What Does “No-Fault” Mean in Terms of Car Injury Compensation?
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If you’ve been in a car accident in New York or know someone who has, you may have heard the term “no-fault.” People say that New York is a “no-fault” state, but what does that really mean? If you’re in a car accident and someone was very clearly the one who caused it, can you do anything about it?
What Is “No-Fault”?
In a no-fault state, the first place you turn to for compensation is your insurance company. This means you can’t sue anyone until you’ve filed an insurance claim. This is designed to help cut down on court cases and costs associated with them. Often, compensation for a car accident is completely handled by your insurance, and the at-fault driver never pays anything directly to you.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Pays Out
Don’t worry about your insurance premiums going up if you didn’t cause the accident. Generally, your insurance company will work with the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover your costs. That means whoever is at-fault is likely to see their rates go up, but you shouldn’t.
When Can You Sue?
Just because New York is a no-fault state doesn’t mean you can’t sue for specific damages. The no-fault rules don’t cover damage to your vehicle. You can sue if your car damage is more than what your insurance will pay to fix it. If you’ve been seriously injured, you can also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, your injuries do have to meet specific requirements to be considered “serious.” These include broken or fractured bones or any injury that can cause you to be considered substantially disabled for 90 days or more. These lawsuits can seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical costs, financial loss, and wrongful death.
Because a no-fault state does have more legal complications than an at-fault state, it’s important that you have an attorney on your side who understands how to navigate the law. The experts here at Held & Hines have years of experience in car accidents and personal injury cases. Contact us today to discuss your case and how we can help you receive the compensation you’re due.