If you have been injured in an accident, you may be able to claim monetary
compensation for your damages. How you claim this restitution, however,
can depend largely on the type of accident that you were involved in.
While injuries such as
slip and falls or product liability claims typically involve determining who was “at
car accident claims are handled on a completely different system. New York belongs to the
minority of states that handle car accident claims on a “no-fault”
system. What does this mean for those injured in a car wreck?
Filing a No-fault Claim
In order to streamline the car insurance claims system and reduce unlawful
claims, in 1974, New York instituted a no-fault auto insurance law. All
drivers in New York are now required to carry a personal injury protection
plan (PIP). In the event of an accident, injured drivers can recover damages
from their own insurer, without going through the process of determining
who was at fault for an accident. Of course, this doesn’t mean that
a driver will always be able to claim compensation. For example, an insurer
may deny a claim if a driver exhibited gross negligence, intentionally
caused an accident, or if that driver provides fraudulent information.
What Happens if My Damages Exceed the Provided Coverage?
In exchange for removing the question of liability, drivers may be initially
unable to bring litigation against negligent motorists for their injuries.
While the system can allow injured drivers to collect needed settlements
quickly, PIPs through no-fault insurance typically only cover damages
up to a certain threshold. In order to act outside the no-fault system
and claim damages beyond what a PIP will cover, a victim must show that
a “serious” injury has occurred. There are legal guidelines
which help to define the severity of damages and if an injury does not
qualify, victims may be barred from filing a lawsuit for additional compensation.
It is also important to note that motorcyclists are not included under
the umbrella of no-fault insurance laws and may be able to sue for damages
immediately following an accident.
You May Need to Act Quickly
Another stipulation of the no-fault system is that all car accidents must
be reported in a timely manner. In New York, this time limit can be as
little as 30 days. This measure was instituted in 2002, reducing the limit
down from 90 days, in order to prevent incidents of insurance fraud. However,
it may also have severe consequences for drivers who are injured but may
be unaware of this timeline. The failure to report an accident by this
state-mandated deadline can forfeit a driver’s rights to claim compensation.
Get Legal help for an Auto Accident
If you have been involved in an auto accident in New York and have questions
about your claim, settlement, or lawsuit, do not hesitate to contact Lurie,
Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP. While the no-fault system can be a
great advantage to those needing immediate coverage, victims must also
take precautions that their claim is not undervalued or unlawfully denied. Our
NYC personal injury attorneys possess more than a century of combined experience and can work with an
insurer on your behalf to see that you get the money you deserve.
Questions about your no-fault auto insurance claim?
Request a free case evaluation with our firm and discover your legal options. Call (646) 461-4009 today.