The New York No-Fault System and How It Impacts Buffalo Car Accident Cases
Every year, car accidents in NY County take 40 lives, send 630 people in the hospital, and cause 4,830 visits to the emergency room. Under the circumstances, every traffic participant should be aware of their rights and options in case of a car accident which includes a right to having a Buffalo car accident lawyer. These are heavily influenced by the New York no-fault insurance system, explained in the following lines.
All about the No-Fault Car Insurance System in New York
As you may already know, all NY vehicle owners have the obligation to carry a minimum level of auto insurance coverage. Requirements refer to:
- $25,000 / person as liability coverage for personal injury
- $50,000 / event as liability coverage for personal injury
- $10,000 / event as liability coverage for property damages
- $50,000 / event as no-fault coverage for personal injuries
- uninsured motorist coverage for cases when the party at fault for the accident is uninsured / underinsured
In other states, the minimum requirements are reduced to liability coverage. In case an accident occurs, the victims will seek compensation from the insurer of the party at fault. They can only turn to their own insurer if they carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and the party at fault is uninsured/underinsured.
In New York, when an accident occurs, each party seeks compensation for their losses from their own insurer, within their policy limits, the minimum being $50,000. This policy, called “personal injury protection” or “medical benefits” covers medical expenses monetary damages.
What it does not cover is “pain and suffering” and other non-monetary losses. It does not cover property damage either. Does, someone injured in an accident they did not cause will seek compensation for their injuries from their own insurer and claim property damages from the party at fault.
If they want to recover further losses, like pain and suffering, they will have to file a claim with the insurer of the party at fault or sue the party at fault in civil court. However, in order for their claim to be accepted, they will have to prove one important aspect: that they incurred serious injuries.
What Serious Injuries Mean or When a Case Steps Outside the No-Fault Insurance System
According to NY state laws, in order for someone’s accident injuries to qualify as “serious”, certain conditions have to be met. The respective injuries have to imply:
- Considerable disfigurement
- bone fractures
- permanent limitations of using one or more body organs or members
- Considerable limitations of using one or more body functions or systems, or
- Full disability for minimum 90 days.
The persons whose injuries meet these requirements do not have to limit their claim to their own insurance coverage limits. They can go against the party at fault and either seek compensation from the latter’s insurance or sue the latter in court.
Claims involving pain and suffering, disability, and other non-economic losses can reach record amounts, so it is important that they follow the right approach from the beginning and rely on solid evidence.
It is also important for car accident victims to realize that no insurer or individual will voluntarily compensate them for all their losses. Insurance companies are in it for the profits, and individuals have limited resources. They will all do everything in their power to avoid paying or pay as little as possible.
For accident victims, their best chance to obtain a fair compensation is to work with an experienced Buffalo car accident lawyer. The latter will not only help them prove their case and recover all their losses, but also handle all the necessary formalities. This translates to valuable savings of time, energy, and even money.
Of course, in order to enjoy all these benefits, it is important to work with an experienced car accident attorney. They need to be versed not only in insurance claims but also in court trials. Their job will involve investigating the accident, gathering evidence, finding and interviewing witnesses, obtaining expert testimonies, and negotiating with insurance companies.
Contact an Experienced Buffalo Car Accident Lawyer Now!
You do not have to navigate the complicated NY legal system by yourself. Schedule a free consultation with one of a car accident attorney at Buffalo Car Accident Lawyers and you will receive all the information you need. They will review your case, explain the laws governing it, inform you of your options, and answer your questions. If you let them, they will take over all hassles and obtain the compensation you deserve. You have nothing to lose but a lot to win, so do not waste any more time!