New York requires that drivers purchase no fault insurance, called PIP, before they can register their vehicles. Currently, the minimum amount of coverage is $50,000. After suffering injury in an accident, you can immediately use the insurance to cover the cost of medical care for your injuries and to replace lost income if you can’t work.
There are many misconceptions about no-fault insurance in New York. At Larson & Gallivan Law, we are committed to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve. We outline some of the most common misconceptions. If you still have questions, reach out to talk with ourGlens Falls car accident lawyers.
Myth: You Can’t Sue a Negligent Driver Because You Have No-Fault Insurance
Facts: You can sue the driver who injured you in some cases. Let’s say you have a serious brain injury which sends you to the hospital for a week of monitoring in the Intensive Care Unit. You also can’t work once you leave. You will eat up your $50,000 in no-fault benefits quite quickly. At that point, you can use additional No Fault benefits, if you have them. But if you don’t, you can sue the negligent driver who struck you for damages.
You can also sue if you suffer a serious injury as defined by Section 5102(d) of the New York Insurance Law. Examples of serious injuries include:
- Permanent loss of a bodily system or organ
- Loss of a fetus
- Any injury that causes a total disability for at least 90 days
A death is also a serious injury under the law, so family members should be able to sue if the facts support a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact our firm if you have questions about whether you have a serious injury. A lawyer is a big benefit at trying to untangle this complicated law.
Myth: Minor Injuries Will Never Cost More than $50,000
Facts: That might be generally true—but not always. For example, you could suffer a burn injury as part of a car accident. That burn quickly gets infected, and the infection forces you to spend a considerable amount of time in the hospital. Although the burn itself might be relatively minor, your resulting complications are much more serious. You could quickly consume your PIP benefits if you need surgery or other care.
Myth: Because PIP is No Fault, My Insurer Will Pay Benefits Without Question
Facts: That would be nice. After all, you have diligently paid your PIP insurance premiums, and it would be helpful if your insurer was there when you needed them. Sadly, many motorists discover that their PIP insurer wants to deny coverage or is very difficult to even get a hold of.
PIP insurers have been known to deny payment on the grounds that you weren’t injured in a car accident but hurt some other way. Or they go over your medical bills with a magnifying glass looking for a reason to reject a bill.
Also, most policies will exclude coverage if you were drag racing or committing a felony when you got into an accident. Driving a stolen vehicle is another example.
Sometimes you need to start an arbitration action against your insurer. And some insurers act in bad faith, which means you can seek compensation from them for their shady practices. Contact an experienced Glen Falls car accident lawyer if you are fighting with a PIP insurer to get covered.
Myth: I Don’t Need to Worry about Fault Since I Have PIP Coverage
Facts: This is probably the biggest misconception. You should treat every car accident as if fault matters a great deal. For that reason, take photographs of all vehicles involved in the crash, as well as any skid marks or other visual evidence. Remember to call the police to report the crash and speak to any witnesses. Try to get their name and contact information in case you need to talk with them later.
Also record your own memories. Maybe you remember distinctly that you had a green light when you rolled through the intersection, only to get T-boned by a speeding motorist. Write those memories down and sign and date the document.
So much evidence is at the scene of the accident that you must preserve it. If you don’t—and then find out you need to sue the other driver for negligence because you have a serious injury—it’s much harder to bring a successful car accident claim. Yes, you have PIP coverage, which is terrific. But you never know when you might need to sue, and for that you need evidence.
Myth: PIP Pays 100% of an Injured Motorist’s Lost Wages
Facts: PIP will pay 80%. These benefits are not taxed, which is why you don’t get the other 20%. Also, they won’t pay compensation over the policy limit. If you need $40,000 in medical care, then only $10,000 is left for lost income, unless you have additional No Fault coverage.
Myth: I Have as Much Time as I Need to Submit a PIP Claim
Facts: Wrong! You must submit a written claim to your insurer within 30 days, and you probably don’t qualify for an extension. Maybe if you were in a coma for a month, but I wouldn’t count on it. Consequently, you need to work quickly to protect yourself.
Myth: No Fault Benefits Will Cover the Cost of Car Repairs
Facts: Wrong again. You might have collision coverage, which will pay to have your car fixed, but PIP only covers bodily injuries. You might also be able to sue the other driver for damage to your vehicle.
Speak with a Glen Falls Car Accident Lawyer
No-fault insurance has relieved some of the stress that car accident victims feel after a collision. But in other ways, this insurance has made getting compensation much more complicated. If you have questions about which insurance policy to use or whether you can sue, call us. You can reach one of our lawyers by calling 518-862-8799 or submitting your contact information online.