Accidents happen – that’s why we must have car insurance, after all, to protect our property and finances in the event of a car accident or personal injury resulting from one. And if your vehicle is registered in the state of New York, you are legally obligated to carry auto insurance that covers bodily injury, property damage, basic personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage.
That last part plays an important role in what to do if you’re in a car accident with an uninsured driver. So, what actions should you take if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver? While only a fraction of New Yorkers—5.3%—are uninsured, it’s important to know what to do if one of these drivers is involved in an accident with you (you could, too, get into an accident with an out-of-state driver). Here’s our New York accident lawyers’ advice on what to do if you ever find yourself in this situation.
No Fault Insurance
New York is what is known as a “no fault” state for car accidents. This means that regardless of which driver was at fault for a car accident that happens in the State of New York, each driver’s respective insurance company will cover medical expenses and lost wages up to $50,000.
The advantage of this system is that an injured driver’s medical bills and other financial expenses will be paid for without having to prove the other driver was at fault.
Suing the At-Fault Driver
While No Fault Insurance automatically pays for your medical bills, in some circumstances you can also sue the other driver for pain and suffering and any expenses above the $50,000 No Fault coverage.
Someone injured in a car crash who sustain a “serious injury”, as defined by New York State law, in an accident caused by the other driver, can sue the other driver and that driver’s insurance company. If you think you’ve suffered a “serious injury” in a car accident, it is extremely important that you speak with a New York car accident attorney about your case.
When one of the drivers in an accident doesn’t have insurance, in violation of New York State law, things get more complicated.
Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorist Coverage
New York State law requires all drivers to have Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorist coverage, also known as UM/UIM coverage. If you are injured in a car accident caused by a driver who has no insurance, or only the minimum liability coverage, you can make a claim to your own car insurance company’s UM/UIM policy.
Essentially, your car insurance company stands in for the at-fault, but uninsured, driver. New York State requires you to buy at least $25,000 in UM coverage, but car insurance companies typically package UM and UIM coverage together.
Reporting an Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you are ever in an accident with an uninsured driver, it is very important to contact your own car insurance company and the police as soon as possible. Drivers who do not have the necessary insurance can be subject to stiff penalties, including fines and having their license suspended.
An experienced attorney can provide you with important insight into the process of recovering these losses and how to proceed with your case in a way that will most likely result in you being properly compensated.
To speak with our experienced team of car accident attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. today, contact us at 1-800-2-DEARIE.