Motor vehicle accidents can result in significant financial burdens. If you have been injured in such an accident, it is natural to question who is responsible for covering your damages.
In this article, we will explore the different parties involved in paying for the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident in New York.
No-Fault Insurance: Ensuring Coverage for Accident-Related Expenses
New York operates under a No-Fault insurance system. In essence, this means that anyone injured in a car accident in the state is entitled to receive compensation for certain medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, regardless of who caused the accident.
This coverage, known as No-Fault insurance benefits, typically provides up to $50,000 for medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related costs, referred to as “basic economic loss.”
Determining the Primary Insurer for No-Fault Benefits
As a general rule, the insurance company for the vehicle in which the injured person was traveling becomes the primary insurer responsible for paying No-Fault insurance benefits. For example, if you were injured as a driver or passenger in your own vehicle, your insurance company would handle the No-Fault benefits. Similarly, if you were injured in another person’s vehicle, the insurance company for that vehicle would be responsible for the No-Fault benefits.
However, if you were injured as a pedestrian, or while traveling on a non-motorized bicycle or scooter, the primary insurer responsible for paying No-Fault benefits would be the insurance company of the vehicle that struck you. It’s worth noting that there may be cases where more than one insurance company is liable for the No-Fault benefits, such as in motorcycle accidents.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance: Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Bodily injury liability insurance, typically provided by the at-fault party’s insurance company, covers the pain and suffering endured as a result of a car accident. This coverage aims to compensate for the physical and emotional distress experienced after the crash. In New York, the minimum amount of bodily injury coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Establishing Eligibility for Compensation
To receive compensation for pain and suffering following a motor vehicle accident in New York, the injured party must generally demonstrate a “serious injury.” The definition of a “serious injury” includes various categories: death; significant disfigurement; dismemberment; fractures; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a non-permanent injury preventing the individual from performing daily activities for at least 90 days within 180 days following the accident. Only one of these categories needs to be shown.
Although this list may seem complex, seeking assistance from an experienced accident injury lawyer, such as those at William Mattar, P.C., can help determine whether your injury qualifies you for compensation for pain and suffering.
Proving Liability for Compensation
In addition to demonstrating a “serious injury,” an injured individual must also prove liability. This entails showing that the accident was partially or entirely the
fault of the other motorist involved. This is achieved through the collection of evidence, such as eyewitness or expert testimonies, any available video footage of the accident, the official motor vehicle accident report, relevant medical records, and photographs or surveys of the accident scene.
If you have been injured by an at-fault driver, the skilled motor vehicle accident attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim for pain and suffering.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) Coverage: Added Protection
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides protection for individuals injured by uninsured drivers. Similarly, supplemental uninsured/underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage offers additional safeguards when the cost of injuries exceeds the available coverage of the at-fault motorist. In New York, the minimum requirement for UM coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
UM or SUM coverage can be obtained through your own automobile insurance policy. Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where the at-fault driver lacks sufficient insurance or any insurance at all, you may turn to your own insurance policy for UM or SUM coverage. Depending on the circumstances, more than one UM or SUM insurance policy may provide coverage.
In the event of a vehicle accident, an experienced accident injury attorney at William Mattar, P.C. can assist you in ensuring that all relevant UM/SUM insurance carriers are notified. This proactive step helps maximize the compensation you may receive for your injuries.
In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial to understand the various parties responsible for covering your damages. No-Fault insurance ensures reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses. Bodily injury liability insurance compensates for pain and suffering, provided a “serious injury” can be demonstrated. UM, and SUM coverage offers additional protection when dealing with uninsured or underinsured drivers.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable accident injury lawyer is essential. They can navigate the legal complexities, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Remember, when it comes to handling the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, the expertise of professionals like those at William Mattar, P.C. can make a significant difference in protecting your rights and securing the compensation you need to recover and move forward.
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