Understanding NY No‑Fault Insurance

Damaged vehicle in Buffalo car accident.

New York No-Fault Insurance

New York requires drivers to hold a minimum of $50,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection insurance (also called no-fault insurance). No-Fault insurance is designed to pay promptly, regardless of who is at fault or whether there was any negligence.

The purpose of No-Fault insurance is to restore individuals hurt in auto accidents to health and productivity as swiftly as possible. Because of New York’s no-fault law, lawsuits due to auto accidents can be brought only for economic losses that exceed No-Fault benefits and for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) only if a serious injury (as defined in the Insurance Law) is sustained.

Basic No-Fault Coverage

New York State minimum no-fault insurance covers economic losses up to $50,000. Economic losses mean:

  • Necessary medical expenses and medical bills.
  • Lost wages up to 80% of your monthly earnings with a maximum payout of $2,000 per month for up to three years after the accident.
  • Up to $25 a day, for up to a year, for other reasonable and necessary expenses.
  • $2,000 death benefit payable to the estate of the person killed in a car accident.

PIP insurance is supposed to help you get coverage for your injuries promptly after a car accident. However, insurance companies will sometimes delay or deny a PIP coverage, claiming that your injury did not require the medical treatment you received. If your PIP claim was rejected, get in touch with our personal injury attorneys at the Buffalo Injury Law Firm to help you recover damages from the insurance company.

Type of Damages

Generally, there are two types of damages that you may recover in a car accident lawsuit. Economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those losses that can be calculated with hard numbers such as medical bills and lost wages. If your medical bills or lost earnings exceed the $50,000 no-fault insurance, you may have a claim against the at fault driver for that excess amount.

Non-economic damages, what we call human losses, are those intangible harms usually referred to as pain and suffering. You are only entitled to pain and suffering damages in New York car accidents if you have a serious injury. New York Insurance Law 5102 defines a serious injury as a personal injury that results in:

  1. Death;
  2. Dismemberment;
  3. Significant disfigurement;
  4. A fracture;
  5. Loss of a fetus;
  6. Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
  7. Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
  8. Significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
  9. A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

If your injuries result in one of these 9 categories, then you may be eligible for pain and suffering damages. Hence, the term, serious injury threshold. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life. Our car accident attorney will work with you to determine what damages you may receive.

Value of Damages

Determining how much your car accident injury claim is worth depends on several factors. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to determine how much you will receive as compensation for a car accident claim. The value of your damages will depend on the severity of your injuries, whether your injuries are permanent, and how the injuries have changed your quality of life. Another important factor is whether you contributed to the accident. If you share any blame in the accident, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This is called comparative negligence.

At the Buffalo Injury Law Firm, we fight for all the damages you may be entitled to due to your injury. We never use the multiplier method to value a claim. Instead, we tailor a custom approach for each client to determine the best strategy for maximum compensation. To learn about our method and how much your case may be worth, contact our office for a free consultation.

Buffalo Injury Law Firm: New York Car Accident Attorney

Contact the Buffalo Injury Law Firm if you have been injured in an auto accident in New York. We will evaluate your case and help you receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Call or text us at (716) 646-8412 for a free case evaluation.