As affirmed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), New York is a no-fault state. This means that if you were injured in a car accident, for example, you would file a claim with your own insurer.
If your injuries crossed a certain threshold or your damages exceeded a certain amount, you would then file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer.
Everyone in New York Is Required to Carry Insurance
Everyone is required to carry insurance. There are varying minimums for car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other applicable policies. For car insurance, you are required to have:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in one accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury to all people in one accident
- $10,000 for property damage in one accident
Just because New York is a no-fault state does not mean that the other party is off the hook for your damages. Conversely, if you caused the accident, that does not mean that you escape liability, either.
How New York’s No-Fault Law Applies to You
Let’s look to the following scenarios to understand how New York’s no-fault system works:
- If you were a motorist who was hit by another car, you would file your claim with your own insurer before pursuing more money from the other driver.
- If you were a bicyclist struck by a motorist, you would file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance since you were not actively driving.
- If you were injured as a passenger on a bus, you would file a claim with your car insurance carrier. If you did not drive a car and have insurance, then you would file your claim with the bus company’s provider.
If you were harmed as a motorcyclist, the no-fault rule does not apply to you. You can immediately begin pursuing damages from the negligent driver.
Understanding The “Serious Injuries” Threshold
For the sake of explanation, we will explain New York’s no-fault laws through the lens of car accidents. If you were harmed in an accident, you would usually file a claim with your own insurer. However, per ISC §5102, serious injuries can include:
- The loss of a fetus
- The permanent loss of a bodily organ, member, function, or system
- The significant limitation of a bodily system or organ
The law also says that any impairment that lasts more than 90 days can also cross the serious injury threshold. If you suffered one or more of these impairments, you could be entitled to compensation through the other party’s liability insurance.
Damages You Can Recover under New York’s No-fault System
ICS §5102 says that you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages in the event of an accident.
Economic damages, which include your financial losses, can include:
- Medical bills: Including the cost of hospitalization, medications, physical evaluations, and lab tests
- Lost wages: From the time you could not work due to your injuries
- Loss of future earning capacity: If your injuries will prevent you from making money in the future
- Property damage costs: If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident
Additionally, you can recoup the cost of your non-economic damages, which can include:
- Mental anguish: If you developed mental health complications as a result of getting hurt
- Pain and suffering: Which pays for the cost of your physical and emotional hardships
- Loss of consortium: If your accident affected your relationship with your spouse
- Disability: If your injuries will prevent you from working full-time or living independently
- Scarring and disfigurement: If your injuries will alter the way you look
Depending on the nature and cause of your accident, you could recover other losses.
The Statute of Limitations in Your Case
Per CVP §214, you generally have three years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. Very few exceptions toll this deadline. You could have even less time to file your claim, depending on the facts of your case.
The New York State Department of Financial Service says that you generally have 30 to 90 days to file your claim, although this timeline may differ based on your insurance coverage details.
The Attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP Are Here to Fight for You
If you or a loved one was hurt in an accident, we can guide you through the process of recovering compensation for your losses. We can review New York’s no-fault insurance laws and determine how they apply to your case.
We also work on a contingency-fee-basis, meaning we finance the legal proceedings until your case is successfully resolved. You do not pay our attorney’s fees if we do not win your case. To begin a free case review with a member of our New York law firm, call (516) 358-6900.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900