Under New York's no-fault system, auto insurance policies are required to include no-fault components to ensure that a base of medical coverage and lost wages compensation are always available to those who are in an accident that is ruled no-fault.
In the big picture, this is a good thing - a safety net intended to keep an accident from becoming a catastrophe for those unlucky enough to be injured with no other party to pursue for damages.
However, the reality of the situation is often a nightmare. Far too many New Yorkers have played by the rules and invoked their no-fault policies only to be denied coverage long before their needs have been met.
I've been hurt in a no-fault accident. Now what?
If you have been injured, the most important thing to do is to get the care you need before things get worse. There's no sense in clutching one's pearls over the possibility of having a denied claim and then significantly injuring yourself further by delaying treatment. However, the sooner you can have a qualified attorney review your case, the better.
In a best-case scenario, your insurance company will take care of your needs and you will not need to involve any legal muscle. However, insurance companies are notorious for shuffling their clients through in a way that meets the bare requirements of the law without truly meeting all the needs brought on by the injury.
It is wise to consider retaining the services of an experienced attorney who regularly handles no-fault cases. While many firms who practice personal injury law choose not to represent no-fault cases, those who do should be very skilled at helping you walk through the process of recovery, and ensuring your insurance provider doesn't leave you in a hole you thought you had covered.
Do I have enough coverage?
The law indicates that no-fault medical coverage must be provided by your insurer, as well as lost wages if your injuries keep you from working. However, the mandated limits are frighteningly low - both medical and lost wages benefits combined are only required up to $50,000 per incident.
If you are only carrying the minimums required by law, you may want to consider adding additional coverage to your policy.
Regardless of your situation, you deserve to be treated fairly. If you are receiving the no-fault run-around from your insurer, do yourself a favor and enlist the help of an attorney who is passionate about defending the rights of no-fault victims.