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A primer on New York’s no-fault auto insurance

At the very least, auto accidents are a major inconvenience, and at worst, they can be life changing events.  If you’re involved in a car accident, the best thing you can do is accept it and take the necessary steps to put it behind you.

New York laws require that if someone is injured or killed in a car accident, all drivers are required to stay and attempt to render reasonable assistance.  Not doing so means a driver can be charged with hit-and-run and face severe penalties, including fines, jail time and loss of driver license.

Many accidents are caused by one or more drivers being negligent, defective auto parts or when roads are not well maintained.  Regardless of who is at fault, New York is one of 12 states that have enacted no-fault auto insurance.  This ensures that an insurance company will pay for medical expenses, lost earnings and related costs, no matter who is at fault in an accident.  Enacted in the 1970s, the goal of the law is to speed up compensation and avoid drawn-out litigation to determine who is at fault.  In New York, every driver is required to maintaina minimum liability insurance of:

  • $25,000/$50,000 for injuries
  • $50,000/$100,000 for deaths
  • $10,000 for property damage caused by one accident

Drivers are covered by this blanket coverage, assuming they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or engaged in any criminal activities at the time of the accident.

This means drivers do not have to sue other drivers who were at fault in an accident.  They must simply file a claim with their own insurance provider within 30 days of the accident.  It is important to note that no-fault insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle, it only covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle and personal property.

While you can file a no fault claim, one thing it does not cover is compensation for pain and suffering.  To pursue a claim for these damages, you’ll need to retain a car accident lawyer and file a separate suit.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.