When anyone is injured in a car accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident in the Bronx or elsewhere in New York City, the most immediate and important concern is ensuring that the injured person can obtain the necessary medical care. Our team of top Bronx car accident lawyers has the knowledge and experience to help you secure all of the special insurance benefits – known as “no fault insurance” benefits – to which you may be entitled if you are injured in a car accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident in the Bronx and New York City. If we accept your Bronx car accident case, we will prepare the necessary filings and paperwork for you free of any additional charge to ensure that your medical bills and lost wages are paid, allowing you to focus on healing after suffering a serious car accident injury.
In the mid-1970’s, amidst a growing national recognition of the financial devastation that can occur when someone is injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, the New York State Legislature passed Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law, now known as the “No-Fault Law”, to provide for mandatory minimum insurance coverage – to be provided without regard to fault or blame in the causing of an accident – to pay for medical bills and lost wages in the event of any injury caused by the use or operation of a motor vehicle. The New York legislature recognized that, because of the ubiquity of car accidents and the high incidence of injuries associated with car accidents, New Yorkers needed financial protection so as to enable them to obtain necessary medical treatment quickly and without suffering financial ruin. Today, the no-fault insurance system remains one of the most important resources for injured residents of the Bronx and New York City when they are injured in a car accident.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
Every vehicle registered in the State of New York is required by law to carry a minimum amount of no-fault insurance. As of 2017, pursuant to Regulation 68 of the No-Fault Law, every vehicle must carry the following minimum no-fault insurance benefits, to be provided to anyone injured while operating the vehicle, riding as a passenger in the vehicle, and anyone injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist if they are hit by the vehicle: (i) $50,000.00 per person injured in medical insurance coverage to pay for reasonable and necessary accident-related medical and rehabilitation expenses; (ii) up to $2,000.00 per month in lost wages coverage for up to three years from the date of the accident for anyone injured and unable to work; (iii) up to $25.00 per day to reimburse other reasonable and necessary expenses (such as household help or transportation to/from medical appointments) for up to a year from the date of the accident; and (iv) a $2,000.00 death benefit payable to the estate of any qualified person who is killed in a motor vehicle accident involving the covered vehicle
In addition to the minimum benefits, additional no-fault benefits are often purchased to provide additional coverage to anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident. These additional benefits include a higher limit of medical coverage, additional lost wages coverage, and other increased or additional insurance benefits. The policyholder has to choose the particular additional benefits that they want to include on their no-fault insurance policy, and must pay additional premiums for these additional items of coverage. In order to determine whether any additional no-fault benefits are available to you if you are injured in a Bronx car accident, it is necessary to read the policy declaration sheet provided by the insurance company, as it will list all of the additional no-fault insurance benefits that are available in addition to the legal minimum policy requirements.
How do I Claim No-Fault Insurance Benefits if I am Injured in a Car Accident?
In order to make sure that you receive all of the no-fault insurance benefits to which you are entitled if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you must first determine the correct insurance company that will provide the benefits. The determination of which insurance company will provide the benefits depends on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if you are driving your own vehicle when an accident occurs, your own car insurance company will provide you with no-fault benefits. If you are a passenger in a vehicle, the vehicle owner’s insurance company will provide the benefits. If you are a passenger and are struck by another vehicle, the vehicle owner’s insurance company will provide the benefits. It should be noted that, in the case of an accident involving an uninsured motor vehicle, the State of New York may provide the victims with no-fault insurance benefits through the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnity Corporation (MVAIC), a state-run insurance fund created to compensate victims of uninsured motor vehicle accidents. You should always consult with experienced Bronx car accident lawyers to determine exactly who will be responsible for providing you with no-fault insurance coverage if you are injured in a car accident.
Once you have determined which insurance company is responsible to provide you with no-fault benefits, you must contact the company to report the accident. In connection with reporting the accident, you should always obtain a copy of the police report (if one is produced in connection with your accident) to prove to the insurance company that you were involved in a particular accident and that your claims for no-fault insurance coverage are legitimate. If you received medical treatment in a hospital or a doctor’s office immediately after the accident, you should also retain documentation of this treatment so that you can further substantiate your claims to the no-fault insurance company.
Once you report the accident, you must obtain a no-fault claim number from the insurance company (which you will use to pay your medical bills when you obtain treatment), and ask the insurance company to send you a no-fault benefits application. Pursuant to the applicable no-fault regulations, you must fully complete this application and return it to the insurance company within thirty days of the accident to be entitled to collect no-fault insurance benefits. In reporting the accident, you should be very careful to accurately report the circumstances of the accident, because anything you say to the no-fault insurance company – whether orally, or in writing when you formally apply for your no-fault benefits – can be used as a evidence against you if you bring a lawsuit in connection with the accident. For this reason, our team of expert Bronx car accident lawyers will report the accident to the proper insurance company for you, and will help you complete your no-fault insurance application to make sure that this process is completed in a timely fashion and that your statements to the insurance company support your claims in any underlying car accident lawsuit.
Once I Obtain my No-Fault Insurance Benefits, What do I Have to do to Keep my Benefits?
Once you obtain your no-fault insurance benefits, there are several things that you will have to do to make sure that you keep your benefits. These include attending medical examinations, documenting all of your expenses and lost wages, and demonstrating the medical necessity of your absence from work and any medical treatment that you may receive.
Periodically, the no-fault insurance company will require that you appear for a medical examination by doctors of their choosing, who will evaluate your injuries and give opinions with respect to the severity of your injuries, their causal relationship to the accident in question, and, most importantly, whether or not you require further medical treatment. These examinations are required under Article 51 of the New York Insurance law and the corresponding no-fault insurance regulations. Failure to attend these medical examinations can result in a rejection of your entire no-fault insurance claim. If your claim is rejected for this reason, you may be held personally responsible to pay any outstanding medical bills for treatment that was necessitated by your accident.
There are other steps that you may have to complete in order to keep your no-fault insurance benefits if you are injured in a car accident in New York City and the Bronx. Our team of Bronx car accident lawyers will consult with you free of charge to discuss these additional steps, and will help you through this process if we accept your car accident injury case.
Are There any Restrictions on No-Fault Insurance Coverage if I am Injured in a Car Accident?
Some Bronx car accident victims may not qualify for no-fault insurance at all, or will only have limited no-fault insurance benefits available to them. These can include: (i) Motorcyclists, (ii) Vespa/scooter riders, (iii) anyone injured due to their having operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and (iv) anyone who is injured in certain types of accidents that are covered by a non-New York insurance policy that does not provide for no-fault coverage. In order to determine whether you are eligible for New York no-fault insurance benefits, our Bronx car accident lawyers will review the facts of your case with you in detail and can advise you as to your eligibility for no-fault insurance coverage if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.