Automobile No-Fault Law

In 1973, the New York State Legislature enacted what is commonly known as the “no-fault law.” Among other things, the law states that only car accident victims who have suffered a “serious injury” may seek damages for pain and suffering. Despite the law’s limitation, our auto accident lawyers have successfully recovered compensation for hundreds of accident victims throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and other New York areas. Read on to learn more about the no-fault law and how our injury lawyers could help you if you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an auto accident.

What is Automobile No-Fault?

Under New York’s no-fault law, every person who owns a motor vehicle in New York must carry auto insurance that will pay for the “basic economic loss” of anybody hurt while a driver or passenger of that car (or a pedestrian hit by the car). This is called “no-fault insurance” because the basic economic loss must be paid by the insurance carrier for the owner of the car, regardless of who caused the accident.

What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover?

In the wake of an auto accident, no-fault insurance covers the basic economic loss of the injured parties. This includes the actual expenses for medical care, a portion of lost earnings, and other necessary expenses, up to a maximum of $50,000 per person. The basic economic loss does not include any reimbursement for pain and suffering. In fact, the no-fault law prohibits a person injured in an auto accident from suing the responsible party for pain and suffering (also known as “non-economic damages”) unless the injured person suffered a “serious injury” as specifically defined in the no-fault law and court rulings. At Weiser & Associates our auto accident lawyers help injured accident victims throughout the Bronx, Staten Island, and other areas of New York determine whether legal action is in their best interest. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.

Why Was the No-Fault Law Enacted?

The are several purposes of the no-fault law, including reducing the number of lawsuits that are filed over minor injuries and ensuring that every person injured in an auto accident in New York will be restored to health and productivity as swiftly as possible. The no-fault law is thus a compromise because it provides for prompt payment of medical bills and other actual expenses of the injured person without requiring proof that any driver was at fault in the accident, but does not allow that injured person to recover money for pain and suffering unless a “serious injury” was sustained.

What Constitutes a “Serious Injury”?

What amounts to a serious injury under the no-fault law has been the source of much debate and litigation. As a starting point, the no-fault law itself describes certain types of injuries that automatically qualify as serious injuries, such as broken bones, dismemberment, and death. There are several other categories of serious injury defined by the no-fault law. For these other categories, specific types of medical evidence is needed to establish that the injuries resulted in, for example, a significant limitation of use of body function or system, or that the injuries prevented the person from performing substantially all of their usual daily activities for at least 90 out of the 180 days immediately after the accident. Thus an injured person seeking recovery for pain and suffering must prove first that the driver who caused the accident was negligent, and then that he or she sustained a “serious injury” as a result of that accident.

At the Law Firm of Weiser & Associates, we work closely with experienced medical professionals in order to properly document our clients’ injuries so that full compensation may be provided. In this way our auto accident lawyers have obtained maximum damages for accident victims throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and surrounding areas of New York.

What Should I Do if I’m Injured in an Auto Accident?

As can be seen from this very brief review of the New York no-fault law, this can be a very complicated area of the law. There are short and specific deadlines for many types of auto accident insurance claims and lawsuits (for example, a claim for basic economic loss benefits against a no-fault insurance carrier must be made within 30 days of the accident, or no benefits will be paid). Proving negligence and a serious injury requires strict proof that must be obtained and presented in a very specific manner. Those injured in an auto accident are thus strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel from a lawyer experienced in this area of the law to ensure that all insurance benefits and legal rights are protected to the fullest extent of the law. If you have been involved in an auto accident and would like to find out whether you are entitled to compensation, please contact our auto accident lawyers today for a free case evaluation. Our firm is committed to providing exceptional representation to residents of the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and other areas in and around New York City.

Contact Our Auto Accident Lawyers

Weiser’s auto accident lawyers have extensive experience litigating cases under New York’s no-fault law. Our commitment is to ensuring that those seriously injured in auto accidents receive the compensation to which they are entitled. Contact our auto accident lawyers if you live in the Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, or Brooklyn and have been involved in a serious auto accident. We provide free consultations and can help you achieve the compensation you deserve.

For additional information about New York’s no-fault law, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.