How Does NY No-Fault Law Limit Recovery of Car Accident Damages?

New York operates under a no-fault car insurance system. If you are involved in a car accident in the state, your own auto insurance company reimburses you for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses up to the limits of your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It does not matter who was at fault in the accident for your PIP coverage to apply.

However, most people opt to carry only the minimum PIP insurance coverage in New York, which is $50,000. In order to be able to recover compensation beyond that amount, including pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, you have to meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. That means your injuries have to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Permanent limitation of use of a body part
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Bone fracture
  • Substantial disability for at least 90 days

If you meet the serious injury threshold, then you can file a third-party claim against the other driver’s insurance company and/or bring a personal injury lawsuit. In these circumstances, you may be able to recover non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress or loss of enjoyment of life. There are no limits for the amount of non-economic damages a judge or jury can award.

If you are injured in a car accident, it is important to have your case evaluated by an experienced attorney who can help you win the money you deserve. Your success in a personal injury claim depends on who is shown to be at fault in the accident, including the injured party. New York’s comparative negligence law provides for reducing a plaintiff’s damages by the percentage that he or she is at fault. However, you can recover at least partial damages even if you are mostly to blame.

At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we have over 30 years of experience in successfully helping people with legal issues. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.


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