Auto accident settlements rarely exceed the available insurance policy limits. Auto insurance providers often prefer to settle cases quickly, out of court, and as cheaply as possible. They may value their bottom line over your health and well-being.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle collision, you might face mounting medical bills and other expenses—even as your injuries keep you from working. If another driver caused your collision, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
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New York Requires Drivers to Carry Auto Insurance
A lawyer on our team can guide you through the process of recovering the full value of your damages. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS), all drivers in New York must carry the following types of insurance that meet certain minimum requirements:
No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
No-fault (or PIP insurance) covers basic economic losses of the driver and anyone else in the driver’s car, or a pedestrian struck, regardless of who caused the crash. It at a minimum provides up to $50,000 in coverage per person for medical expenses, lost wages, and direct expenses related to the crash. It does not cover any property damage, including vehicle repair or replacement. It also does not cover non-tangible losses including pain and suffering.
If you were hurt in a car collision, your PIP insurance will cover your bills before your health insurance kicks in.
Liability insurance provides financial compensation for personal injury, death, and property damage from the at-fault driver to the victim(s). If you were injured in a collision caused by another driver, their liability insurance should compensate you for your losses not covered by PIP, and other intangible losses including pain and suffering.
Here are the minimum insurance requirements in New York:
- $25,000 for any injury or $50,000 for any injury resulting in death to one person in one collision
- $50,000 for injuries or $100,000 for injuries resulting in death by two or more people in any one collision
- $10,000 for property damage to the vehicle or other personal property in any one collision
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Uninsured motorist insurance provides coverage to you and your family if a driver injures you and they had no auto insurance or by a hit-and-run driver. This type of coverage only provides compensation for bodily injury, not property damage. The minimum coverage is the same as the minimum coverage for liability.
What to do if Your Expenses Exceed the Policy Limits
Most drivers only carry the minimum required insurance. If you were seriously injured in the collision, your expenses and intangible losses could quickly exceed insurance policy limits. When that happens, it can be difficult to pursue additional compensation.
Our team of lawyers can evaluate your situation and whether any additional recovery is feasible. Additionally, we will search for other applicable insurance coverage, including insurance coverage you may have on your own vehicle, which can protect you in the event the at-fault party has no coverage or inadequate coverage. This additional coverage is called Supplemental Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage and is often referred to as “SUM” coverage.
You can pursue the following expenses from the at-fault driver.
You can sue the other driver for economic losses beyond the minimum no-fault insurance coverage limits. Economic losses include:
- Medical care such as surgeries, rehabilitative treatments, medical equipment, prescription medication, and more
- Lost wages for your unpaid time out of work while you recover
- Future lost wages if you cannot return to your previous occupation
Pain and Suffering
You can sue the other driver for your pain and suffering caused by the crash if your injury meets New York’s injury level requirements, detailed in Insurance Law § 5102(d). These include:
- Broken bones
- Loss of a limb
- Permanent disability
- Loss of a fetus
- Require multiple surgeries with resulting scarring or limitations
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- The significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
- Inability to perform your usual and customary daily activities for at least 90 days in the first 180 days following the collision;
Your lawyer can evaluate your case and estimate how much your total damages are worth. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident, you might be entitled to financial compensation from the at-fault driver.
The other driver’s insurance company may offer to settle, but auto accident settlements rarely exceed the policy limits. If your losses exceed the value of those limits, you can seek the fair value of your damages by taking the case to trial and possibly getting a judgment against the at-fault party. Even these can prove difficult to recover. Speak to a lawyer to discuss your options.
Time Limits in an Auto Accident Case in New York
If you choose to pursue a case against the at-fault party, you have a limited amount of time to do so. Here are the New York laws that set time limits in an auto accident case:
- CVP §214 sets the statute of limitations for personal injury at three years.
- EPT §5-4.1 sets the statute of limitations for wrongful death at two
Generally, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit or two years from the date your loved one passed away to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Possible extensions to the statutes of limitations exist, as do situations that significantly shorten your time to act, so talk to your lawyer to see if these exceptions apply to you.
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Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., is Ready to Represent You After an Auto Accident
We can assist clients in Spanish. We work on contingency, so you pay nothing unless we win your case.
At Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., the team can represent you in a trial after an auto accident. We have obtained millions of dollars in damages for clients who were injured in car accidents. Call our office today for a free case consultation.