What to Expect from Car Accident Settlement in NY
When you’ve suffered a car accident, the journey toward settlement can seem confusing and daunting. Oftentimes, more questions than answers pop up. What will my insurance cover? What if my insurance doesn’t cover everything? When do I need to consider hiring a car accident lawyer in NY?
Despite this, your focus is often geared toward important, controllable elements like recovery and finding a replacement car or mechanic. Sifting through legal jargon as you try to wrap your head around the process can overtake your evenings and leave you spiraling—but it doesn’t have to be this way.
With your physical and mental well-being in mind, we’ve outlined everything to expect from a car accident settlement in NY. From average payouts to what a no-fault state is, keep reading for a legalese-free breakdown of New York car accident settlements.
What is New York’s Average Car Accident Settlement?
Unfortunately, average New York car accident settlement amounts tend to be inconclusive due to the specificity and unique situation in each car accident case. Side-swiping a car in a supermarket parking lot, for example, causes little physical and emotional damage when we compare it to an SUV running a red and hitting oncoming traffic. Both situations can necessitate legal action—yet the payouts can differ on the order of tens of thousands of dollars.
If you want to determine what a fair settlement amount could look like in your case, consider the following:
- Economic and non-economic losses suffered – These are measurable and unmeasurable losses caused by the motor vehicle accident. An example of an economic loss is the loss of wages whereas a non-economic loss is the loss of the ability to walk.
- Evidence of fault and damages – Not only is it important to know how much each party was at fault but to be able to prove it to insurance and, in some cases, in a court of law.
- State laws – State laws regarding settlements can vary widely. Below are three key facets of New York state law that will determine the settlement process and who will be funding yours.
3 Key New York Car Accident Settlement Laws
Here are the three things you must know about a no-fault accident in NY. During the process of auto accident settlements (particularly in NY), you will run into:
- Statute of Limitations
- No-Fault System
- Comparative Negligence
#1 Statute of Limitations
You have three years from the day of the motor vehicle accident to file a legal case in New York state. This is also known as a statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations applies to all different types of lawsuits, the time variable changes depending on the suit in question. Note that this is the time you have to first file—in other words, if the car accident case is filed and extends beyond three years, this is still acceptable. Remember to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road in NYC and the process of filing an NYC car accident police report.
#2 New York’s No-Fault System
New York is one of several states that operate a no-fault car insurance system. This system has two main implications:
- When there is an accident, both parties file a claim for injuries suffered with their insurance, regardless of who caused the auto accident.
- Every car insurance policy from New York must come with personal injury protection coverage, also known as PIP coverage.
Will Personal Injury Protection Cover All of My Expenses?
There is a minimum policy limit of $50,000 for personal injury policy (PIP), and you can gain more coverage by paying extra. PIP covers up to this amount of economic losses but does not cover non-economic losses.
Your insurance will typically cover up to $50,000 of economic losses as long as you provide proof through documents or receipts. This is to give financial compensation to anyone who has been physically injured in the insured vehicle and generally includes any of the following losses:
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Medical treatment
- Medical equipment
Non-economic losses, on the other hand, are losses that notably worsen your quality of life but cannot be monetarily measured. These account for the injured person’s pain, emotional distress, and suffering due to a car accident. They include the following:
- Mental suffering
- Anguish and pain
- Impairment or Disfigurement
To better understand the ins and outs of personal injury protection, check out our deep dive into PIP.
What Happens When PIP Can’t or Won’t Cover Everything?
If you’re in a situation where PIP cannot cover all of your economic losses and you have suffered non-economic losses, you can file a claim or car accident lawsuit against the other party’s insurance.
You will be collecting money from their insurance’s bodily injury liability coverage (BIL). These four factors influence the settlement that you can receive:
- The extent of the other driver’s fault in the auto accident
- The severity of your losses, both economic and non-economic
- The amount that your insurance has covered
- The other driver’s insurance policy limit
To calculate something subjective, like pain and suffering, an insurance company will typically weigh any number of different factors from severity of injuries to circumstances and age. The final number depends on how life-altering the non-economic losses have been. A sprained wrist, for example, could be considered much less life-altering than experiencing ongoing migraines post-accident.
#3 Comparative Negligence
In New York, if your case goes to court, a judge and jury will compare the fault of both drivers. This is because New York is a pure comparative negligence state. This will also determine the amount of money each party receives.
To give an example, if you had to pay $2,500 in medical bills but were found to be 25% at fault, you may receive around 25% less than you normally would receive in reimbursements—in this case, $625 less.
HG Legal Resources. Non-Economic Losses: What Are They? https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/non-economic-losses-what-are-they-59530
Find Law. New York Car Accident Compensation Laws. https://www.findlaw.com/state/new-york-law/new-york-car-accident-compensation-laws.html
Written ByMaly Ohrenschall
VP of Customer Experience
About the author
Maly is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in the insurance sector, specializing in multi-line claims and customer service for personal injury cases. As the leader of Mighty’s Client Experience team, she leverages her extensive background to ensure clients involved in auto accidents receive the highest level of care and support. Maly’s expertise plays a crucial role in delivering exceptional service and fostering long-lasting client relationships.
About the reviewer