If you get into an accident in New York, you might not be sure how to proceed. Maybe you simply want to go through your insurance and get whatever coverage is available to you. On the other hand, you might be considering filing a lawsuit if the other driver was clearly responsible for the accident. No matter where you are in the country, state insurance laws will affect the coverage you can obtain, as well as your ability to take the other parties to court.
The United States has 12 no-fault insurance states, and New York is one of them. No-fault insurance, otherwise known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), pays up to $50,000 per person, no matter who was responsible for the accident. The carrier pays you, all of your passengers, and any pedestrians involved in the accident.
The insurance generally covers:
- Medical/rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages (80% or up to $2,000 per month for 3 years after the accident)
- Other reasonable expenses, such as household assistance or transportation to doctors ($25 per day)
- Death benefit ($2,000)
The goal of no-fault insurance is to provide care for those who need it as soon as possible, but it does NOT cover anyone’s car repair or property damage. Furthermore, certain circumstances may render you ineligible for no-fault benefits. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of those circumstances. If you were injured while committing a felony or while driving a stolen vehicle, you will not be covered either. Your right to benefits will also be waived if you purposefully caused your own injuries.
Filing a Lawsuit in a No-Fault State
Because no-fault insurance covers $50,000 per person regardless of fault, filing suit is not always feasible.
If you suffered an injury or loss in a car accident, you can file suit to cover:
- Economic costs of bodily injury or property damage that exceed $50,000; or
- Pain and suffering if you sustained a serious injury, as defined by New York law.
If you choose to file suit, you will have the burden of proving the defendant’s negligence. Your insurer will not be responsible for covering the costs of litigation.
What About Motorcycle Accidents?
If you were riding an ATV or a motorcycle, no-fault insurance will not apply, because New York considers these vehicles inherently dangerous. You will need to have your own private insurance to cover injuries or property damage. The only situation covered by no-fault insurance is when your motorcycle hits a pedestrian, in which case the insurance pays for their injuries.
You can, however, file suit after a motorcycle accident without meeting the “serious injury” threshold. If you sustained any level of injury, you can sue the negligent party for damages.
In summary, filing a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury or property damage is most likely an option, but what you’re able to obtain will change depending on your insurance and your vehicle type. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for personalized counsel that takes your unique circumstances into account.
Ready to Obtain the Coverage You Deserve?
Due to New York’s insurance laws and statutes of limitations, you have very little time to file, so getting professional legal support right away is vital for your success. Whether you go through your insurance or take your case to court, our legal team at the Law Office of Seni Popat is here to help. We know how stressful this situation can be, and we understand that your injuries or losses may have severely impacted your ability to live life the way you did before the accident. As such, we are ready to support you with both empathetic counsel and aggressive litigation strategies.
Don’t wait to pursue the coverage you need. Schedule your complimentary consultation or give us a call at (718) 340-3385 today.