In regards to
car accident claims, we have two different kinds of insurance systems in the United
States: Fault car insurance and no-fault insurance. New York is one of
a handful of states that uses the no-fault system. What does this mean
when you’re injured in a car accident? Does it mean the other driver
isn’t at fault? Not exactly. Read on as we explain what it means
to be a no-fault insurance state.
When you live in a no-fault state like New York, when you’re in a
car accident, your own auto insurance or more specifically, you’re
“personal injury protection” or “medical benefits coverage”
will pay for your economic damages. By economic damages, we’re referring
to the “measurable” damages like lost income, ambulance costs,
hospital bills, prescriptions and so forth.
These damages (reimbursed losses) are paid up to your policy limits, which
is why it’s important to purchase the highest limits you can afford.
But unlike fault states, a no-fault claim cannot collect damages for non-economic
damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
Under New York’s no-fault system, it only applies to the injuries
sustained in car accidents, it does not apply to vehicle damage. So, if
your car sustained serious damage or if it needed to be replaced, you’d
have to file a vehicle damage claim against the at-fault driver.
Can I Sue for Pain & Suffering?
In order for you to have legal recourse outside New York’s no-fault
system and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for pain and suffering,
the injuries you sustained from the accident must qualify as “serious.”
What qualifies as a serious injury?
- Bone fracture
- A full disability for at least 90 days
- A significant level of disfigurement
- An organ or body part is permanently limited
- A body function or system becomes significantly limited
If your injuries qualify as serious, you can file a claim outside of your
insurance policy. You may file a personal injury lawsuit or a
third party claim against the at-fault driver and pursue compensation for damages not covered
by your policy, such as pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?
Need a Suffolk County car accident lawyer to file a claim on your behalf?
For experienced legal representation,
contact our firm today.