New York is a No-Fault state. No-Fault Insurance covers economic losses only. So when it comes to paying medical bills, lost wages, and incidental expenses from a car crash, it doesn’t matter who was at fault. It may seem backward, but the insurance for your car (or the vehicle you were in) is responsible for your basic economic losses from a car accident.
The purpose behind the No-Fault Law is to speed compensation without the necessity of long, drawn-out litigation over who was at fault or the amounts owed.
You have thirty (30) days from the date of the auto accident to file the No-Fault Application (form NF-2). The No-Fault Application should be filed with the insurance carrier of the car you were in when the crash took place. If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, you should send the form to the insurance company for the car that hit you and for any vehicle owned by someone in your household.
In New York, No-Fault benefits cover the first $50,000 in basic economic losses, which include medical expenses and lost wages. You can only recover for pain and suffering in a car crash; however, if the personal injury is a “serious injury.” New York Insurance Law defines Serious Injury. There are nine categories:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system or
- An injury that prevents you from performing all of your usual activities for 90 of the first 180 days following the crash
While some of these categories are very clear cut, others are more subjective. Soft tissue injuries, such as nerve damage or herniated discs, often meet the serious injury requirements under the more subjective categories, such as categories 7 or 8 (see above).
Car Accident Lost Wages
If you’re unable to work because of personal injury suffered in a car accident, your bills don’t stop. You need to keep yourself and your family financially safe. Fortunately, your own car insurance provides coverage for lost wages. As part of your No-Fault car insurance, you are entitled to 80% of your lost wages while an injury keeps you out of work.
Here’s how it works: A doctor determines whether you can work. If you can’t work, then you, your doctor and your employer complete the appropriate forms. Once the insurance company receives the fully completed forms, you will be paid monthly for as long as you are disabled. The standard No-Fault policy provides up to $2,000.00 per month. If you purchased a supplemental policy, you could receive more, but no more than 80% of your average paycheck.
Getting lost wages flowing can be a frustrating and challenging process. Our team works hard to coordinate with doctors, employers and insurance adjusters to get wages flowing as soon as possible. It’s a necessary service for our clients, and we don’t charge for it.
Car Accident Medical Bills
One of the most common questions Buffalo residents have following a car crash is, “Who is going to pay the medical bills?” The answer might surprise you. In New York, no matter who caused the accident, your medical bills are paid by the car insurance of the car you were in.
Our state is one of a handful that uses a “No-Fault” system for car accidents. As a result, every vehicle owner carries at least $50,000 in “No-Fault insurance” to pay for medical bills or lost wages. Your regular health insurance company knows this. They will not pay for any medical bills from a car accident.
There are strict deadlines to submit all the No-Fault paperwork. That’s why it’s so important to have your No-Fault application done correctly and on time. You have 30 days to submit your paperwork to the correct insurance company. If you don’t submit the application on time, you can have your No-Fault coverage denied. If that happens, neither your car insurance nor your HMO will pay your medical bills. You could be on the hook for those costs.
While No-Fault is a separate matter from your injury case, it is essential that you receive proper medical treatment and that your bills get paid. If you need help applying for No-Fault benefits, our experienced staff will be glad to help. We don’t charge our clients to handle their No-Fault issues.
If you have out of pocket expenses as a result of personal injuries from a car crash, you may be entitled to recover for the incidental costs that pop up. You should save all your receipts for cabs or other car services, personal assistance, cleaning, lawnmowing, or snow removal. You are entitled to up to $25.00 per day in incidentals.
You can also recover for mileage to and from your medical appointments. The insurance company isn’t going to take your word for how much you spent for accident-related out of pocket expenses. So get receipts for everything.