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Can You Sue For A New York Car Accident If You Are Not Hurt?

Posted in Car Accidents on June 15, 2021

Most car accidents result in injuries. The injuries may be minor, or an accident victim could sustain catastrophic injuries. Some walk away from car crashes with no injuries.

To recover compensation for a car accident in New York, you must sustain “damages.” New York law requires you to file a no-fault insurance claim with your own insurance provider for your damages. Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, there are restrictions on when an accident victim may sue for a car accident.

New York’s No-Fault Insurance for Car Accidents

New York requires each driver to purchase minimum amounts of insurance in case of a car accident, including no-fault and liability insurance.

Drivers must have at least:

  • No-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage ($50,000)
  • Liability insurance coverage for bodily injuries and death ($25,000 for bodily injury not resulting in death and $50,000 for injuries resulting in death – the amounts are doubled if more than one person is injured or killed)
  • Uninsured motorist insurance coverage (coverage is the same minimum limits as liability insurance)

If you are injured in a car crash, your first step is to file a claim with your insurance carrier under your PIP coverage. No-fault insurance pays benefits regardless of who caused the accident.

Under a basic no-fault automobile insurance policy, you can receive compensation for your reasonable and necessary medical expenses. You may also receive up to 80 percent of your lost wages if you are unable to work. The medical expenses and lost income benefits have some restrictions.

You may also receive up to $25 per day for a year to reimburse you for other expenses, such as transportation costs to doctors’ appointments and help with household chores.

When Can I Sue the Other Driver After a Car Accident?

Under New York’s insurance laws, you cannot sue after a car accident unless you sustain a “serious injury.”

Serious injury is defined under §5102(d) of the New York Insurance Code as a personal injury that results in:

  • Death
  • Loss of an unborn baby
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent loss of use of a body member, organ, function, or system
  • Significant disfigurement
  • A permanent substantial limitation of the use of a body system or function
  • A fracture
  • Significant limitation of the use of a body system or function

In addition to the above, a serious injury may also be any medically determined impairment or injury that prevents an injured person from performing substantially all of the person’s daily activities. The impairment does not need to be permanent, but it must prevent the person from performing daily activities for at least 90 of the 180 days immediately following the car accident.

If your injuries meet or exceed the definition of a serious injury, the law allows you to file a lawsuit after a car accident. The lawsuit is filed against the party who is responsible for the car crash. The purpose of filing a lawsuit after a car accident is to seek compensation for damages caused by the collision.

Damages for a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident

The types of damages that you might recover for a car accident claim depend on the circumstances of the case. However, accident victims are generally entitled to compensation for their economic damages and non-economic damages.

Examples of the types of damages included in a car accident lawsuit are:

  • Medical expenses and bills related to the treatment of accident injuries
  • The loss of income and benefits, including a decrease in future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering damages, including scarring, physical pain, disfigurement, emotional distress, and mental anguish
  • Disabilities and permanent impairments
  • Loss of enjoyment of life and decreased quality of life

There could be other damages included in a personal injury claim, depending on the facts of the case. Most personal injury claims settle without filing a lawsuit. The liability insurance company for the at-fault driver negotiates a settlement with the accident victim.

However, there are cases in which a lawsuit might be necessary. For example, car accident lawsuits might be necessary when an insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement. You may need to file a lawsuit after a car accident if the other party denies causing the collision.

Car accident lawsuits are also filed when the amount of damages exceeds the insurance policy limits. You can seek a personal judgment against the driver who caused the car crash. A car accident lawyer can review your case and advise you about the best option for seeking compensation for your damages.

To learn more, call one of our convenient locations nearest you for assistance.

New York City law office at (212) 564-2800,
Brooklyn law office at (718) 802-1600.

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