A car accident is bad enough. But with an uninsured driver? In New York City?
NY Auto Insurance Requirements
Despite New York law requiring automobile owners to have insurance, the Insurance Research Council estimates that one in eight individuals nationwide don’t have it and drive their cars anyway. The odds are that you could find yourself hit by one of these drivers.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) is a required part of your insurance policy that covers property damage and medical bills should you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured party.
How Much Insurance?
Driving without insurance in New York is a criminal offense. The State of New York requires automobile owners to carry insurance for:
· $25,000 for bodily injury to one person
· $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons
· $10,000 for property damage in any one accident.
New York also requires proof of insurance to be carried on at all times. If you are stopped by police and cannot provide proof of insurance, even if you have coverage, you can be fined, arrested, your car impounded and your driver’s license suspended.
Uninsured Motorist Limits
New York requires all auto insurance policies to provide “uninsured motorist” (UM) coverage for bodily injury amounts the same as the minimum liability requirements. Insurers must offer these limits for $250,000 per person per accident, and $500,000 per accident, if an individual has liability limits of these amounts (or more.) Higher limit insurance is also available for supplemental insurance for uninsured and underinsured motorists.
“No-Fault” In New York
New York recognizes “no-fault” car accidents, and you must carry no-fault coverage of $50,000 (although many drivers carry more.) If you and/or anyone else under your policy was injured in a car accident, you would file a claim under your own “no-fault” policy no matter who bears the fault of the accident. However, if there were any serious injuries as a result of the accident, then a third party claim and a lawsuit can be filed. You or another person covered would have injuries such as:
· significant disfigurement
· bone fracture
· permanent limitation of use of body organ or member
· significant limitation of use of body function or system, or
· substantially full disability for 90 days
If the injuries meet any of these criteria, you can sue for things like pain and suffering, and other damages that aren’t available under “no-fault.”
Property damage claims can be pursued separately from the other party.
Are They Truly Uninsured?
Sometimes, a driver will say he or she has no insurance when they really do, for whatever reason. Since you’ll have to contact your own insurance company anyway, it’s possible for your own to find out if the other party is telling the truth. Because you’ll exchange information with the other party, you’ll have something to give to your insurance company to start with. NY Police will also be able to discover if the other party is uninsured.
If you discover that the other party truly is uninsured, your UM policy will come into force. You’ll file a claim with your own insurance company as you would if you were filing with the other party’s insurance company.
Call Us For Help
If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver and need help, call us at (212) 777-9400. As a family-owned personal injury law firm in New York City, we have more than 26 years of experience helping people just like you. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.