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Is New York a No-Fault State?

Posted in New York Law on April 3, 2023

Is New York a No-Fault State?

Car accidents generate more personal injury claims than any other type of accident. If you suffer an injury from a car accident, you will naturally seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, and, perhaps, your intangible losses such as pain and suffering.

Two auto accident compensation systems prevail in the United States: at-fault and no-fault. New York is a no-fault state. In a no-fault system, you normally don’t have to prove that the opposing party was at fault to win.

At-Fault vs. No-Fault Systems

At-fault and no-fault systems begin to diverge immediately after an auto accident. In an at-fault system, an injury victim can proceed directly to filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Although there is no guarantee that they will win their claim, there are no procedural barriers to filing a lawsuit. Another approach you can take in an at-fault system is to file a third-party complaint against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance policy.

Under New York’s no-fault system, by contrast, an injury victim must jump through procedural hoops before filing a lawsuit or filing a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance. Normally, injured victims must look to their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their losses.

New York’s Auto Insurance Requirements

New York law requires drivers of cars registered in New York to purchase a certain amount of mandatory auto insurance before driving their cars on public roads. New York’s auto insurance requirements include:

  • $50,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance will cover your economic damages, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and incidental expenses such as child care. Although it will pay even if the accident was your fault, it will not pay if you were driving while intoxicated. Property damage is still based on fault.
  • Bodily injury liability insurance of $25,000 per victim and $50,000 per accident. This injury covers your liability to others. It also covers $10,000 in property damage liability.
  • Wrongful death liability insurance with limits of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
  • Uninsured motorist insurance with the same injury and death benefits as liability insurance. This insurance will compensate you for the consequences of a hit-and-run accident.

New York’s mandatory insurance requirements are some of the most burdensome in the nation.

Exiting the No-Fault System

You might find New York’s no-fault system insufficient if you suffer a serious enough injury, if your expenses exceed PIP limitations, or if you want to pursue non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

New York allows you to exit its no-fault system and proceed under a fault-based system if your injuries are “serious,” as defined by New York law. The disadvantage is that you have to prove fault. The advantage is that you can seek non-economic damages.

Under New York law, a “serious” injury includes:

  • Bone fractures;
  • Significant bodily disfigurement;
  • Bodily dismemberment;
  • Limitation of a bodily function;
  • Permanent loss of a bodily function or system (sight or hearing, for example);
  • Permanent loss of a body part or organ (amputation of an arm, for example, or loss of a kidney);
  • Loss of a fetus; or
  • Death.

In the event that the victim dies, the personal representative of the victim’s probate estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This injury must be at least semi-permanent in that it must prevent the victim from living normally for at least three months out of the first six months after an accident.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With a New York Auto Accident Lawyer

If you were involved in a fender-bender, you might not even need a lawyer to help you resolve your claim. On the other hand, you might believe you suffered only slight injuries, only to find out later that your injuries are more serious than you thought. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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