27 Jun No-Fault vs. At-Fault in New York
Whenever attorneys discuss automotive accidents, their culpability, and recovering damages, we have to consider state jurisdictions. There are some states that fall under a “no-fault” system, whereas other jurisdictions operate under an “at-fault” system.
New York is a no-fault state, which means you don’t ordinarily have to prove the other party was at fault to win your claim, but there are limitations and bureaucracy involved. In this post, we’d like to explain the differences between no-fault and at-fault systems. Then we’ll discuss what you can do to get more than what your automotive insurance will cover.
No-Fault vs. At-Fault
The difference between no-fault states and at-faults mostly amounts to how easy it is to sue for damages following an automotive accident. It’s substantially easier to do so in an at-fault location, where you can go straight to a lawsuit with fewer institutional/procedural barriers. Under those rules, you can also file a third-party complaint against an opponent’s auto liability insurance policy.
In no-fault areas, like New York, there is a much lengthier process for filing a lawsuit or third-party claims. All too often, when New Yorkers don’t understand their rights, they’ll just rely on their personal insurance policies to pick up the claim. That approach, however, doesn’t always yield the best results.
Insurance Considerations for Automotive Cases
New York is known for having some of the steepest requirements for carrying automotive insurance. Drivers have to carry at least four forms of coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance – This covers $50,000 worth of economic damages, medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses. It doesn’t cover property damage or DUI-related claims, which still depend on fault.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – The bodily injury insurance covers $25,000 per victim and $50,000 per accident.
Wrongful Death Liability Insurance – $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance – This covers those “hit and run” accidents, perpetrated by uninsured drivers.
Can You Exit the No-Fault System in New York?
Yet with all that insurance (which requires you to pay premiums, of course), you still don’t get as much as you could.
Fortunately, there are ways to “exit” the no-fault system and recover more damages if you experience serious injuries that exceed the insurance parameters. Those include bodily dismemberment/disfigurement, broken bones, loss of eyesight or hearing, organ loss, amputations, loss of a fetus, other bodily function losses, and death. So, whenever you suffer those injuries, you have the right to file an at-fault claim, and obtain greater recompense than the insurance payout.
If any of this still seems foreign or complicated, then don’t worry. This is one of many reasons it’s so essential to gain effective legal sponsorship before entering any personal injury claim. With the help of Gruenberg Kelly Della, you’ll have a much better opportunity to file a claim and win (either in or out of court).
Would you like to learn more about this topic or schedule a consultation?
Then contact us anytime for reputable legal guidance in New York by calling 631-737-4110.