Understanding No-Fault Insurance in MVAs in Long Island

Understanding No-Fault Insurance in MVAs in Long Island

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How Does No-Fault Insurance Apply to Auto Accidents in Long Island?

Long Island is notorious for its traffic, and that means that it also has more than its fair share of motor vehicle accidents. While other states may require drivers to prove fault to be able to get payment from the insurance company for their injuries, New York has simplified this system with its no-fault insurance laws and mandatory Personal Injury Protection coverage.

Understanding No-Fault Insurance

New York is one of only a dozen states in the country that is classified as a no-fault state. Drivers are required to carry no-fault coverage, also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), liability coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage. The no-fault portion of the insurance policy covers financial expenses related to injuries from a car accident. This most commonly includes lost earnings due to time off of work and medical expenses, including those related to the initial treatment and any ongoing necessary medical care.

When an accident happens, the parties file claims with their own insurance companies. The insurance company pays out according to the coverage limits of that policy without needing to show that the other driver was at fault. The benefit to this type of system is that it usually means that victims get reimbursement for their expenses faster than if they had to prove fault and go through the other party’s insurance company. However, depending on your policy, your medical bills and expenses could total more than your coverage limit.

Coverage Limits Under No-Fault Insurance

Each insurance policy has coverage limits. While it may be possible to purchase additional insurance, basic no-fault policies in New York generally reimburse victims for up to 80 percent of their lost earnings from work, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month. This is also limited to a time period of up to three years from the accident. Basic no-fault coverage also pays up to $50,000 per person for medical bills and related expenses.

Coverage is not available if the victim was under the influence of any impairing substances while driving or they intentionally caused the injuries. Injuries sustained while driving in a stolen car or while committing any felony will also not be covered.

What Happens After a Motor Vehicle Accident?

After you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, the first step should be to report the accident to the police and your insurance company. If the injuries are minor and you don’t require extensive medical treatment, you will probably be able to just file a claim through your PIP coverage and receive reimbursement from your insurance company. There are specific time lines for how long you have to file reimbursement claims from your provider, so make sure you’re aware of those deadlines. Depending on your insurance, you may also be asked to complete an independent medical exam. If you refuse, the insurance company has the right to deny your claim.

If you suffered serious injuries in the accident, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. If you only have basic PIP coverage, it doesn’t take long for medical bills and lost earnings to exceed the $50,000 limit. Talking with an attorney early on can help you understand whether you might be able to file a negligence-based personal injury claim. They can also advise you on what you should tell your insurance company and how to keep and organize documentation for your claim.

When Should You File a Personal Injury Claim?

If your medical bills and expenses don’t exceed the coverage limit for no-fault insurance, you won’t be able to file a personal injury claim. However, if you’re still stuck with thousands of dollars in bills after the insurance has reached its limit, pursuing a personal injury claim based on the driver’s negligence could help you recover more compensation. To file a personal injury suit for a car accident in New York, your expenses must exceed the coverage limit and there must have been serious bodily injury.

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents is three years in the state of New York. This is how long you can wait before filing a lawsuit for your losses. However, it’s best not to wait until the last minute to start your case. It can take several weeks or months to gather and prepare all of the documents required, and you’ll need time to discuss your case and options with a personal injury attorney. But that doesn’t mean you should file right away, either.

It’s best to wait until you have a full understanding of your injuries, including whether they are going to impact your income-earning potential or require any ongoing medical treatment. This ensures that you’re able to come up with an accurate dollar amount for your lawsuit. In some cases, you may be able to also ask the courts to compensate you for your emotional trauma and mental anguish under pain and suffering.

Exploring Your Options With a Personal Injury Attorney

Motor vehicle accidents can leave victims with devastating injuries and tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills. While New York’s no-fault insurance system is designed to make it easier for victims to receive payments from insurance companies, it can be inadequate in many cases. Pursuing a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Get help with your case and find out what you may be entitled to when you call The Law Offices of Elke E. Mirabella, PC, at 631-769-7999 to schedule your consultation.

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