Understanding No-Fault Accident NY Laws
If you drive in New York state, you’ve probably heard of no-fault protection. This bit of text in New York’s code of law can sometimes offer much-needed relief to those who’ve been injured in a car accident. That said, unless you’re a New York car accident attorney, navigating the dense web of exclusions and regulations could give anyone a headache.
That’s why we’ve gone ahead and performed a swan-dive into the rules of the road in NYC—breaking down the jargon and legalese and what no-fault means for drivers.
Your rights shouldn’t be behind a wall of incomprehensible text. Here’s everything you should know about no fault accident NY laws.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
New York state law has something called Mandatory Personal Injury Protection, (also known as no-fault insurance). This means that your car insurance company is required to reimburse you for any money you lost due to injuries sustained in a car accident.
Unlike with other policies, whether or not you were at fault for the motor vehicle accident is irrelevant under no-fault protection. The injured person is entitled to the same benefits from the same company either way.
Who (and What) Does No-Fault Insurance Protect?
Now let’s break down how this policy actually works. Here are the nuances of personal injury protection and how they can affect you as a driver.
Who is Eligible for No-Fault Protection?
Put simply: This policy protects anyone who is insured or is hurt by an insured vehicle.
Note that this doesn’t apply to motorcyclists (who have different laws), drivers who were intoxicated, or anyone engaging in felonies while driving. Laws also get fuzzier if you’re driving outside of NY state.
Also note that your insurer is allowed to raise your rates after the accident if you were at fault, even if you’re receiving no-fault benefits.
What’s Covered Under No-Fault Protection?
While it depends on the exact policy you decided to purchase, the law entitles you to up to $50,000 for “basic economic loss.” Covered expenses include:
- Medical bills such as surgeries, X-rays, dental, therapy, etc.
- Up to $2,000 a month for lost wages for up to three years after the accident
- Up to $25 a day for a year to cover other expenses, like rideshares
- Up to $2,000 to cover the funeral expenses of the deceased
How to Apply for No-Fault Insurance Benefits
If you and your expenses are eligible for these benefits, you’ll need to go through the process of filing a claim and proving your needs. Here’s what you should know.
When to File
Firstly, these benefits have a time limit. Here’s a quick breakdown of the deadlines:1
- To inform the insurance company of the accident: 30 days after the auto accident
- To submit proof of medical expenses: 45 days after the treatment
- To submit proof of work losses and other expenses: 90 days after you lose work
The auto insurance company might also make requests as they validate your claim. It’s a good idea to gather as much proof as you can before you file for benefits, so you can show them anything they request as quickly as possible.
Where to File
File your insurance claim with the company that covers the vehicle in which you were injured. If you were a pedestrian, file with the company that insures the vehicle that hit you.
If you were injured as a pedestrian either in a hit-and-run or by an uninsured vehicle, you can still apply. File your claim with the company that covers you or another driver in your household.
If there’s no policy in the household, then file with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.
What to Expect Next
After you file your claim to get a car accident settlement in NY, the auto insurance company will send you an application for benefits. You should fill this out and return it as soon as possible.
Send the company proof of medical expenses and work losses as you acquire them. Your insurer might request more evidence, but if they don’t, they have 30 days to provide the reimbursement. After the 30 days are up, you’ll be entitled to interest.
When to Get Help with a No-Fault Claim
These benefits can provide much-needed financial support, but their limitations and overly complex processes can add insult to injury. Here are a few concerns to look out for:
- Expenses that exceed $50,000 require extra effort to redeem
- Missed deadlines can get your case thrown out immediately
- Your insurance company might underpay or pay late
- Pain and suffering isn’t covered at all
- The injured person is typically the one filing the no-fault claim, despite having suffered a recent trauma and life upheaval
- You can only file a lawsuit against the other driver if the state deems you have a “serious injury”
If you run into any of these issues or you need help figuring out the application process, you may want to contact a legal service provider. Having the right people in your corner gives you a much better chance of overcoming these problems and receiving the full benefits that you deserve.
Mighty Has Your Back
If you’ve been in an accident, all your energy should be able to go toward personal recovery. Navigating a maze of forms and websites, unforgiving deadlines, and low expense limits is the last thing you should have to deal with right now. Unfortunately, with a no-fault claim, that’s what the process demands.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Mighty has a dedicated team of car accident attorneys, engineers, and others who help people like you all day, every day. It’s what we love to do. Unlike the billboard lawyers that descend like vultures the moment they smell an automobile accident, our goal is to help you heal so you can get back to normal as soon as possible.
If you need a friend by your side, Mighty is here.
New York State Department of Financial Services. Filing Claims Under Your Own Policy. https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/auto_insurance/filing_claims_under_your_own_policy
Thomson Reuters Westlaw. 11 CRR-NY 169.1. https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I500cf068cd1711dda432a117e6e0f345?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)
Thomsom Reuters Westlaw. 11 CRR-NY 65-1.1. https://govt.westlaw.com/nycrr/Document/I5008f8d2cd1711dda432a117e6e0f345?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&bhcp=1
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