New York has been a no-fault auto insurance state since the 1970s thanks to Article 51. One of 12 states to be so, the idea behind the no-fault system is that regardless of fault, your insurance company will pay (within the limits of the policy) medical bills, property damage and possible economic loss to the person or persons injured in the car accident. Simply put: you make a claim with your own insurance company regardless of whether the accident was your fault. It was designed to speed up insurance payments to victims for expenses and to restrict the number of lawsuits in the courts.
According to its Department of Financial Services, New York State requires drivers to carry at least $25,000 in liability insurance for bodily injury of an individual, $50,000 for bodily injury of all persons involved as well as $10,000 for property damage. Motorists must also have $50,000 in mandatory no fault coverage. While many drivers carry higher amounts than this, there are also individuals on the road who are not insured. New York also requires all auto insurance policies to provide uninsured motorist coverage (referred to as SUM) with the same minimums.
If you get into an accident and your medical bills are greater than your coverage, your medical insurance will pay from the point car insurance ends. If you have no health insurance, you are responsible for paying your additional bills.
A personal injury claim is separate than the no-fault claim. Even in a no fault state, the injured party has the right to sue for such damages as pain and suffering as well as legitimate economic losses if the amount of damage is larger than the insurance policy. If this is the case, you can make a personal injury claim. If you choose to pursue this course of action, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against those accused of causing the injury.
If you get into an accident in New York, the first thing you should do is stop and exchange information (name, license number, phone number and insurance info) with the other driver(s) if there is vehicle damage. Contact the police within 10 days to fill out a police report if the damage is $1,000 or more. Call 911 immediately if someone is injured or killed.
If you were injured in an accident, the smart course of action is to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury claims here in New York. While no amount recompense will replace the inconvenience or the pain and anguish suffered, a skilled attorney can ensure that you have a chance to recover the full extent of lost income and expenses.