New York is one of twelve states that has a no-fault auto insurance law. With no-fault insurance, each person who is hurt in an accident is compensated by their own insurance companies for the costs of their injuries – regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Who is Covered?
This coverage is not limited to the drivers of cars, as passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists can also be covered if they have no-fault insurance policies. Coverage does not, however, apply to motorcyclists or their passengers – but it does apply to pedestrians hit by motorcycles.
The text of the no-fault accident law lists a number of reasons why an insurer may exclude an injured party from collecting damages. These reasons include:
- When someone is injured during the commission of a felony;
- When someone is injured while driving while intoxicated;
- When someone intentionally causes his or her own injury; or
- When someone is injured while engaging in a motor vehicle race, or a speed test.
How Much Can You Get in Damages?
The law only covers the cost of injuries that are under $50,000. If an injured party in an auto accident has a no-fault insurance policy, and has suffered more than $50,000 worth of damages, and they believe that another party is at fault, they have the option of filing a suit against that party for the remainder of their injury costs. They may also have the option of applying for additional no-Fault benefits, but only if a relative in their household has a policy that allows such benefits, or if the vehicle they were in at the time of the accident was covered by such a policy.
Another important aspect of no-fault insurance is that it only applies to the costs of physical injuries. Damage to property is not covered. Claims regarding property damages can be handled the traditional way, in the court system.
The state of New York gives accident victims a choice in whether they want to choose no-fault insurance. When someone without no-fault insurance is injured in an accident, they can still file a claim against another party to the accident.
Not all of the states with no-fault accident laws work this way. Several states – including New Jersey and Pennsylvania – do not allow “opting out” of the no-fault system.
What If You Don’t Have No-Fault Insurance?
If you don’t have no-fault insurance, you can still file a claim against the party who you believe was at fault. If you have already purchased an auto insurance policy that does not include the no-fault endorsement, you may be able to add it to your policy the next time that you renew it.
Finding an Attorney Who Will Fight For Your Rights
If you have been in a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial that you understand your rights. Paul Giannetti, a personal injury lawyer in Albany, has represented many survivors of auto accidents. You can schedule a free consultation today by calling the office at (866) 868-2960, or you can reach out online.