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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Smithtown Car Accident Lawyer

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

If you were injured in a vehicle collision, you might be wondering who will cover your expenses. The automobile insurance rules in New York are complex, and if you do not fully understand them then you could lose out on funds you are entitled to receive. Consult a Smithtown car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck. A diligent personal injury attorney could evaluate your legal options and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

How the No-Fault Insurance System Works

How the No-Fault Insurance System Works

All vehicles registered in New York must have liability insurance coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), and uninsured motorist coverage. Under New York’s no-fault insurance system, each driver in an accident must turn to their own insurance carrier to reimburse their medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.

Injured passengers submit their claim to the insurer of the car they were injured in. Pedestrians and cyclists also claim from the insurer of the vehicle that hit them. The minimum coverage for bodily injury to others is $25,000 for each individual and $50,000 aggregate for multiple injured persons.

Smithtown drivers must have at least $50,000 in PIP coverage and could purchase coverage with a higher limit for an increased premium. Depending on the circumstances of the crash and the driver’s insurance policy, the coverage might be inadequate to cover all of an injured person’s losses. A car accident attorney in Smithtown could review the circumstances of a crash to identify any other potential sources of reimbursement.

Acquiring Compensation Beyond the No-Fault System

Recognizing that the no-fault system could prevent the most severely injured people from receiving fair and necessary compensation, the law allows a plaintiff to pursue damages outside the system in certain circumstances. People who have serious injuries, as defined by New York Insurance Law § 5102(d), could bring a lawsuit against a negligent driver. Qualifying injuries include:

  • Broken bone

  • Disfigurement

  • Functional impairment of any body part or system

  • Amputation

  • Loss of a fetus

  • Non-permanent injury that prevents full participation in an injured person’s usual activities for 90 of the 180 days immediately following the accident

This law also provides an opportunity to secure damages if someone dies in a wreck. When motor vehicle accident injuries are fatal, the decedent’s family could bring suit against the responsible driver. The damages an injured person or a decedent’s family might collect in a lawsuit depend on the negligent driver’s assets. Once insurance coverage is exhausted, any damages must come from the driver’s personal assets.

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Missing Deadlines Could Doom Your Case

There are several critical deadlines that drivers involved in accidents must keep in mind. Failing to meet any of these deadlines could leave an injured person without a remedy to secure compensation.

Injured parties must file for a no-fault claim with the appropriate insurer within 30 days of the accident. If the responsible driver was uninsured, plaintiffs must file claims with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation within 90 days. Missing these deadlines could result in a coverage denial, which is why working with a Smithtown auto accident lawyer is beneficial.

Adults who suffer injuries in a car crash have three years to bring a lawsuit against a negligent party. If an injured person was a minor at the time of the accident, they have three years from their 18th birthday to file suit. If the at-fault driver was a government employee on business at the time of the crash, if an involved vehicle was government-owned, or if road conditions contributed to the accident, an injured person must file a notice of claim against the local government within 90 days of the accident. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the plaintiff has only one year from the date of the accident to file suit against a government defendant.

Rely on a Smithtown Car Accident Attorney to Handle Your Case

Getting appropriate compensation after suffering severe injuries in a car wreck requires deep knowledge of the no-fault system and the procedural rules for bringing a lawsuit. You do not have to do it alone. A Long Island car accident lawyer has the experience to get you a fair and reasonable settlement. Call today to schedule a case review.


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