If you’re involved in a car accident, getting treatment for your injuries and recovering compensation for the financial and noneconomic losses you’ve suffered is a top priority. But unlike other states that allow for victims to sue at-fault parties directly, New York has a no-fault insurance rule that makes filing a lawsuit a bit more complex. Here’s what you should know about how no-fault insurance works in a Rochester, NY car accident—if you have more questions, call our NY car accident attorney directly.
What Is No-Fault Insurance?
States maintain either no-fault insurance or fault-based insurance laws, the latter of which are also called “tort liability” rules. In a fault insurance state, a victim of a car accident has the right to file a claim against the party who caused their injuries; they also have the right to file a lawsuit directly. In a no-fault state, on the other hand, victims must turn to their own insurance company first for compensation regardless of fault, and are only permitted to pursue damages against the other party when a certain injury threshold is met.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance law
No-fault coverage is required in New York in the form of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage pays for medical expenses, lost wages, and other reasonable expenses, up to $50,000 per person. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that victims are compensated as swiftly as possible for their injuries, regardless of fault.
Stepping Out of the No-Fault System
As mentioned above, accident victims are not allowed to pursue damages in the form of a claim or a lawsuit against an at-fault party in a no-fault system, unless a certain threshold has been met. In a New York car accident, a person can step outside of the no-fault system and seek compensation for the value of their economic losses that exceed no-fault coverage, as well as the value of noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) when they’ve suffered a “serious injury.” Serious injury is defined in New York as an injury that results in:
- Loss of a fetus;
- Permanent loss or consequential limitation of a body member, system, function, or organ; or
- Injury or impairment that prevents the victim from performing their usual acts and activities for at least 90 days.
If a person meets the criteria listed above, they’re not limited to the no-fault rules. They can file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for damages, or they can file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party. It’s important that any legal action is brought forth within the statute of limitations.
Work with a NY Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident, it’s in your best interests to work with a car accident attorney in Rochester, NY who can guide you through your options and represent your best interests throughout the process. At the law office of King Law, our NY car accident lawyer is ready to help. Call today or send our law firm a message online to request a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.