The application of New York state’s serious injury threshold to the facts of an accident injury claim determines if you can pursue an injury lawsuit against a liable driver after a car accident. This law and statewide no-fault rules govern the post-accident claims process. Continue reading for more information.
- How Does the Serious Injury Threshold Work?
- No-Fault Insurance Specific in New York State
- I Passed the Serious Injury Threshold. How Do I Fight for Compensation?
- Motorcyclists and the Serious Injury Threshold
- Contact Us Today for Help From a New York State Car Accident Lawyer
How Does the Serious Injury Threshold Work?
You must pass the serious injury threshold to file a claim or lawsuit against the driver responsible for your injuries. Here’s how you pass this threshold:
- You suffer a serious injury.
- You experience a basic economic loss greater than $50,000.
Serious Injuries Defined
State law categorizes the following injuries as serious:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- An injury that limits your ability to live normally for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following your accident
If you suffered any of these injuries, state law allows you to file a lawsuit against the liable driver.
What Is a Basic Economic Loss?
In the context of a car accident, basic economic losses refer primarily to medical expenses, including:
- Mental health support
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drugs
- Ambulance rides
- Other medical expenses associated with your injury
- Lost income you would have earned if you weren’t injured
What Happens If I Don’t Pass the Serious Injury Threshold?
The figure of $50,000 isn’t a small number, meaning it’s possible that you won’t exceed the basic economic loss limit or pass the serious injury threshold.
If this is the case, you may be limited to the benefits provided by your no-fault insurance (also known as personal injury protection). In New York, drivers must carry at least $50,000 in no-fault insurance. This insurance covers the following:
- Lost income
- Necessary expenses related to the injuries suffered
- Medical expenses
No-fault insurance doesn’t cover car repairs or non-economic losses. Non-economic losses include:
- Impaired quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
After an accident, no-fault insurance kicks in before a health insurance policy. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, this insurance format is designed to “restore individuals hurt in auto accidents to health and productivity as swiftly as possible.”
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No-Fault Insurance Specific in New York State
The $50,000 mandatory no-fault insurance plan for drivers pays out the following ways after an accident:
- All reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- 80% of lost work earnings, with a maximum of $2,000 in weekly payments for up to three years after your accident
- $25 per day in coverage for other reasonable and necessary expenses, like household assistance or transportation costs associated with medical treatment
- $2,000 in death benefits payable to the estate of the person who died in the accident
Remember, these benefits cannot exceed $50,000.
No-Fault Insurance Ineligibility Factors
You cannot rely on your no-fault insurance if:
- You were drunk or otherwise intoxicated at the time of the accident.
- You intentionally hurt yourself.
- You were driving a stolen vehicle.
- You were committing a felony at the time of the accident.
- You were driving an uninsured vehicle.
I Passed the Serious Injury Threshold. How Do I Fight for Compensation?
Generally, you have three options if you pass the serious injury threshold:
- Apply for additional no-fault or medical insurance benefits: If you’ve consumed your initial $50,000 in no-fault insurance, you could apply for additional no-fault coverage if you carry what is generally referred to as “Additional PIP” (i.e., Personal Injury Protection,) or, if you do not carry Additional PIP, you would turn to your medical insurance.
- File an insurance claim against the responsible driver’s liability insurance: In New York State, drivers must also carry liability insurance. If you can prove another driver was at-fault, you could receive compensation from their liability insurer by filing a claim.
- Take the responsible driver to court: Liability insurance negotiations don’t always produce desirable results. It’s possible to file a lawsuit to either leverage these negotiations or enter trial proceedings.
Motorcyclists and the Serious Injury Threshold
Motorcyclists are completely exempt from New York State’s serious injury threshold. This has pros and cons:
- If you get into an accident on your motorcycle, you are not eligible for no-fault insurance benefits
- However, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against the liable driver or party even if you don’t pass the serious injury threshold.
Remember, if you were involved in a motorcycle accident or standard car accident, you don’t need to deal with post-crash proceedings alone. A New York car accident lawyer could provide you with several beneficial services, including:
- Keeping you updated on your case’s status
- Identifying liable parties
- Communicating with all parties for you
- Gathering case-supporting evidence
- Determining the value of your case
- Explaining how the serious injury threshold applies to your unique case
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Contact Us Today for Help From a New York State Car Accident Lawyer
At Friedman & Simon L.L.P, we’ve won millions of dollars for our clients. Will manage every aspect of your case from start to finish so you’re able to direct your energy where it really counts, like recovering from your injuries or supporting your family. We will explain New York state’s serious injury threshold and if and how it applies to your case. Contact our office for a free case evaluation today.