New York’s No-Fault Laws and the Serious Injury Threshold

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What is a No-Fault State?

Several states, including New York, operate under a “no-fault” system for car accidents. In a no-fault state, the automotive insurance policy providing coverage for the vehicle in which someone is injured is responsible for covering the cost of medical treatment for injuries sustained during the accident, regardless of who is determined to be at fault for the accident.

In compliance with New York laws, each driver must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP), or No-Fault insurance, that provides a minimum coverage of $50,000 per person, per accident. This PIP mandate aims to help injured drivers and passengers heal as quickly as possible by covering the cost of necessary medical expenses and can also provide reimbursement for lost wages up to a certain amount per month.

How Does the No-Fault System Work in New York?

To recover compensation after a car accident in New York, you must first file a claim with the proper insurance company within 30 days of the date of the accident. This is true even if the other driver was at fault for the accident.

Although no-fault insurance will provide coverage for the cost of your medical treatment and economic loss, the no-fault system in New York does not provide for compensation for you for your non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering. To recover compensation for your non-economic losses from the at-fault driver, you must meet New York State Insurance Law’s “serious injury” threshold.

The Serious Injury Threshold

The serious injury threshold is a legal requirement that must be met to bring a meritorious lawsuit against the at-fault driver. To meet the serious injury threshold, you must have sustained a “serious injury” as defined under the law. A serious injury under the law, includes the following:

  • Death, dismemberment, or significant disfigurement;
  • Fracture;
  • Loss of a fetus;
  • Permanent loss of use of body organ, member, function or system;
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
  • Results in a qualified medical professional’s determination that you have suffered an injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents you from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute your usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the first 180 days immediately following your accident.

In addition, if your economic losses are greater than $50,000, your injury is likely to meet this threshold.

Buffalo Car Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, it’s important to call an experienced car accident attorney right away. The team at Richmond Vona, LLC helps car accident victims throughout the Buffalo area recover compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers.

Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your legal options by calling (716) 500-5678 or filling out this short form.


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