The New York no-fault insurance law was passed by the Legislature in 1974, creating a dual system for compensating individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. This law can be confusing, even for lawyers, and almost impossible to understand for others.
Motorists are required by law to obtain no-fault insurance before they can register a vehicle in New York. This type of insurance, known as personal injury protection (PIP), generally applies no matter how an accident happened or who caused it.
Regardless of fault, every automobile insurance policy in New York provides for the payment of first-party benefits of up to $50,000 for “basic economic loss” for covered persons injured in car accidents, but bars the filing of lawsuits against the at-fault party to recover non-economic loss (pain and suffering) except for those who have suffered “serious injury” as defined by the statute.
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we help people who have been injured in car accidents. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience. Contact our firm for a free case evaluation and consultation about your claim and how no-fault insurance applies.
Who is Covered Under New York No – Fault Insurance Law?
No-fault automobile insurance covers:
- Pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.
- Operators, occupants and owners of motor vehicles.
- Anyone entitled to first-party benefits, including the named insured and his or her household members.
Insurance companies may include express provisions in their policies excluding coverage for:
- Drivers who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- People who are committing felonies.
- Those who intentionally injure themselves.
- Anyone who is knowingly a passenger in a stolen car.
- Anyone who is injured while racing or fleeing the police.
Motorcyclists, and anyone riding with them, are not covered under no-fault insurance. However, they may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Pedestrians hit by motorcycles are covered by no-fault insurance.
For a free legal consultation with a no-fault insurance lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900
No-Fault Benefits for New York Accident Victims
No-fault insurance has the purpose of restoring individuals injured in car accidents to good health and productivity as quickly as possible. It protects injured people and their family household members against economic loss resulting from motor vehicle crashes.
It can pay for:
- Accident-related medical expenses.
- Lost wages up to $2,000.
- Other reasonable and necessary expenses, such as household help, babysitting services and the like.
- Death benefits in fatal crashes.
The minimum limit for no-fault insurance in New York is $50,000, though car owners can buy optional additional protection above the mandatory $50,000. This is referred to as additional personal injury protection (APIP).
No-fault insurance does not pay for repairing your car or for damage to the other driver’s car. Nor does it cover personal property loss or damage.
Long Island No-Fault Insurance Lawyer Near Me 516-358-6900
Civil Lawsuits for Serious Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents
If you are injured in a car accident in New York, you may bring a civil lawsuit for damages only in certain situations:
- When your economic losses are greater than your no-fault benefits; or
- For non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, but only in cases of “serious injury.”
“Serious injury” is defined under Insurance Law 5102(d) as an injury that results in:
- Significant disfigurement.
- A fracture.
- Loss of a fetus.
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system.
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member.
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system.
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
New York No-Fault Insurance Tips
Under the New York State No-Fault Insurance Law, if you suffer personal injury in a motor vehicle accident you are entitled to No-Fault benefits to cover your hospital and doctor bills.
All accident-related medical bills will be paid regardless of who caused the accident. Further, any doctor or hospital willing to accept No-Fault insurance is not permitted to charge you an additional fee for treatment. If you receive any medical bills, you should send them to your motor vehicle accident Lawyer‘s office immediately, since in order to be considered for payment, bills must be submitted to the insurance carrier in a timely fashion.
No-Fault also entitles you to receive reimbursement of your transportation expenses to and from the doctor with a maximum of $25 per day for a period of one year from the date of the accident. If you are using a taxi, get a receipt stating the date and address of the doctor you visited. If you are using private transportation (such as your own car or the car of a relative or friend), you must complete and submit a mileage form indicating the name of the doctor visited, the address departed from, the doctor’s address, the dates of treatment and round-trip mileage. The completed form must be submitted to your lawyer’s office in a timely fashion so that they can submit it to the insurance carrier properly.
If you are unable to perform your usual household duties and need someone to help you, your doctor can recommend home-care services. No-Fault will reimburse you a maximum of $25 per day for a period of one year from the date of the accident. A note from your doctor authorizing these services and a paid receipt from the home-care service provider will be required by the insurance company.
The No-Fault insurance carrier and your attorney’s office will at some time notify you that the insurance carrier has arranged for their doctor to examine you. If you do not appear at the examination all of your No-Fault benefits will be immediately terminated.
If you have any unpaid medical bills, transportation expenses, household service expenses, disability notes or other outstanding No-Fault matters make sure that you submit them to your attorney’s immediately or the No-Fault carrier may deny payment.
In addition to medical expenses, No-Fault will reimburse you for lost wages if you are unable to work because of injuries sustained in the accident. Your lost wages are to be paid as follows: If you are entitled to disability coverage from your employer, your disability insurance carrier will pay you after the first week at a rate of half your gross salary up to a maximum of $170 per week for 26 weeks. To obtain these benefits, you must within 20 days file an application for disability with your disability carrier. Please follow through on this so you do not lose any of the benefits to which you are entitled.
Thereafter, No-Fault will pay 80 percent of your salary up to $2,000 per month with a set-off for what you are entitled to receive from disability. Please note that if you are entitled to receive disability benefits from your employer, but fail to apply for these benefits, the No-Fault set-off will still apply.
If you are not entitled to disability benefits, obtain a letter from your employer or written proof and bring it to your lawyer’s office immediately. The No-Fault carrier will deduct disability from your wage benefit check, whether you collect disability or not. We must prove to them that you are not entitled to disability benefits in order to avoid the deduction for disability benefits.
In addition, in order to obtain your No-Fault lost-wage benefits in the shortest amount of time, it will be necessary for you to obtain a disability note from your treating doctor and send it to your lawyer’s office. Your doctor must provide you with an updated disability note every 30 days.
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We are Here to Help you, Protect you and Fight for your Rights
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we can help you get the maximum compensation through no-fault insurance coverage and a potential car accident injury lawsuit. Our lawyers address urgent issues, such as medical treatment, car repairs and dealing with insurance adjusters. Meanwhile, we act swiftly and diligently to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses.
Personal injury, handled personally. Contact us today for a free consultation with proven injury attorneys. We handle car accidents on Long Island and nearby areas including Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens.