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New York No-Fault Law

No Fault Insurance Statement of Damages documentIf you have been injured in car accident in New York, you may be confused about the role that no-fault insurance rules play in your lawsuit or settlement.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye has been representing car accident victims since 1952 and can help you through the no-fault claim process.

No fault insurance New York

When it comes to liability, most states follow a fault-based system – in an accident, medical bills and lost wages are paid by the person responsible or his insurer. But New York is one of 12 states that instead follow the no-fault system. In theory, the damages are to be paid by the injured person’s own insurance policy.

NY lawmakers intended the no-fault system to simplify the claims process and reduce personal injury lawsuits. Instead, the rules can make the recovering for your injury more complicated.

Pros and cons of no-fault claims

With no-fault insurance, there is no reason to spend time and money trying to prove that the other driver caused the accident. This means that insurance companies are free to pay for medical bills and other medically necessary costs, up to $50,000 per person, quickly.

The catch is that no-fault insurance does not cover property damage – including the cost to repair or replace a vehicle. And if the $50,000 limit is not enough compensation, you may need to look at other insurance policies that may apply, consider filing a Social Security Disability claim, or sue the party at fault based on the serious injury exception to the law.

Who is covered by no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance is sometimes known as personal injury protection – a motorist is protected by his or her own auto insurance policy or the policy of a family member in the same household. If neither you nor any member of your household has auto insurance then your claim would be filed with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.

In addition, to be covered by no fault insurance in NY:

  • You must be a driver or passenger in a vehicle, a cyclist or a pedestrian – NY no-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles
  • The accident must have occurred in New York
  • Your vehicle must have been registered in New York
  • You must not have been injured while operating the motor vehicle while intoxicated

What is not covered by no-fault insurance?

New York no-fault policies do not pay for property damage; for this, you may have to file a claim against the other person’s insurance policy. To recover this way, you need to be able to establish that the other driver was at fault. New York car accident lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye understand the legal and factual thresholds that you must establish to succeed in this kind of case.

No-fault policies also do not pay for pain and suffering – this also requires a separate claim against the other person’s policy. Pain and suffering payments are only allowed if you can show a “serious injury,” which means a personal injury that results in:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Miscarriage
  • Permanent loss of the use of a body part or significant limitation to the use of a body function
  • Certain impairments that impact daily life

Proving a serious injury is not as simple as picking a diagnosis from the list in the No Fault statute. The courts decide case-by-case whether an injury meets the serious injury threshold. This is where having a lawyer experienced in NY auto accidents is so important. The attorneys at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye know how the courts’ interpretation of serious injuries affects your case and they work hand-in-hand with doctors to show your impairment.

How to file a no-fault claim

There are several steps involved in filing a no-fault claim:

  • Determine where to file. If you are insured with a New York auto policy, then in most cases you will file a claim with your own insurer. But this changes in a few cases, like if you do not have insurance or if a motorcycle was involved.
  • Provide written notice of the accident within 30 days of the accident
  • Submit medical bills within 45 days
  • Submit any lost wages claim within 90 days

If you have been injured in an accident in New York, do not wait to file a claim – an injured party only has 30 days from the accident to provide the no-fault carrier with written notice of a claim. NY no-fault laws are intended to provide a quick process to resolve relatively minor personal injury claims. The trade-off is that by waiting to file a claim you could lose the right to compensation.

What if my no-fault claim is denied?

If all or part of your no-fault claim is denied, you can file a request for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. Arbitration is technically voluntary, in that each party must agree to it, but insurance policies generally contain an arbitration clause. Courts usually find that policyholders have agreed to participate in arbitration because of this clause.

Arbitration is like a trial in that a neutral third party reviews the evidence and makes a binding decision. But the process is less formal and less expensive. If you are unfamiliar with the process or with New York’s no-fault rules, it is a good idea to retain an attorney to represent you in an arbitration.

Assistance filing a car accident lawsuit in NY

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident in New York, Long Island or Staten Island, you can trust that the legal team at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye will fight for your rights. Contact our attorneys for a free consultation to learn more about your rights to recover damages through filing a car accident lawsuit.  Please call us toll free at 1-800-469-7429.

  1. NY Department of Financial Services, Shopping for Auto Insurance, http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/auto/auto1202.htm
  2. NY Department of Financial Services, Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law aka “The No-Fault Law”, http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/r68/r68_art51.htm
  3. American Arbitration Association, NY Insurance ADR Frequently Asked Questions, https://nysinsurance.adr.org/FAQ_public.jsp