When Will I Need to Prove Fault After a Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident in New York, you should know that New York is one of a dozen “no fault” states, which means that motorists pay for their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, or “no fault insurance,” to cover their own injuries in the event of a crash. In a no-fault state, motorists who are injured in a collision must file a first-party claim through their own insurer as opposed to having the option of filing a first-party or a third party claim, or moving immediately to a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The thinking behind no-fault insurance is that injured parties can obtain compensation relatively quickly in order to cover medical bills and lost wages without having to wait for another party’s insurer to come through, and without having to wait for a car accident lawsuit to settle or reach a jury verdict.

Since New York is a no-fault state, you might be wondering: when will I need to prove fault after a car accident? Generally speaking, you will need to prove fault if you want to file an auto insurance claim through the at-fault motorist’s insurance for property damage coverage, or if your PIP coverage is insufficient to pay for your losses and you want to file a car accident lawsuit. An experienced Rochester car accident attorney at our firm can explain in more detail.

How No-Fault Insurance Works in New York

Under New York’s car insurance law, drivers in the state are required to have three different kinds of insurance coverage, which include:

  • 1) PIP coverage, which is also known as no-fault insurance, and pays for medical expenses and lost wages. You must pay for PIP coverage up to $50,000, and it will pay out this amount no matter who is at fault for the accident. In addition to paying up to $50,000 for injury coverage and related medical bills, an injured person can receive up to 80 percent of their lost wages, or up to $2,000 per month at a maximum, for a period of up to three years from the time of the car accident injury.
  • 2) Liability coverage, which you must purchase in the event you cause harm to another party in an accident, and you must pay $25,000 for one person in an accident, $50,000 for two or more people in one accident, and $10,000 coverage for property damage in one accident.
  • 3) Uninsured motorist insurance, which can provide you with compensation in the event you are involved in a collision with an uninsured driver.

When you are injured in an accident, you will file a claim through your PIP coverage, and you will not need to prove fault. However, if you need to seek additional compensation, you will need evidence that the other driver is at fault.

Proving Fault for a Third-Party Property Damage Claim or Car Accident Lawsuit

PIP coverage does not pay for property damage. However, if another driver causes a crash, even in a no-fault state like New York, you may be able to file a third-party claim to seek compensation from that driver’s liability coverage. In order to do so, you will need to show that the other driver was at fault.

In addition, if your PIP coverage is not enough to pay for the full amount of your injury losses, then you could be eligible to file a lawsuit against the liable motorist. In order to file a car accident lawsuit, you will need to show that you meet the required “serious injury threshold” under New York law, and you will need evidence that shows the defendant was at fault for the collision and, accordingly, for your injuries.

Contact a Rochester Car Accident Attorney

If you need assistance proving fault in a car accident, our Rochester car accident lawyers can help. Contact King Law to learn more.


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