New York’s no-fault car insurance laws were intended to simplify auto accident claims. However, as anyone who has tried to get a reasonable settlement after a crash can tell you, navigating the system is not easy.
Most people who suffer injuries in crashes benefit from working with a dedicated personal injury attorney. Legal representation makes the claims process go smoother, and you often collect more damages than you would if you handled the claim yourself.
Our firm has represented many auto collision victims over the years, and we would like to assist you. Call one of our Williamsville car accident lawyers soon after the accident to find out how we can help you get an appropriate settlement for your injuries.
Understanding the No-Fault Process
The law requires every driver in the state to have liability insurance before they can register a vehicle. Minimum liability coverage for bodily injury is $25,000 for each individual and $50,000 total. Once on the road, drivers must also have uninsured motorist coverage and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover their injuries. The minimum PIP in the state is $50,000, but motorists can increase the coverage for an additional cost.
A driver who suffers injuries in a crash must turn to their PIP to pay their medical expenses. PIP also reimburses a portion of lost wages. However, it does not offer compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In addition, healthcare expenses add up quickly, and a driver who suffers significant injuries might find that their PIP does not fully cover them.
Even if an injury is not severe, if the effects linger and the individual requires ongoing treatment such as physical therapy for a significant time, they might exhaust their benefits. In that case, they might need to go to court to get compensation for the rest of their losses. A Williamsville attorney could help an injured driver submit a PIP claim following a car wreck and stand in their corner to represent their needs if its benefits are insufficient.
For a free legal consultation with a car accident lawyer serving Williamsville, call (716) 300-5885
Establishing a Right to Go to Court
One reason for implementing a no-fault system is to reduce the burden on New York courts. To be successful in a car accident lawsuit, it must be proven that an injured person’s injuries are serious as defined by New York law.
When PIP is inadequate to cover an injured driver’s losses, or if a driver’s liability insurance does not fully cover a passenger’s damages, they can pursue a civil action if they have a serious injury. New York Insurance Law §5102(d) includes the following injuries in its definition of a serious injury:
- A fractured bone
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent loss of use of a bodily organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent limitation of use of a limb or organ
- Significant limitation of use of a bodily function or system
- Loss of a fetus
- An injury or impairment that prevents the injured from performing their usual daily activities for 90 or more days during the 180 days following the incident
In addition, if an injury is fatal, the victim’s family could seek a wrongful death action against the responsible driver. A Williamsville car crash attorney at our firm can review medical records to determine whether someone’s injuries are severe enough under the law to be successful in a car accident lawsuit. If necessary, they can engage a medical expert to offer an opinion.
Williamsville Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (716) 300-5885
Contact a Williamsville Car Accident Attorney for Help Seeking Compensation
Auto collisions are unnerving, especially if you are hurt. You deserve to get the full benefit of your PIP coverage and to collect for all the losses it does not cover.