Basic information and podcasts from Anthony LoBiondo, Esq., award winning NYS personal injury attorney with 23 years of winning cases.
Monday, January 13, 2014
The Basics of "No Fault Law" in NYS after an Auto Accident
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Let's start with the basics. First, what is "No Fault Law" in New York State?
This statute was enacted to ensure that insurance companies would pay for expenses incurred after an auto accident, from medical expenses, to lost earnings to "incidentals," without getting into who was "at fault."
Where does this No Fault Coverage come from?
If you are involved in a collision involving a vehicle, in New York State, and you are injured, the No-Fault statute will kick in. The No Fault insurance coverage you receive will either be from the vehicle the injured party was operating in, was a passenger in; or another vehicle which the injured party was injured/ hit by or had contact with.
How does this affect my lawsuit for personal injury damages?
These are two separate matters. If you suffered a personal injury to your body, as a result of a vehicle collision, due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to damages for the injury, your pain and suffering, loss of future wages and the like. No Fault coverage is separate and different from a personal injury claim / lawsuit.
No-Fault is there to ensure that, regardless of fault, an insurance company will pay up a minimum of $50,000.00 for the economic losses, such as medical expenses, resulting from the vehicle accident. Medical expenses includes emergency care, medical and doctor bills, prescription expenses, diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and MRI’s; and to some extent items such as physical therapy; and may include wages lost as a result of the accident. Any ADDITIONAL claims, such as pain and suffering or future lost wages should be pursued by an attorney in the form of a separate and distinct lawsuit.
New York No-Fault Law applies to any cyclist, pedestrian, passengers, or driver injured by a motor vehicle in New York. The conditions that must be met to qualify for No-Fault coverage:
The accident occurred in New York.
The injured party was the driver or passenger of the insured vehicle or a cyclist or pedestrian struck by or in contact with the motor vehicle.
The vehicle must be a car, truck, bus, taxi (not a motorcycle) or other vehicle covered by New York No-Fault law.
The vehicle is registered in New York.
The vehicle has an insurance policy sold in New York or issued by a company licensed to do business in the State of New York.
What is the Procedure to file for No-Fault?
Typically, you may obtain the no-fault application form from the insurance carrier of the car that struck you, you came into contact with, that you were driving or in which you were a passenger.
Can I get No Fault Coverage from my OWN Insurance Company? What is PIP?
Many people don't realize that they get no fault coverage from their OWN insurance company, unless you were injured as a pedestrian or cyclist. In these instances, you may request or send the No Fault application to your insurance company as well. You may have benefits under your policy such as excess PIP (additional no-fault coverage above $50,000). The application can be requested by phone but it is recommended to also request it by mail, certified return receipt requested.
How long do I have?
Be aware that you have only 30 days from the date of the incident to file the No Fault application. If you get nothing else from this Blog, do remember to act quickly, don't delay for the variety of reasons that people have. Remember that the act of filing the application does not obligate you to start a claim. You can always change your mind.
OK, I filed, now what?
Once your No Fault claim is filed, you should receive a no-fault claim number. Open up a "file" for yourself and keep in it the Claim number, the name and contact information for the insurance company and the adjuster assigned.
No Fault coverage is not a lifetime endeavor. The insurance company will want you to be removed from their coverage sooner rather than later. You may expect to be examined by a physician or medical specialists to determine in his or her opinion whether you need additional treatment or your treatment and no-fault benefits should be terminated. This doctor hired by the insurance company will also decide whether you are still disabled or can return to work.
Prepared by Anthony LoBiondo, Esq.
For more information or a free consultation involving this topic or if you have been injured in an auto or other collision, protect your rights by contacting him immediately for a free consultation. If you are injured and unable to move, you may have someone come to you at the hospital or rehab center. Call (845) 569-7600 office or (845) 742-7133 cell phone. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org