Who Pays for Car Damage in a No-Fault State Like New York?
New York is one of the states that use no-fault laws. Basically, no-fault laws allow people who have been involved in an accident to be reimbursed for their losses by their own insurance company.
Nonetheless, no-fault benefits do not cover property damage. This means that the driver who was at fault for the car accident has to pay for any property damage.
In New York, drivers must carry at least $10,000 in property damage coverage. In most cases, the person who was not at fault will have to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to get compensated.
Understanding The Basics of No-Fault Insurance In New York State
No-fault laws are not used in every state in the country. However, New York is one of the few states with no-fault laws.
Benefits of New York’s No-fault Law
New York’s no-fault laws allow individuals who have been involved in an accident to recover compensation for their injuries from their own insurance companies regardless of who was at fault.
The main purpose of no-fault benefits is to help New Yorkers receive compensation and medical attention as soon as possible so they can quickly reincorporate into their usual activities.
Another purpose of these laws is to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits filed due to car accidents. Since no-fault benefits are conceded regardless of who was at fault or if there was negligence, it is not necessary to go to court to get compensation for medical expenses.
Under no-fault laws, it is only possible to file a personal injury lawsuit if they sustained a serious injury or their economic losses exceed $50,000.
The law classifies the following injuries as “serious injuries”:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
- 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 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
What Damage Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?
The following damages are covered by your own insurance policy, up to the limits of your coverage:
- Medical expenses: This includes all necessary medical treatment, including hospitalization, doctor’s visits, and medication.
- Lost wages: In New York, no-fault insurance can provide coverage for lost wages if you are unable to work due to injuries sustained in a car accident, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for up to three years. This coverage is subject to the policy’s limits and deductibles.
- Replacement services: If you are unable to perform tasks that are part of your normal daily routine, such as housekeeping or childcare, no-fault insurance can cover the cost of hiring someone to perform those tasks for you.
- Funeral expenses: If a person is killed in an accident, no-fault insurance can cover reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
It is important to note that no-fault insurance only covers damages related to the accident itself, not damages to other people’s property or injuries that exceed the serious injury threshold.
If you are found to be at fault for an accident, your liability insurance will cover damages to the other driver’s vehicle and any other property damage or injuries they sustained.
Who Receives No-Fault Benefits in New York?
In a no-fault insurance system, benefits are paid to the policyholder who has been injured in a car accident.
This means that if you are involved in a car accident in a no-fault state like New York, your own insurance company will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses related to your injuries, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
In addition to the policyholder, other individuals who may be eligible to receive no-fault benefits in New York include:
- Passengers in the policyholder’s car were injured in the accident.
- Pedestrians who are struck by the policyholder’s car.
- Bicyclists who are struck by the policyholder’s car.
Keep in mind that in order to receive no-fault benefits, you must file a claim with your own insurance company within a certain period of time after the accident. In New York, the deadline to file a no-fault claim is 30 days from the date of the accident.
How No-Fault Insurance Impacts Car Damage Claims in NY
In New York, the only way to get compensation for your injuries is by submitting a claim with your own insurance company.
As mentioned previously, the only two ways to step out of the no-fault system are:
- Having suffered a “serious injury”
- Having economic losses that exceed your policy limits
If none of these conditions are met, it is not feasible to file a lawsuit.
Since your own insurance provider is the one paying for your medical expenses and lost wages, you will need to give them evidence to support your claims.
Unfortunately, in most cases, insurance companies will try to pay as little as they can. Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney that knows how to negotiate with insurance companies. Y
ou do not want to end up settling for a low amount.
How Insurance Companies Determine Who Pays for Car Damage in a No-Fault State
Just like in any other state, you will need to provide the insurance company with evidence that can demonstrate that their insured was at fault.
You use police reports, photos, videos, or anything else that can clarify the details of the accident as evidence.
Insurance Policy Limits in New York
In New York State, the minimum insurance requirements for drivers are as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
This is often written as 25/50/10 coverage. It is important to note that these are only the minimum requirements and drivers may choose to purchase additional coverage for added protection.
If your car is damaged due to someone else’s negligence but the cost of the repair exceeds their policy limits, the insurance company will not pay more than the maximum allowed by the policy.
In this case, you can sue the at-fault driver for the exceeding amount. You can also use your own coverage to pay for the remaining amount.
In the event that your vehicle is damaged in a car accident but the repair costs exceed the book value of the car, the insurance company is legally allowed to pay just the amount reflected in the book.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Getting fair compensation for the damage that has been done to your property due to someone else’s negligence is crucial. Nonetheless, insurance companies will try to pay as little as possible.
Dealing with insurance companies at the same time that you are probably recovering from your injuries and being unable to work is very difficult. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can make a huge difference.
Car accident attorneys will not only help you gather all the evidence you need to make a claim, but they can also negotiate with insurance companies to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Greenberg & Stein P.C. is a prestigious NY personal injury law firm where you can find very experienced car accident attorneys ready to help you. Contact us at 888-716-3843 to schedule a free consultation to review your case.