Understanding New York State’s No Fault Laws
In an attempt to expedite compensation claims, New York State implemented a “no-fault” law years ago, to more quickly provide financial benefits to any victim of a car crash, regardless of who was responsible. It applies to all victims who are drivers and passengers in any involved vehicle. Section § 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance Law governs only economic damage compensation to vehicle-related accident victims. Even though no-fault insurance can help you receive compensation faster, it also means that you might not be able to maximize your potential benefits without hiring an attorney. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we can help evaluate your claim and use our decades of experience to advocate on your behalf. The true role of this law was to put the compensation process in the hands of the insurance companies, thereby making it more difficult for victims who may have had a right to individually sue.
This makes it critical for you to maximize your compensation rights by hiring a legal team that is well versed in No Fault Law to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for the losses you’ve sustained.
Victims are typically reimbursed by their insurance company for damages, regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident; this includes medical costs and property losses arising from the accident. When the Legislature passed the no-fault law, it also required owners of all registered motor vehicles to have liability insurance with minimum coverage that over the years has grown to the following amounts:
- $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000/$100,000 for death
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
This is commonly referred to as 25/50/10, and additional coverage amounts are available. There are other aspects of state minimum coverage requirements, which you can view here. It’s important to remember that bodily injury (BI) suits are different from no-fault cases. They fall under the purview of “straight” personal injury law. A bodily injury claim provides compensation for non-economic damages that include pain and suffering or, in the event of a wrongful death, the pain, suffering and emotional loss suffered by surviving family members. The benefits you receive under New York No-Fault can help provide for your medical bills, prescription costs, transportation to medical providers, reasonable household services, and lost wages if you are unable to work as a result of the injuries you have sustained. In order to qualify for New York No-Fault coverage, it must be shown that …
- The accident occurred in New York.
- The car in question was insured in New York State, by an insurance company licensed in New York.
- The vehicle in question was not a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle.
It doesn’t matter not whose fault the accident was under the No-Fault plan — that’s for the insurance companies to settle between themselves. These benefits usually include payment of medical bills, prescription drugs, lost wages, housekeeping and/or transportation to and from medical providers resulting from the accident. But you must quickly apply for these benefits – within 30 days from the date of the accident.
Some of No-Fault’s “Interesting” Complications
In order to make a claim against the at-fault driver, or sue, you have to reach the “no-fault threshold.” And that means you must be seriously injured, based on the provisions of the No-Fault injury law. The easy (but not always correct) way of determining the seriousness of your injuries is to look at the cost of treating them. If their total value exceeds the $25,000 amount or its equivalent in that 25/50/10 combination we discussed above. So, if someone has the minimum coverage and it is exceeded, you may be able to file for a higher amount to reach full compensation. But if the driver who hit you has – for example – $100,000 to pay for your injuries, that is the threshold which must be reached to treat your injuries. This is an oversimplification of how the No-Fault threshold works. There are also accident injuries that are only recoverable in a separate (or companion) bodily injury (BI) lawsuit. There are also different classifications of “serious” injury. The list is extensive and detailed, so it’s best that your attorney explain how the No-Fault Laws apply to you.
New York No Fault Law
Understanding New York State’s No-Fault Laws in their entirety can be tricky. If you’ve been involved in an accident, we can help protect your rights and make sure that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled. If you have been injured in a vehicle-related accident and have any questions about how the No-Fault Laws of New York State apply to your situation, we encourage you to contact us at Kaplan Lawyers PC.