The State of New York follows a “no-fault” law when it comes to car accidents and personal injury. This law means that if you’re in a car accident in NY, then you must first collect from your own insurance no matter who caused the accident. When serious injury is involved, only then can you step outside of the no-fault system to file a liability claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
New York’s no-fault laws can have a serious effect on your personal injury case, and if you don’t meet the “serious injury” threshold, you have limits in terms of financial compensation from your own insurance company. Below, we’ve included some information to help you understand the nuances of the no-fault law, and what it means for your personal injury lawsuit. But first, if you’ve been in an accident and need the leading Manhattan personal injury lawyers around, then call the attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today for a free consultation.
Overview of “Fault” in NYC Personal Injury Cases
The no-fault system mostly applies to car accidents, and in other instances of personal injury, the NY courts follow a shared fault rule. This means that, in some personal cases, the individual or business you’re trying to hold liable may argue that you partially share some of the fault. If the courts find that you’re partially liable for your own injuries, it can affect the total amount of compensation you may be able to receive (let’s say you’re 10% at fault for an accident, and you’re suing for $10,000 in damages. The maximum settlement, in this case, will be $9,000).
No-fault is completely different. The no-fault rule states that you must turn to your own insurance company first if you were in an automobile accident. Your own insurance should cover medical bills and get you reimbursement for lost income (in most cases).
New York No-Fault Law
Under NY’s no-fault rules, the maximum amount recoverable per person (according to Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law) is $50,000. This is known as basic economic loss, and it aims to cover the following:
- Medical, hospital, surgical, nursing, dental, ambulance, x-ray, prescription drug, and prosthetic services
- Psychiatric, physical and occupational therapy, and rehabilitation
- Non-medical remedial care and treatment rendered in accordance with a religious method of healing recognized by New York laws
- Any other professional health services (with limitations)
- Lost earnings up to $2,000 per month for up to 3 years
“Serious Injury” Threshold
However, when serious injury occurs, the amount in damages can be astronomically higher than $50,000. According to Article 51, “serious injury” is a personal injury resulting in death, dismemberment or significant disfigurement, fractures, permanent loss of use of a body part or organ, permanent limitation of a body organ or member, or significant limitation of a body organ or member. As you can see, the threshold for serious injury isn’t always clear.
If your injuries don’t meet the “serious injury” threshold, then you cannot (in the majority of cases) recover more than $50,000 in damages and you can’t collect for things like pain and suffering.
If the injuries do meet the threshold, you might be entitled to pursue a claim. Call the NYC personal injury attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier by dialing (212) 777-9400.