Does Fault Impact Medical Compensation in an Auto Accident?

How expenses and lost wages are sorted in Upstate New York

By Super Lawyers staff | Reviewed by Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on February 27, 2023

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Motor vehicle collisions are among the leading causes of accidental injuries nationwide. The New York State Department of Health reports that there are an average of 136,913 emergency room visits for traffic accident injuries in the state each year. Following a car crash, you need financial compensation to pay your bills and support the people you care about most.

New York is among a minority of U.S. states that has a comprehensive no-fault insurance law in place. That being said, fault could impact your medical compensation if you suffered serious injuries. In this article, you will find a guide to the most important things to know about auto accident claims, fault, and compensation in New York.

What No-Fault Means for You

New York is a no-fault car insurance state. As explained by the New York State Department of Financial Services, all motorists, under New York State law, are required to obtain and maintain no-fault insurance coverage. Also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), no-fault auto insurance is designed to cover your initial medical bills and lost income after an accident—regardless of how and why the accident occurred.

If you were involved in a minor or moderate collision in New York, then fault is likely not going to be a direct factor in determining medical expenses. Instead, your own no-fault insurance coverage (PIP coverage) will pay for your initial medical treatment and health expenses after an accident. In New York, no-fault coverage is generally limited at $50,000.  

You Can Step Outside of the No-Fault System After a Serious Crash

While New York has a comprehensive no-fault car accident law, fault could still be a factor in determining your medical compensation. Under New York Insurance law § 5102(d), you can go beyond the no-fault state system and file a personal injury claim directly against the at-fault party if you suffered a serious injury. Through a fault-based car accident claim, an injured victim can seek compensation for the full extent of their losses, including medical bills beyond $50,000, complete lost income, and pain and suffering.

A New York Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Maximize Medical Compensation

New York’s car accident claims process is complicated. Recovering full and fair financial support for your medical bills and lost wages from your own PIP insurance policy can be challenging. Fault-based claims are even more difficult. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process. If you are an accident victim that was hurt in a car crash and needed medical attention, contact an experienced Upstate New York personal injury attorney for immediate help with your car accident case. Most law firms and attorneys offer an initial free consultation. A car accident lawyer will give you legal advice, explain your insurance claim and take action to help you get justice, accountability, and the maximum compensation available under the law.

To learn more about this area of law, see our personal injury overview of motor vehicle accidents.

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