In New York, accident victims can recover damages from their insurers, as New York is a no-fault state. This means that if you were a driver or passenger of car, pedestrian, or bicyclist, and were struck by a vehicle, the insurance company of the vehicle you were in or the insurance company of the vehicle that hit you will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, no matter who is at-fault for the accident.
Can I sue the other driver?
Because New York is a no-fault state, not all accident victims can file a lawsuit against the negligent parties involved in their accident. However, in cases involving serious injuries, drivers may file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver responsible for their accident to recover additional damages for pain and suffering and other damages not covered by insurance. Drivers will need to meet the serious injury threshold (death, significant disfigurement, etc.) before filing suit.
Proving driver negligence generally requires the victim to show that the driver failed to follow one or more traffic laws while behind the wheel. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Driving at an excessive rate of speed
- Failure to stop at a stop sign or traffic light
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while distracted (e.g. texting and driving)
In addition to establishing that the other driver was negligent, you will need to show that the driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries and damages. Expert testimony, witness testimony, and police and medical reports are all effective to help prove your case.
A personal injury attorney can help you file an application for no-fault benefits with the insurer and, if you meet the necessary requirements, proceed with a lawsuit against the parties responsible for your crash.