Q: If I am in an accident caused by another driver can I automatically bring a lawsuit?

A: In New York, in order to bring a lawsuit as a result of injuries from a car accident, you must sustain a serious injury. Serious injuries are those that involve: death, dismemberment or significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of fetus; loss of permanent use of a body organ or member; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of body function or system; medically determined injury which prevents the injured party from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute the usual and customary activities for 90 of the first 180 days following the accident.

If none of those conditions apply, you make seek compensation for your injuries and expenses through NYS No-Fault Insurance.

No-Fault Benefit Guidelines from NYS

“In the event of an accident, written notice setting forth details sufficient to identify the eligible injured person, along with reasonably obtainable information regarding the time, place and circumstances of the accident, shall be given by, or on behalf of, each eligible injured person, to the applicable No-Fault insurer, or any of their authorized agents, as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event more than 30 days after the date of the accident, unless the eligible injured person submits written proof providing clear and reasonable justification for the failure to comply with such time limitation.”

You should file your claim with the insurance company which covers the car in which you were an occupant (either as passenger or driver) or, if you were a pedestrian, with the car that struck you. If you do not know the vehicle that struck you or if the vehicle was uninsured, you may file a claim with the insurer of a household family relative who had an auto policy at the time of the accident. If there was no auto policy in the household, you should file a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC).  Additional information on MVAIC can be obtained on their web site www.mvaic.com or you can contact them by telephone at (646) 205-7800.

When the basic No-Fault benefits are consumed, you may apply for Additional No-Fault (Additional PIP) benefits either from the vehicle you occupied or any auto policy of a related member of your household. Additional PIP is an optionalcoverage which is usually not expensive. If no Additional PIP benefits are available, you may make a claim to your standard health insurance to pay for your medical expenses. You may also be eligible for Federal Social Security Disability benefits.  In addition to the above, you can also sue the party responsible for the accident, in order to recover the costs that you paid which exceed your policy limit.

If you are are injured in a car accident while walking, jogging or riding a bicycle, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. Skilled legal representation can help make sure you are compensated to the fullest extent possible, whether you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or settle out-of-court. If you are injured in the Capital Region – in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Clifton Park, Saratoga or elsewhere in the Capital District – please call the personal injury lawyers of Lamarche Safranko Law PLLC  for a free consultation.

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