Q: Can I be excluded from No-Fault coverage?

A: A person may be excluded if he is involved in an accident as a result of driving while intoxicated; intentionally causes the accident; drives an ATV or motorcycle; is injured while committing a felony; drives a stolen vehicle; or is the owner of an uninsured vehicle involved in the accident.

In the 1970’s New York’s automobile No-Fault Law was created to ensure that insurance companies would pay for legitimate crash-related medical expenses, lost earnings and incidental costs, regardless of who was at fault in a crash. New York is one of 12 states that have No-Fault coverage.

It was intended to speed up compensation and avoid litigation over fault and the amounts owed  – and to curb and control claims related to automobile crash expenses.  New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law offers quick payments for expenses and restrictions on lawsuits for pain and suffering.   If you are injured in a crash in New York, the No-Fault coverage you receive comes from the vehicle you drove, rode in, were hit by, or came into contact with.

No-Fault is separate and distinct claim from a bodily injury claim. Many people get this confused. If injured in a crash, a cyclist, pedestrian, driver or passenger may have the right to sue for their injury as well as their pain and suffering. This is what we call a bodily injury or BI claim. When you are a cyclist, pedestrian or passenger, it will be this same insurance company that provides and pays your No-Fault claim that will also be defending and paying a judgment or settlement for your BI claim. Although payment is made by the same insurance company, these  are completely separate claims. Each has their own laws and rules and is usually handled by different adjusters and departments at the insurance company. The two claims also have different standards of proof, available compensation, and coverage.

No-Fault in New York was designed to ensure that regardless of fault; an insurance company will pay cyclists, pedestrians, drivers, and passengers up to $50,000.00 for the legitimate economic losses. This includes ambulance and hospital expenses, doctor bills, prescription drugs and diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and MRI’s as well as therapeutic services such as physical therapy. It also includes your lost wages. It does not include compensation for pain and suffering. Any additional claims can be pursued (if you qualify) by a separate lawsuit against the driver(s) and vehicle owner, or any other party who is responsible for causing the crash and your injury.

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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