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Will New York’s No-Fault Law Prevent Me from Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit?

After a car accident in Rochester caused by a negligent driver, it can be frustrating to think that you must file a claim through your own insurance company when the other driver is clearly at fault. Yet there are many misconceptions about New York’s no-fault law when it comes to auto insurance claims and car accident lawsuits. While New York’s no-fault law does prevent an injured motorist from immediately filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, the law does not stop you from filing a claim to seek financial compensation from the liable party for serious injuries. Our Rochester car accident lawyers are here to help you with your case, from the early stages of filing an auto insurance claim and negotiating with the insurer to filing a car accident lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your injuries. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some clarifying information about New York’s no-fault law.

You Can Be Eligible to File a Lawsuit If You Have Serious Injuries

New York’s no-fault law does require most motorists to start the process of seeking financial compensation by filing a first-party auto insurance claim through their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, the law allows injured parties for whom insurance payouts are insufficient to file lawsuits if they can meet the “serious injury threshold.”

What is a serious injury threshold? In short, if you can prove you have a serious injury, you are not limited to filing an auto insurance claim. To be sure, you can be eligible to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the collision.

You Will Need to Prove You Have a Serious Injury According to New York Law

To be eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver whose negligence caused your car accident injuries, you will need to prove that you have a “serious injury” as New York law defines it. According to the statute, a serious injury can include any injury that results in:

  • death; 
  • dismemberment;
  • disfigurement; 
  • a fracture; 
  • loss of a fetus; 
  • permanent use of a body organ, member, function, or system; 
  • permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; 
  • significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or 
  • the injured person being prevented from performing substantially all of the material acts that constitute their daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the injury

Typically you will work with your motor vehicle accident lawyer in Rochester to prove that you have met the serious injury threshold by gathering relevant medical evidence from your healthcare provider.

Contact Our Rochester Car Accident Attorneys

Do you have questions about New York’s no-fault law? Do you need assistance proving that you have a serious injury and filing a car accident lawsuit against the motorist responsible for the collision? An experienced Rochester car accident lawyer at our firm can help. Contact King Law for more information about filing a claim.

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