If you’ve been in a car accident, you know how stressful and confusing it can be to deal with the insurance companies, especially if you’ve suffered a personal injury. You’ve likely come across the term “no-fault insurance” if you live in New York State, but what does that term mean?
New York is a no-fault state, which means that each driver is required to hold no-fault insurance to cover any damages that may occur if an accident were to happen. To help you understand the in’s and out’s of no-fault auto insurance in New York, we’ve put together everything you need to know about what’s included, who’s protected and how to file your claim if you’ve been in an accident.
What is no-fault insurance?
No-fault insurance, also known as personal injury protection (PIP), helps to cover the costs of any medical expenses or lost wages that you may have incurred after a car accident regardless of who is at fault for the damages. Some examples of costs that no fault covers include:
- Ambulance costs
- Necessary medical procedures including x-rays and surgery
- Dental costs
- Up to 80% of lost wages or a maximum of $2,000 per month for up to three years
- Burial costs up to $2,000
- Prescription drugs for medications relating to your injuries
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Medical devices or prosthetics needs as a result of your injuries
Although no fault insurance can help you to pay for the expenses or losses incurred after an accident, it may not cover everything. Even if you’re collecting no fault benefits from your own insurance, you may also have a valid personal injury claim against that same vehicle’s liability coverage or another vehicle involved in the accident.
Is there a difference between no-fault and liability coverage?
While no-fault auto coverage will help to cover costs of the medical expenses and lost wages for the injured parties regardless of who is at fault for the accident, liability coverage is designed to protect the driver who is at fault by covering the costs associated with any personal injury claims made by the opposing party, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by their injury.
New York State requires all drivers to carry both no-fault and liability insurance at the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000/$100,000 for death
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
Who can claim no fault benefits?
No-fault auto insurance is intended to cover the following individuals:
- The owner named as the insured on the policy covering the vehicle
- All passengers that were in the vehicle at the time of the accident
- Any member of the named insured’s household if they are injured as a pedestrian
There may be coverage for a member of the insured’s household to receive benefits if that member was injured in a car accident where the driver of the car they were in was not insured.
Who is excluded from receiving no-fault benefits?
Those who are not covered by no-fault under insurance according to New York State law are:
- Motorcycle riders and their passengers
- Owners driving their own uninsured vehicle
- Those driving or occupying their spouse’s uninsured vehicle
- Those who are not residents of New York State
Of course, there are also exclusions under your own policy as well. New York State law allows privately owned insurance companies to make their own set of exclusions, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider to review your policy. Some examples of exclusion under your own no fault policy include:
- Those who are covered, but intentionally cause their injuries
- The driver of the vehicle was intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance
- The individual was injured while committing a felony
- Driving or occupying a vehicle that is known to be stolen
- Purposefully racing or ‘speed-testing’, resulting in an accident
How to file a no-fault insurance claim in New York
In New York State, you must submit a completed no-fault application form or other accepted written notice to your insurance company within 30 days of your accident in order to protect your legal rights to no-fault coverage.
This time can be extended in rare circumstances if the claimant can provide written proof that there is a clear and reasonable justification that they were unable to comply with the 30 day time limitation. This document should contain as many details as possible including the date, time, and circumstances surrounding the accident.
Drivers who have been injured in a car accident but are not sure on how to proceed with filing a no-fault claim should consult with their local authorities, insurance agent, or a trusted personal injury attorney.
To learn more about New York’s no-fault laws, or to discuss a personal injury claim against another driver’s liability coverage, contact the team of knowledgeable attorneys at Cellino Law. Our team is here to answer your questions 24/7 at 800-555-5555.