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.