical treatment for their injuries.
In New York, accident victims have to file a claim with their own personal no-fault car insurance company so that they can receive coverage. But what is no-fault insurance, and how does it work? In this article, we’ll take you through New York state no-fault laws, as well as the no-fault benefits drivers can receive after being involved in a collision, regardless of who caused the accident.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious or fatal car crash, the Albany car accident lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck are here to help. With over 40 years of experience filing personal injury claims in New York, you can rest easy knowing your case is in experienced hands. Call us at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation regarding your accident case.
At Fault States vs. No-Fault States
Understanding no-fault car insurance can be tricky, so let’s break it down. All drivers in America are required to be insured in one way or another. When someone is in a car accident in an “at-fault” state, the person who is responsible for the accident has to pay for any property damage and medical expenses the accident caused through their own insurance. The people who were not at fault for the accident would file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to receive compensation.
In some states, however, drivers are required to have what is called ‘no-fault” insurance. This means that they must obtain a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) in order to drive. This no-fault coverage will pay for the policyholder’s medical expenses in the event that they are in an accident, regardless of whether or not they caused the crash.
Is New York a No-Fault State?
Yes, New York is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that if you are a driver and you live in New York, you are required to have PIP insurance. While some states make it optional for drivers to obtain no-fault car insurance, New York no-fault law requires all motorists to acquire it.
Benefits of a No-Fault Insurance Claim
New York’s no-fault benefits cover a lot of different medical expenses, depending on what the policyholder needs after their accident. No-fault insurance can cover the cost of:
- Ambulance transport;
- Necessary medical imaging and testing;
- Prescription drugs;
- Physical therapy;
- Mental health treatment; and
- Medical devices.
No-fault medical benefits can also include the cost of any assistive medical care that the policyholder needs within one year of the accident. They will also provide up to $25 a day for other necessary expenses like transportation costs for medical appointments or household help.
In addition to medical bills, a no-fault car insurance policy would cover 80% of the claimant’s lost wages, supplementing any income they lost as a result of the accident. If the accident leads to wrongful death, the policyholder’s insurance company would also compensate their family for burial and funeral costs.
Who Can Receive Benefits in a No-Fault Insurance Claim?
If a New York driver is in a car accident and is injured, and they have PIP coverage, they can file a no-fault application for compensation. Additionally, any passengers in the driver’s car can file a claim for compensation. Pedestrians are all protected by no-fault insurance, regardless of whether or not they have personal injury protection. If a New York pedestrian is struck by a car, the pedestrian and/or their immediate family members can file a claim with the state for compensation.
Insurance Coverage Requirements for New York Drivers
New York’s no-fault insurance requirements extend past just acquiring PIP coverage. New York drivers also need liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Below, we’ll discuss the different types of insurance policies as well as the minimum amount of coverage that these policies must be able to cover, even in the case of a fatal car accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
PIP insurance coverage ensures all drivers are able to receive compensation, regardless of fault. For example, if you crash into another person’s car and you are injured, your PIP insurance would compensate you for your medical expenses, even if you were the person who caused the accident.
All New York drivers must have a no-fault car insurance policy with a minimum of $50,000 worth of coverage for each person injured in their vehicle, including themselves. No-fault insurance is also primary to health insurance, meaning that your PIP coverage will kick in and provide you with compensation before your health insurance.
Liability Insurance Coverage
Liability insurance policies cover any bodily injury or property damage that the insured driver causes to other people. For example, if you ran a red light and hit another car, causing damage to the vehicle, the other driver could make a claim through your liability insurance for the property damage.
Additionally, if you caused them serious injury that exceeded their PIP insurance coverage, or if they suffered from non-economic damages like pain and suffering, they could file a claim against you through your liability insurance policy.
All drivers in New York must have a liability insurance policy with a minimum of:
- $25,000 of coverage for the injury of one person (or $50,000 of coverage for the death of one person);
- $50,000 of coverage for the injury of multiple people (or $100,000 of coverage for the death of multiple people); and
- $10,000 of coverage for property damage.
These minimum limits are often referred to as 25/50/10 limits.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage helps guarantee that insured drivers and passengers receive compensation for bodily injuries, even if they are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver.
Let’s take another example. You get into a head-on collision with an uninsured vehicle, and that uninsured vehicle was at fault for the accident. You would be able to file a claim through your uninsured motorist policy for any bodily injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. Uninsured motorist coverage also extends to victims of hit-and-run accidents. If you were injured in a hit-and-run, talk to your insurance agent about filing for compensation under your uninsured motorist policy.
All New York drivers must have uninsured motorist coverage with a minimum of:
- $25,000 of coverage for the injury of one person (or $50,000 of coverage for the death of one person); and
- $50,000 of coverage for the injury of multiple people (or $100,000 of coverage for the death of multiple people).
Unlike liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage does not cover property damage.
What Kinds of Accidents Are Not Covered By No-Fault Insurance?
Certain accidents and injuries are not covered by most no-fault insurance policies in New York. A person would be ineligible for personal injury protection for:
- Accidents in which they were driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated;
- Accidents in which they intentionally caused their own injuries;
- Injuries sustained while committing a felony;
- Injuries sustained while driving a stolen vehicle; and
- Injuries sustained while driving or riding a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
What if Car Accident Damages Exceed Liability Insurance Coverage?
Like most insurance policies, New York’s no-fault insurance policies have an upper limit, meaning they will only provide compensation up to a certain point. If you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, and your economic and/or non-economic damages exceed the other driver’s liability insurance limit, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
In personal injury claims, victims have to be able to prove that the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident was at least partially at fault. Luckily, New York car accident law firms are experienced in handling these cases and can evaluate the facts and effectively prove fault in this kind of lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the Albany, New York, injury lawyers at Bailey Johnson & Peck can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Call us at 518-456-0082 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our expert attorneys.
How to Seek Car Accident Damages in New York
In order to file a no-fault claim in New York, you must provide written proof of the accident to your no-fault insurer within 30 days of the accident, unless you can provide written proof of a reasonable justification that would prevent you from notifying them on time.
If your no-fault insurance claim does not cover the extent of your medical expenses, or you have additional damages you would like to recover compensation for, you should contact a New York injury lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck. They can help you file a lawsuit against the other driver involved in the accident and recover compensation for the damages your no-fault insurance won’t cover.
Car Accident Damages
New York no-fault insurance claims and car accident lawsuits can help drivers recover compensation for their damages, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost earnings;
- Property damage;
- Rehabilitation services;
- Assistive devices;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Physical and mental suffering;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Funeral expenses.
What is Pure Comparative Fault in New York?
Pure comparative fault refers to the way fault is assigned in a New York car accident lawsuit. Under New York law, a person can file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver and recover compensation, even if they were also partially at fault for the accident.
For example, let’s say someone tried to change lanes and didn’t see your car, and they crashed into you. You would have been able to swerve out of the way or honk at them, but you were texting and driving, so you didn’t see them cross over into your lane. You can still pursue compensation from the driver of the other vehicle.
The percentage of fault that each driver had determines how much compensation the person filing the lawsuit would be able to recover. If we use the same example, and the court decided that you were 20% at fault for the accident and the other driver was 80% at fault, you would only be able to recover compensation for 80% of your damages.
New York Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
If you are in a motor vehicle accident and you want to file a personal injury claim in New York, you have up to three years after the accident to file suit. That clock starts the day that the accident occurs, so if you were previously in a car accident and you want to file a claim for additional compensation, call an experienced New York law firm like Bailey, Johnson & Peck. Our attorneys can help ensure your suit is filed on time so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Call Albany Car Accident Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today
Car accident injuries can be incredibly severe, and medical treatment in the U.S. is incredibly expensive. Not only that, but accidents can cause a great deal of physical and emotional pain. If your no-fault claim did not provide coverage enough to cover your injuries or other damages, you may be able to seek compensation from the other driver involved in the accident in a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have been in a car accident and have suffered from severe bodily injury, the New York injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help you pursue additional damages in a lawsuit. Our experienced team of lawyers can help prove negligence so that you can receive the best possible outcome for your case. Call our law firm today at 518-456-0082 and schedule a free consultation regarding your case.