It can be confusing to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills after a collision, as New York is one of the few states that has adopted so-called “no-fault” insurance rules. Under these rules, a driver’s insurance company generally pays their medical bills after a car accident in New York. That said, there are exceptions to this rule.
If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of your own, you might be surprised at the different parties that could be on the hook for your expenses. If you are considering legal action after a wreck, our firm could help you navigate New York’s no-fault insurance rules.
Your Insurance Policy will Typically Cover Your Medical Expenses
The purpose of no-fault insurance rules is to ensure a driver has the funds to obtain the medical treatment they need after an accident. To meet that goal, state law typically requires drivers to seek insurance benefits through their own auto policy in order to secure compensation for their medical bills.
Drivers in New York must carry coverage known as “no-fault” insurance. These policies earn their name due to the fact that they will pay benefits to you regardless of who was at fault for the accident. With these policies, you could secure compensation for the cost of your medical treatment right away – even if you were solely responsible for the crash.
These policies usually carry at least $50,000 in benefits to cover expenses for each person’s injuries. These benefits will cover your medical expenses as well as your lost wages. These policies are the primary benefits when it comes to your medical bills. That means this policy typically must be exhausted first before you will have to seek other sources of compensation.
No-fault insurance policies cover any type of “necessary expenses” related to your medical treatment. Your policy will pay all of your necessary medical expenses up to the amount of your policy limits. Some common examples of necessary expenses include the cost of:
- Ambulance rides
- Hospital stays
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
Your Health Insurance Could Also Cover Some of Your Expenses
If you are facing more than $50,000 in medical expenses, you could be required to turn to other sources of insurance coverage. This could include benefits through your health insurance.
In general, health insurance carriers will only cover your medical expenses once you have exhausted the full amount of your no-fault policy. If your medical expenses do not meet the $50,000 policy limit, your health insurance will not step in and pay any of your expenses.
When a Civil Lawsuit Could Be an Option for You
There are situations where you could have the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Typically, the state’s no-fault rules prevent drivers from pursuing a civil lawsuit based on a car accident injury case. However, the rules allow a lawsuit to move forward if the plaintiff can show they meet the “serious injury threshold.”
If a driver suffered a serious injury in an accident, they can forego their reliance on no-fault insurance and seek financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Per ISC § 5102, serious injury is one that leads to:
- Fractured bones
- Loss of a fetus
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant limitation or permanent loss of a bodily function, organ, or system
- A non-permanent injury that prohibits a person from performing normal daily tasks for at least 90 days out of a 180-day period after the accident
Despite the list of conditions that could qualify, it is not always clear whether an injury meets the threshold. A personal injury lawyer in New York could help you demonstrate that you meet this threshold.
In some cases, an insurance company may try to challenge your claim of serious injury. They may attempt to downplay the extent of your injuries and lower your settlement amount. Our attorneys could help protect your rights and advise you on the best way to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Call Our Team to Determine Who Will Pay Your Medical Bills After an Accident
Still unsure about who pays medical bills after your car accident in New York? Thankfully, you do not have to get to the bottom of this question on your own. Our firm is ready to help you evaluate your case and advise you on your legal options.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP understands how to seek the best possible financial compensation in New York car accident cases. There is no time to delay when it comes to your personal injury case. To get started right away, call (516) 358-6900 for your free consultation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900