How Does No-Fault Insurance Work?

In New York, if you own a vehicle, you are required by law to have a minimum level of car insurance. You are required to have:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury per person (when you cause a car accident)
  • $50,000 total liability bodily injury coverage per accident you cause (regardless of how many people are injured)
  • $10,000 liability coverage for property damage (per accident you cause)
  • $50,000 in no-fault (personal injury protection) coverage, and
  • ninsured motorist coverage¬†(for bodily injury sustained by you) subject to these same minimums.

So What Does This Mean?

Because New York is a “no-fault” state, when you are injured in a car accident, based on the minimum levels of car insurance that you are required to have, your own personal car insurance pays for your medical treatment and other out of pocket expenses for any injuries sustained in the accident regardless of who caused the accident. THis means, if you are responsible for the accident and our injured, your own car insurance will cover the costs.

However, if you are injured in a car accident that was due to someone else’s recklessness, with a no-fault claim, you cannot collect compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. If you wish to sue for non-economic damages, you must file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver. But in New York, in order for you to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, you must have suffered what New York State refers to a serious injury. A serious injury includes:

  • Disfigurement
  • Broken Bones
  • Loss of use of body organs
  • Disability for 90 days

But What About My Car?

New York’s no-fault insurance only applies to injuries and not property damage. If your car was damaged in the accident, you can bring about a property damage claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance. If you were at fault for the accident, then the liability coverage in your insurance policy that is mandated by the state will determine how much is covered.

a woman at desk attempting to understand negligence

Understanding The Different Types of Negligence

Negligence is a term used often in personal injury cases. In order for a plaintiff to seek compensation from an injury due to an accident (whether it be car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, etc), they must prove that the actions of the defendant were negligent.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant did the following four things:

  1. The defendant has a standard duty of care to uphold
  2. The defendant did not uphold the standard duty of care
  3. Because they did not uphold this standard duty of care, injuries were sustained
  4. These injuries led to measurable damages

An example of this is a medical malpractice case. It is common knowledge that doctors are responsible for providing adequate and accurate health care. If the doctor misreads a test result and does not provide the proper health care treatment, then he breached his duty of care. Because the doctor misread the test result, the patient suffered long-term injury and disability and therefore can no longer work. The patient has suffered lost wages and future earning potential due to the doctor’s misread test result.

Different Types of Negligence

There are several different types of negligence that can be proven regarding a personal injury case:

  • Gross Negligence – More than a careless action, gross negligence is when someone displays a complete lack of concern for safety or standard of care. An example of this is when a nurse fails to change the bandages of a patient resulting in an infection.
  • Comparative Negligence – This is when the plaintiff might be partially responsible for their injuries. This is common in car accident cases. A good example is a driver was moving through a green light but was struck by a vehicle running a red light. However, the driver wasn’t wearing his seat belt. He might be found partially liable for his injuries.
  • Reckless Conduct – This is a slightly different form of negligence because in this scenario the person breaching the duty of care did so with intent. They knew that they were breaching the duty of care and continued to do so. A common example of this is an accident caused by a driver speeding.
  • Strict Liability – In some cases, the person held liable is legally required to pay damages for an injury even if they weren’t negligent. For example, a dog owner might be required to pay for injuries sustained to a dog bite victim even if they were not acting in a negligent way when the accident occured.

Types of Damages Awarded From Negligence

Once negligence is proven, there are two different types of damages that can be collected is your personal injury case is successful:

  1. Economic damages – monetary compensations for measurable things such as lost income, future earning loss, medical bills, future medical bills, etc.
  2. Noneconomic damages – monetary compensation for things that are not measurable such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and mental anguish.

Contact Our New York Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence, the best course of action is to contact our New York personal injury attorney. Together, you will discuss the particulars of your case and work towards receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury.

Understanding tort laws and negligence