New York is one of 12 states where motor vehicle owners must purchase Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, insurance, also known as no-fault insurance. The idea behind no-fault insurance is simple: To keep court dockets from being overwhelmed by a large number of automobile accident cases, PIP requires each party involved to file a claim with its insurance company first. If you or a passenger in your car are injured, regardless of who caused the accident, your insurance company is primarily responsible to pay your claim.
How Much PIP Coverage is Enough?
New Yorkers must purchase the minimum required amount of PIP coverage — $50,000, among the highest in the country. After that, the decision to purchase additional protection is up to the individual. Auto insurance premiums vary based on a number of factors – age, gender, where you live and if you’ve been involved in other accidents. An insurance agent can help you decide if any of the following options are right for you and might lower costs:
- Additional PIP coverage
- A higher deductible
- Optional Basic Economic Loss insurance, which can provide another $25,000 of no-fault benefits
After an Accident
If you’re a motor vehicle owner involved in an accident in New York and are injured, there are several forms that will need completion, including:
- Application for No-Fault Benefits, or NF-2, in which you’ll list any known injuries
- Assignment of Benefits (AOB), which authorizes your insurance company to send medically related PIP payments directly to your healthcare provider
- The NF-3 form, which is completed by your healthcare provider
If the other driver caused the accident, you can file a liability claim against him or her under certain circumstances — New York’s “serious injury” criteria:
- Death or miscarriage
- Significant disability lasting at least 90 days
- Significant or permanent limited use of a body organ, function, or system
- Fracture, dismemberment, or serious disfigurement
When to Talk with a Lawyer
You might need legal assistance following an automobile accident in New York when:
- Your PIP claim is denied. If it’s believed you were wrongfully denied benefits, a lawyer can represent you during arbitration or sue the insurance provider for breach of contract, unfair claims practices or bad faith.
- Medical expenses and lost wages exceed your coverage. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the coverage you chose, your PIP claim payout might not provide enough for medical expenses and lost wages. As mentioned, if the other driver was at fault, you could file a lawsuit seeking economic damages. Depending on your policy, you might also be able to receive damages for pain and suffering or loss of companionship.
- Your insurer requires you to appear for an E.U.O. (examination under oath). The insurer, which has a financial interest in terminating your benefits as soon as possible, may hire an attorney to conduct a hearing in which you answer questions about the crash and your treatment. It may be wise for you to consult an attorney before appearing.
Your Auto Accident Advocates
It’s always stressful to be in an automobile accident, but especially when someone is injured. At Sayegh & Sayegh PC, our knowledgeable attorneys will fight for your rights. Call (914) 222-8161 or contact us online to discuss your case.