New York is different from most other states in that it is a no-fault state for automobile accidents. According to the law, anyone who is injured in a car accident is entitled to recover for economic damages, up to a total of $50,000, from his or her insurance company. This includes lost wages and medical bills.
The purpose of New York’s no-fault automobile law is to make sure that everyone who is injured in an automobile accident is promptly compensated for economic losses arising out of the accident. In addition, the law serves to reduce insurance premiums, lower the number of lawsuits (by eliminating car accident lawsuits for emotional damages), and encourage quick resolution of these claims without examining who was at fault in the accident.
Under the New York no-fault law, there are three kinds of damages that a person injured in a car accident can incur:
- Basic economic loss (which includes medical expenses and lost wages);
- Death benefit of $2,000 (which covers reasonable funeral expenses);
- Economic damages that surpass basic economic loss;
Can You Still Sue for Damages and Injuries?
The injured person’s insurance company must pay the first three categories, regardless of who was at fault in the accident, for injuries arising out of the “use and operation of a motor vehicle.” Fault only becomes an issue when the injured person intentionally caused his or her own injury, was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was injured while committing a felony.
Keep in mind that this will not completely preclude you from bringing a lawsuit against the person who caused the car accident. You can still sue, for negligence or intentional conduct or for damages that aren’t available on your insurance claim. In order to succeed on a claim for non-economic damages, you have to prove that you sustained a “serious injury” as a result of the car accident.
What to do if You Are in a No-fault Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New York, you have two options: you can file an insurance claim, or you can bring a civil action against the person who caused your injuries. Let the experienced New York car accident lawyers at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. help you. For a free initial consultation, simply fill out the form on this page.