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New York Auto Accident Laws

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident in New York, you might be trying to figure out your legal options in order to obtain financial compensation for your losses, such as hospital expenses, lost income after missing time from work to recover, or dealing with pain and suffering throughout the recovery process.

One of the most important things to remember is that New York is a "no-fault" state, which generally means that—following a collision—you must file an accident claim under your personal injury protection coverage from your own auto insurance policy. This coverage is designed to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket losses—no matter who was to blame for the crash.

Vehicle owners need to carry the following minimum amounts of insurance to drive in New York:

  • Bodily injury per person (when you’re at fault) – $25,000 liability coverage
  • Bodily injury per crash (no matter how many people suffered injuries) – $50,000 total liability coverage
  • Property damage per crash (when you’re at fault) – $10,000 liability coverage
  • Personal injury protection – $50,000 in no-fault coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage (if you are injured) – $25,000 liability coverage per person and $50,000 per crash

However, if you suffered a “serious injury” in an accident caused by another driver, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. Common types of serious injuries include fractures, broken bones, significant or permanent limitation of a body part or system, substantial disfigurement, or experiencing significant disability for 90 days.

When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can pursue noneconomic damages (e.g. pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment in life, etc.). Generally, starting from the date of the accident, you have three years to file a claim in court.

Yet, there are many collisions where there is more than one driver at fault. When all parties share some blame for a car accident, New York adheres to a “pure comparative fault” law, which means the plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced according to their percentage of their share of fault.

For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in a personal injury case, but the jury also says you are 30 percent at fault for the crash, you will be entitled to 70 percent—or $70,000—of the total award. Even if the jury finds you 90 percent at fault, you may still recovery 10 percent of your damages.

If you have suffered an injury in a vehicle accident in New York, contact Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC today at (516) 218-5131 and request a free consultation to learn how we can help recover your entitled compensation.