• New York’s No-Fault Laws: An Overview

New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law offers benefits (quick payments for expenses) and restrictions (on lawsuits for pain and suffering). This document provides an overview of New York’s No-Fault insurance law and regulations and offers guidelines for you to follow if you are involved in an accident. This document does not provide legal advice, which you can only receive by consulting an attorney. If you have questions or think you may have a lawsuit, please feel free to contact me at 1-800-660-1466 or send me an email at Carol@Schlittlaw.com. You can learn more by visiting my web site.

An Overview of New York’s No-Fault Law

New York is one of 12 states that have a No-Fault auto insurance program.  As the name suggests, under the No-Fault law, insurance coverage does not depend upon who is to blame in an accident. New York State’s No-Fault law requires your insurance company to pay up to $50,000 for accident-related medical expenses, lost earnings and incidental costs, no matter who is at fault. The coverage includes the driver and passengers and the covered expenses include not only medical costs, but lost wages for up to three years and related expenses.

If a pedestrian or bicyclists is struck by a car, under New York’s No-Fault insurance law, the insurance company of the driver of the car would cover the pedestrian or bicyclist. New York’s No-Fault insurance does not cover drivers or passengers on a motorcycle.

New York’s No-Fault law enables people to receive payment for medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses fair compensation without having to go to court to prove who was at fault in an accident. Under this law, the injured parties do not have to sue to prove fault and collect benefits. However, there is a trade-off: New York’s No-Fault Law also limits the ability of people injured in a motor vehicle accident to sue for additional damages or pain and suffering.

If you believe you should receive compensation beyond the No-Fault coverage, you will need to bring a legal action to collect that compensation. You should consult with a New York attorney experienced with motor vehicle cases and the New York’s No-Fault law. I have extensive experience in this field and would be glad to discuss any questions you may have. You should call me at 1-800-660-1466 or send me an email at Carol@Schlittlaw.com.

Filing a No-Fault Claim

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact your auto insurance carrier and notify them of the accident. Your auto insurance company is your No-Fault carrier. You will then submit all medical expense, claims for lost wages and claims for reimbursement of other expenses to that carrier.

If you were a passenger in an accident or a pedestrian of bicyclist struck by a car in New York, you are entitled to No-Fault benefits, You will need to contact the insurance company for the driver to file for your No-Fault benefits. You must file a notice within 30 days of the accident or you may lose your benefits.

Claiming No-Fault benefits in New York requires you to file a Notice of Accident form (the NF-2) to the insurer of the car you were in when the accident occurred. Pedestrians or bicyclists should send the NF-2 form to the insurer of the vehicle that hit them. You must file a written notice within 30 days. You will do best to submit the NF-2 form within 30 days of the accident to qualify for benefits. Do not delay. If you are unsure if you need benefits, send the form to protect your rights.

No-Fault Benefits: Medical Expenses

The No-Fault benefits should cover your medical expenses. If you receive medical care due to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, make sure your doctors and other health care providers know that your case involves a motor vehicle accident. Tell them that No-Fault insurance will cover your medical expenses should be covered by No-Fault. You will need to give them the name of the insurance company along with the policy number and/or claim number. Your doctor or other medical providers should bill the No-Fault insurance company directly, but if they send you a bill, you should contact the No-Fault carrier. New York State regulations set the reimbursement rates for healthcare providers paid by No-Fault.

No-Fault Benefits: Lost Earnings

Basic No-Fault coverage entitles you to receive 80% of your accident-related lost earnings up to $2,000 a month paid over a maximum of three years. To qualify, your employer must submit proof of your wages, the reason you cannot work and your loss of income. Your employer must submit that information within 90 days of the accident. If your employer fails to submit he necessary information on time, you lose out on your benefits. The lesson: make sure your employer sends the information to the No-Fault carrier.

No-Fault Benefits: Other Expenses

You are entitled to receive coverage for any expenses you incurred because of the accident. For example, if you need to fill a prescription, No-Fault should pay for that medicine. If you need to take a taxi or a bus to a doctor’s appointment, No-Fault should cover that expense. Even if you have to hire someone to help with housework or babysitting because of your injuries, No-Fault should pay for those expenses that you would not have otherwise incurred if you had not had the accident.

Seeking Compensation Beyond No-Fault Insurance

While No-Fault coverage will pay for most medical expenses, lost wages and other expenses, it will not cover beyond $50,000 and does not compensate for pain and suffering.  If you believe you should receive compensation beyond the No-Fault coverage, you will need to bring a legal action to collect that compensation. You should consult with a New York attorney experienced with motor vehicle cases and the New York’s No-Fault law. I have extensive experience in this field and would be glad to discuss any questions you may have. You should call me at 1-800-660-1466 or send me an email at Carol@Schlittlaw.com.

Threshold Requirements to Seek Compensation Beyond New York’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Insurance Benefits

To seek compensation beyond the No-Fault limits, New York State Insurance Law requires you to prove that you sustained a “serious” injury as a result of the accident. New York Insurance Law [§5102(d)] defines serious injury as follows and you must satisfy at least one of these seven definitions:

1.                  Personal injury which results in death;
2.                  Dismemberment; significant disfigurement;
3.                  Fracture;
4.                  Loss of a fetus;
5.                  Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
6.                  Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
7.                  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 ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

Many motor vehicle accidents result in soft-tissue injuries which can be very painful and debilitating. Recent court rulings in New York are making it harder to meet these insurance threshold requirements. Soft tissue injuries must meet item six or seven and require documentation of specific injuries, extensive treatment and lost or limited functionality. Understanding and meeting the threshold standards requires the counsel of an New York attorney experienced with No-Fault cases. I have extensive experience in this field and would be glad to discuss any questions you may have. You should call me at 1-800-660-1466 send me an email at Carol@Schlittlaw.com.

This information is intended for education purposes. It is not legal advice. If you want legal advice, you should consult with an attorney.

Carol L. Schlitt – A New York Car Accident Attorney

I hope you have found this overview of New York’s No-Fault law helpful. If you have been involved in a car accident in New York,  you may need the advice of a lawyer experienced with handling these cases. If you think you have a car accident case or if you have questions, please call me and I will be glad to discuss your rights, answer your questions and help you with your potential case. You can call me at 1-800-660-1466 or send me an e-mail at Carol@SchlittLaw.com. The consultation is free and I will be glad to help you.

Carol L. Schlitt
New York Personal Injury Attorney
1-800-660-1466
Carol@SchlittLaw.com.

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