After a car accident in Westchester County, you will file a claim with your own insurance company regardless of who caused the crash. New York is a “no-fault” car insurance state, which means your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will pay for your medical bills and other financial losses. However, non-economic losses such as pain and suffering are not compensable.
Reporting a Car Accident
Once you have sought medical treatment after a car accident, call your auto insurance company to report the collision. They will conduct an investigation and calculate the damages, then either deny your claim or issue you a settlement check. In many cases, no-fault insurance can be positive for those involved in a crash with minor injuries since claims are more easily settled when fault doesn’t have to be determined. In an ideal situation, you will have a decision from your insurer in about 30 days. If you disagree with their decision, you can make an appeal to the claims supervisor or hire an attorney. A lawyer can communicate with the insurance adjuster directly and work to reserve or modify their determination.
Cooperate With Your Insurer
Unlike Westchester County personal injury claims, you do not have to worry about every word you say when speaking to your insurance company. You can cooperate and even make a recorded statement if they request one. Since fault is not an issue when determining benefits, state law requires you to cooperate with your auto insurer. Your policy may require a recorded statement and medical examination by a physician your insurer selects. If you refuse to cooperate, your claim may be rightfully denied.
Exiting the No-Fault System
Under New York law, you are legally able to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against an at-fault driver if: economic losses add up to more than $50,000 or you suffer a “serious injury.” A serious injury is defined under New York State Insurance law as follows:
- A permanent loss or use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- A permanent disability or limited use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- A non-permanent injury that prevents you from performing your daily activities for at least 90 days within the 180 days immediately following the accident.
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
If your injury satisfies the state’s threshold or your financial losses exceed $50,000, you can file a liability claim with the at-fault party’s auto insurer or sue the at-fault driver for the difference and pain and suffering.
Speak to a Westchester Car Accident Attorney
If you believe you have the right to step outside of the no-fault system, speak to a Westchester County Car Accident Lawyer. They can go over your options for obtaining compensation. Even if you don’t plan on suing, having an attorney represent you can be critical in negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurer and to obtaining the amount of compensation that you deserve.