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Frequently Asked Questions2019-02-02T21:04:35+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

WORKER’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE

This is insurance that covers medical and rehabilitation costs, and lost wages for employees injured at work in the course of their evidence; required by law in all states.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT INDEMNIFICATION CORPORATION (MVAIC) INSURANCE

MVAIC is provided by the State to cover an innocent victim where a vehicle in an accident has no insurance. MVAIC can provide No-Fault benefits, liability benefits, or both.

UMBRELLA OR EXCESS COVERAGE

This is additional coverage which is in addition to the basic auto insurance coverage and is usually on found on a homeowners or business policy.

SUPPLEMENTAL UNINSURED/ UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

All New York policies require uninsured and supplementary underinsured provisions.  This type of coverage protects you and your family if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle. This is vital coverage which the automobile insurance companies and brokers often hide or downplay when selling insurance policies.

Supplemental Uninsured coverage is coverage that is part of an endorsement on everyone’s insurance policy in the state of New York that protects occupants of a vehicle when they are involved in a hit and run or hit by a vehicle with no insurance.

This coverage also protects pedestrians that are hit by a vehicle that flees the scene. Any relative who lives in the household of the insured, or anyone named on the policy, has this coverage.

Supplemental Underinsured motorist coverage – covers the same insured as above but potentially protects them if involved in a collision with another vehicle that has limited coverage.

It is important to get the maximum SUM/UM coverage available when obtaining automobile insurance for your vehicles. You should get equal SUM/UIM limits to your policy limits for your liability coverage. In New York State you can get SUM/UIM benefits equal to but not greater than your liability insurance.

The minimum liability limits in NYS are $25,000 per person /$50,000 per incident: but to protect yourself and your family you should attempt to get as high as possible.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

Liability Insurance, also known as third party insurance –  is insurance that provides protection for claims arising from injuries or damage to other people or property. Generally, in New York State, the liability insurance minimum limits are $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident with some exceptions.

NO-FAULT INSURANCE IS THE PORTION OF THE AUTOMOBILE POLICY THAT PAYS FOR FIRST PARTY BENEFITS.

First party benefits include:  medical payments, lost earnings, household help, transportation to and from medical providers, prescriptions, medications, medical equipment, etc.  They are available to the driver and passengers of the insured vehicle and to pedestrians struck by the insured vehicle.  No-Fault benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

There are strict rules and time deadlines which must be met to enable a person to receive these benefits.

A No-Fault application (NF2) must be submitted within 30 days of the accident with few exceptions.

There are specific rules regarding which insurance policy is responsible for these payments. These rules are complicated but we have summarized them as briefly as the rules permit. The rules are somewhat different if the person injured was in the course of his or her employment at the time of the accident. If the person was working at the time of the accident then “worker’s compensation insurance” is primary.

If you are the operator of a motor vehicle, No-Fault benefits will be paid only by the car that you are in regardless of who was responsible for the accident.  If you are operating someone else’s vehicle and it has no insurance then if you own a car or have a household vehicle that vehicle’s policy will cover you although that vehicle was not involved in the accident.

If you are a passenger in a motor vehicle you do not own then the following rules apply:

1. The car you are in is responsible for the No-Fault benefits.

2. If the car you are an occupant of has no insurance then your household vehicle will be responsible for the No-Fault benefits.

3. If the car you are in has no insurance and you have no household vehicle, then the State covers you through the MVAIC. To be eligible for MVAIC No-Fault benefits, the accident must be reported to the police as soon as possible but preferably at the same time as the accident occurs.

4. If you are a pedestrian the same rules apply as if you were a passenger in the car that hit you.

5. If you are a passenger on a New York City bus then the primary No- Fault carrier is your household vehicle if you have one. If you do not have a household vehicle then the bus would be responsible for the No-Fault benefits.

6. If you are a pedestrian hit by a bus then the no fault of the bus is primary and your household vehicle would not come into play unless it had excess benefits known as APIP or OBEL.

There are many different scenarios in which a person is or is not a member of a household or whether the police were sufficiently informed, etc. It is impossible to address all the scenarios here. We have only outlined the basic rules which govern No-Fault coverage issues.

Auto Insurance can be very confusing. In order to assist our clients, as well as other attorneys, we have outlined the different areas that come into play when people are injured in auto accidents.

There are different types of endorsements in insurance policies that provide coverage for different items of damages. There are endorsements for injuries that passenegers sustain, property damage, collision, medical payments even glass coverage.

The main types of coverage relating to injuries sustained  by pedestrians and occupants of motor vehicles will be discussed herein. We will not address all types of coverages and if you have any questions about coverage for your accident you can contact us.

  1. Wait for police.
  2. Makes sure to go to the hospital via the ambulance if you are injured.
  3. Do not worry about your vehicle, the police will tow it to a safe place. Your health is the most important thing to take care of immediately following a car accident.
  4. Do not leave the scene without making a report. If the ambulance gets there before the police you must make an effort to make a police report as soon as possible. The State of New York makes a police report a prerequisite for obtaining State benefits if the vehicles involved are uninsured.
  5. If your injuries permit, try to take photographs at the scene showing the vehicles, any damage, position of the cars on the roadway, road conditions and the people involved.
  6. Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any potential witnesses and write them down if you are able.
  7. Call a close family member or friend to come to the scene.
  8. After the accident, if you do not have a camera at the scene you must have someone take photographs of your vehicle prior to having the damage fixed.
  9. If you are injured you or your lawyer must report the claim to your insurance carrier. If you intend to retain a lawyer you must do so immediately to make sure that the proper reports are made to the insurance company in a timely manner so that your medical bills and property damage will be paid.
  10. The goal of insurance companies is to take your premiums and other consumer’s premiums and then attempt to pay out as little as possible on a claim. Insurance companies will attempt to avoid payment for the slightest technicality, which is why you need to contact an attorney experienced in handing these types of cases.
  11. If you’re a passenger on a New York City bus, if you do not call the police they will not come because the NYCTA as a policy does not call the police to the scene of an accident.

Tort Reform is a push by corporations and insurance companies to avoid their responsibility to the general public for safety.

  • When we raise our children we teach them about responsibility; that they are accountable for their actions. If you harm another then you must make it right. If the harm great then the steps to make it right must be great as well. This is actually the foundation upon which America is built. Everyone has access to the Courthouse where no matter how poor or powerless a person is, he or she can go to the Courthouse for justice.
  • Tort Reform tries to take the Courthouse away from the people; to limit financial accountability for corporations and insurance companies. If someone is harmed by another person or corporation then in our legal system they are compensated financially for the harms that they have suffered. There is no other way to help or make up for the harms that innocent victims of negligence suffer. When propaganda is put out on behalf of insurance companies and big corporations reporting about runaway lawsuits, bad law suits and high insurance premiums, they are claiming that the American jurors are the problem. The jurors are a solution, not the problem. They hear the facts presented by both sides and are not to be swayed by how much money the corporations or insurance company lobbies donate. They hear the case and determine the extent of the wrong and resulting compensation.
  • TORT REFORM is an attempt to close the Courthouse door by legislating away American rights.
  • There is a constant pressure by insurance companies to take away the rights of individuals to increase corporate profits. The primary purpose of insurance companies is to make money and to point the finger at lawsuits as a major problem in America. They work to make the most profit possible while minimizing their accountability and compensation to victims of their insured’s actions. Every time a bill is passed in Congress that eliminates American’s rights it is a great loss.
  • LIFE:  Presently life has no value in NYS. The way the law works in NYS is that if you are killed in an accident your life is valueless unless you are gainfully employed and supporting someone. Your life itself is something the New York State legislature has determined has no value. We don’t agree and have lobbied the New York State legislature for years to request them to change the law that is over a hundred years old. Similar laws to ours, that allow for no compensation for the grieving family, are only in 4 other states in the country. Click here if you want to support a change in this law that would give life value in New York State. For example if a husband and wife lose a young child, whether due to the negligence in driving, medical care, or other forms of negligence there is no compensation for the grief that a family suffers. The insurance and corporate lobby is strongly against any compensation for the grief that the parents would suffer.
  • The insurance companies’ lobbying and advertising dollars are seen everywhere.  Every football game has numerous if not dozens of ads from insurance companies advertising that you should do your business with them. They don’t advertise how, after they take your premiums, they will go to the absolute greatest lengths and make the most outrageous arguments to avoid paying on valid claims.  Too often people say, “I am not the type of person to sue” when we are picking a jury. We often ask, “Who is the type of person to sue? A person who has been wronged by another and then exercises his constitutional rights to redress the wrong?” When people are hurt the law discourages self help. What makes this country the greatest country in the world is a trial by a jury of one’s peers.

There are literally thousands of factors that determine how much money a person receives in a settlement or verdict when they are injured in an accident.

The basic elements of evaluating a case are complicated but can be divided into several elements:

1.     Did the defendant act in a negligent manner?

2.     Was the defendant’s negligent conduct more likely than not the cause of your injury?

3.     Comparative Negligence – Was any of the fault attributed to your action or inaction?

4.     Harms – What is the full extent of all of the harms that the injured person

a.     Past pain following the accident until the present; injuries; surgeries; loss of enjoyment of life – the loss of the ability to do what you used to do before you were hurt

b.     Future pain and suffering  from the present into the future –  surgeries; loss of enjoyment of life – the impairment of the ability to do what you used to do before you were hurt

c.     Special damages –

i.      Past special damages – medical bills incurred; loss of earnings; out of pocket medical expenses

ii. Future special damages – medical bills; loss of earnings; loss of pension; loss of earning potential

d.     Other damages – – punitive and certain relief that the law may provide in some narrow circumstances such as attorney’s fees for civil rights violations etc.

There are many other factors that may influence what would be fair compensation for all of the harms and losses that a person sustains in an accident and each case must be evaluated on an individual basis.