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The term “No-fault” can cause confusion. New York operates under a no-fault insurance system. Let’s look at what that means, and importantly, what it doesn’t mean.
New York is a No-Fault Insurance State. What Does That Mean?
New York is a no-fault state. This means that we have a system of rules in place to make sure that people injured in car accidents have medical, lost wage, and out-of-pocket insurance coverage.
The important thing to know is that it does NOT mean that nobody can be held at fault for a car crash, nor does it mean that you get money for injuries even if you caused the accident.
No fault is simply medical insurance coverage for persons injured in a car crash.
No-fault coverage is almost counter-intuitive. The reason is that if you are in an accident and it’s not your fault, then it doesn’t make sense that your own insurance company is going to be paying for your medical bills. But that is the rule.
The purpose is to make sure that people who are injured and need treatment can get the treatment. Doctors who did not know how they were going to be paid would refuse to offer treatment. No fault was designed to provide certainty to those who are injured and the doctors who treat them.
Still confused? Feel free to contact me about your accident. I’d be happy to answer your questions, even if you don’t have a personal injury claim.
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So who pays no-fault after an accident?
- If you were driving a car or a passenger in a car, that car’s auto insurance is the no-fault carrier;
- If you were a pedestrian struck by a car, the auto insurance for the car that struck you is the no-fault carrier;
- If you were riding a bicycle and were struck by a car, the auto insurance for the car that struck you is the no-fault carrier;
- If you were a passenger on a bus, then your own household car insurance is the no-fault carrier. If neither you nor any household family members own a car, then the bus is responsible to provide no-fault coverage;
Our no-fault system is intricate and has highly specialized rules. The most important rules to be aware of involve filing and submission deadlines, as they are hard deadlines and almost always unforgiving. A no-fault application must be filed with the appropriate no-fault provider within 30 days of an accident.
All medical bills must be submitted to the no-fault carrier within 45 days of the treatment. Other expenses, such as out-of-pocket costs for transportation and prescriptions, lost wages, or household help must be submitted within 90 days of being incurred.
This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to no-fault, but provides an outline of what no-fault is here in New York.