Is New York a No-Fault State?

What is considered a serious injury in a car accident?

New York state has joined several other states to become a no-fault insurance state. The legislature decided that becoming a no-fault state would allow car accident victims to receive financial benefits more quickly, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. In fault-based insurance states, the at-fault driver’s insurance company must cover the expenses related to the car accident. Instead of insurance companies arguing about who is at fault for the car accident, the driver’s own insurance company covers his or her expenses regardless of who was at fault for the car accident. Learn more about below, courtesy of our team at Stanley Law!

Understanding New York’s “No-Fault” Law 

New York’s no-fault insurance law applies to all car accident victims, including drivers and passengers. The law governs a car accident victim’s ability to obtain economic damage compensation caused by car accident injuries. While no-fault car insurance can help victims recover compensation more quickly, consulting an attorney before filing your claim is still beneficial. 

In other words, regardless of who was responsible for causing a car accident, the insured driver or passenger will be reimbursed by their own insurance company for damages. Insurance companies must reimburse their insured customers for medical costs and other economic costs related to their car accident injuries. The state of New York also requires drivers to purchase liability insurance was certain amounts of minimum coverage: 

  • $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50/$100,000 for death
  • $10,000 for property damage per car accident

Additional coverage is available, and there are other aspects of New York minimum coverage requirement. Keep in mind that bodily injury lawsuits are different from no-fault cases. Bodily injury lawsuits provide compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. They also include compensation for wrongful death, allowing surviving family members to recover financial compensation for their economic and non-economic damages, including the pain and suffering of losing a loved one. 

The benefits victims of car accidents receive under New York’s no-fault law can help provide medical bills, transportation to medical appointments, prescription costs, reasonable household services, and lost wages for those unable to return to work due to their injuries. Plaintiffs who wish to qualify for insurance coverage under the New York no-fault policy must show that the car accident happened in New York. They will also need to show that the vehicle in question was insured in the state of New York by an insurance company licensed in New York. Finally, they will need to show that the vehicle was not a motorcycle, bicycle, or scooter. 

The Insurance Companies Will Settle the Claim Themselves 

In no-fault states, the insurance companies settle the claims themselves. They will provide injured victims with compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and transportation to and from medical treatment. Insurance companies will also pay for housekeeping services and any other economic damages caused by the injury. If you’ve been injured in a New York car accident, you need to ensure that you quickly apply for these benefits. If you do not apply for benefits within 30 days of the car accident, you could lose your ability to recover compensation. 

We recommend speaking to one of our experienced car accident lawyers. We can help you ensure that you provide all of the necessary evidence of the severity of your injury to the insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for rejecting claims unfairly and offering settlement amounts that are far too low. We will negotiate assertively with the insurance company and ensure that they treat you fairly. We fight hard so our clients can obtain the most compensation possible in their cases. 

Complications Arising From New York’s No-Fault Law 

In some ways, New York’s no-fault law makes it easier to receive compensation after you have been injured in a car accident. In other ways, the no-fault law creates additional complications when it comes to receiving compensation. For example, if you would like to make a claim against the at-fault driver or bring a lawsuit, you will need to reach the no-fault threshold. To do so, you will need to prove that you have been seriously injured in a car accident. The easiest way to prove you meet the threshold involves proving that the total costs of treating your injury exceed $25,000. Or, you can show that your total costs exceed the minimum insurance coverage combination discussed above. 

Pursuing a Serious Injury Claim in New York Law 

In some cases, insurance benefits will not cover all of the expenses related to your car accident injuries. You have the option of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in a New York civil court. As the plaintiff, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You will need to show that you suffered a serious injury according to state law. You will need to prove that you have experienced one or more of the following: 

  • A bone fracture
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Permanent limitation of the use of a body member or organ
  • A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system, or
  • Substantially full disability for 90 days

If your injuries qualify as serious under this definition, you’ll be able to hold the at-fault driver liable for your financial losses through a personal injury lawsuit. You will be able to pursue economic damages for all of your financial losses and non-economic damages for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injury. 

Contact an Experienced New York Car Accident Lawyer 

Insurance companies are still guilty of denying claims or refusing to pay out a fair amount of compensation under New York’s no-fault law. By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney, you will be able to maximize your benefits. At Stanley Law Offices, our car accident lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies to obtain the most amount of compensation possible for our clients. We’ll leave no stone unturned to ensure no insurance company takes advantage of you.