New York operates as a no-fault state for car insurance and accident claims. This means that after a car accident, you first turn to your own car insurance policy, regardless of who was at fault. This should cover medical expenses and lost wages under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
This system is designed to ensure prompt payment of car accident injury claims. It also reduces the burden on the court system by limiting the number of lawsuits. However, in cases of severe injuries or when damages exceed certain thresholds, you can step outside the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurer.
You can pursue damages from the at-fault party's insurance company under specific circumstances. This typically happens when the crash results in:
- Significant disfigurement.
- Bone fractures.
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member.
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system.
- Substantially full disability for 90 days.
Additionally, if your crash-related expenses exceed the limits of your PIP coverage, you can seek further compensation from the at-fault party's insurer. This allows you to claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which are not covered under PIP.