In the seventies, New York passed the first no-fault law for auto accidents. The purpose of this legislation was to ensure insurance companies would pay for medical bills and wages regardless of the fault in an accident. This law serves to expedite the payment process to injury victims, without long trials and to curb litigation. However, it isn’t always as effective as lawmakers originally intended. There are some gray areas, which is why it’s important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you in the process.
Who is eligible for no-fault benefits?
Most drivers and pedestrians involved in accidents are eligible for no-fault benefits after they’ve been involved in an accident. However, motorcyclists, Vespas, and those driving while impaired are not eligible. The no-fault law applies to pedestrians, bicyclists, passengers and drivers that have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in New York. You must meet these guidelines to qualify for no-fault benefits:
- The vehicle must have insurance that was sold in New York, or by a company that is licensed in New York.
- The vehicle must be registered in the state of New York. A vehicle is defined as a car, truck, bus or taxi.
- The injured person must have been a passenger or driver in the insured vehicle. Or, the injured person can be a pedestrian or cyclist struck by a vehicle.
Is there a time limit?
After your accident, you only have 30 days to file your written notice with the insurance company. There are generally no exceptions. There are some situations where you can get an extension, but these are rare. If you feel you have extenuating circumstances, contact us today! We recommend that you get the process started as soon as possible because a month isn’t a lot of time to ensure the insurance company has received your paperwork. Remember, if you miss your deadline, the insurance company gets to keep their money instead of paying you.
How much coverage is included?
According to the no-fault law, there is a minimum of $50,000. dollars of coverage for every occupant of the vehicle. You can receive up to 80% of your gross wages, but that’s at a maximum of $2,000 a month. If you have medical bills and lost wages above this amount, you will have to file a personal injury claim.
Help, I was in an accident in an uninsured vehicle!
If you were a passenger in an uninsured vehicle you can still receive no-fault benefits, if you own a vehicle that is insured, you can get benefits off your own insurance. If there is a relative in your house that owns a car, you can receive benefits off their insurance. Finally, there is a Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) that was created to provide no-fault insurance in situations like this. Especially in incidents of hit and runs where are car strikes a pedestrian and flees the scene.
Am I covered in a rental vehicle?
Generally, yes. You are eligible through the rental company and then any extra coverage that you purchased. Also, your own insurance policy will cover your no-fault benefits on a rental. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us to discuss your situation.
What about accidents that happen outside of New York?
If you are a resident of New York and you have an insured vehicle that’s registered in New York, you should be covered in the United States and Canada.
Are there various types of no-fault coverage?
You can speak to your insurance company about different types of coverages, but they are extras you can add on to your base coverage. The basic amount is $50,000 and each of these extras can be added on for a small cost. Optional Basic Economic Loss (OBEL), Additional Personal Injury Protection (APIP), and medical payments coverage can be added to most insurance policies at any time. However, you will have to ask your insurance provider if you must wait until you renew your policy to reduce your coverage.
Are there deadlines to submit medical bills?
Yes. Once you receive medical treatment, you should submit your bill to your no-fault carrier within 45 days. We recommend that you submit your bill the minute that you get it. It can take a while for paperwork to be entered into the system. If your bill is denied because of the 45-day window, you will become financially responsible for that bill.
No-fault denied my bill payment, now what?
Don’t worry, there are many different options available to you and your medical provider. However, if you take the wrong steps you could be responsible for the bill yourself. It’s important that you contact us to go over your options.
There are many different areas of no-fault benefits that are confusing. It’s important that you have a professional that can guide you through the process. Contact Michael J. Redenburg today with any questions you have.