Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents in New York City

Listed below are a number of answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to New York auto accidents.

Q: What is "no-fault" law and how does it work in New York?

A: New York is a no-fault state, meaning that you can be compensated for medical bills and lost wages by your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault in an auto accident. Regulation 68, as it is called, allows a maximum of $50,000 unless you sustain a serious injury like disfigurement or paralysis.

Q: What is "negligence" and how do I prove it?

A: Negligence is a legal term. It means failing to exercise a basic duty of care that all licensed drivers should exercise. Speeding and texting while driving are two examples of careless behavior - as opposed to intentional behavior - that can cause an auto accident. You prove negligence by gathering sufficient evidence of careless behavior and presenting it to the jury. In many cases, the no-fault system does not require such proof.

Q: Can I recover compensation for pain and suffering?

A: Under New York no-fault law, many auto accident victims recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and related expenses first, up to $50,000, before recovering compensation for pain and suffering. If you were seriously injured in a crash, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages greater than $50,000. Serious injuries under NY Code § 5102 include death, loss of limb, significant disfigurement and fracture.

Q: I was a pedestrian injured in an auto accident. Can I recover?

A: All pedestrians are covered under New York no-fault law and can recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages, as if they were the driver or passenger.

Q: Are there any time limits after an auto accident in New York?

A: Under no-fault law, a written notice of claim must be submitted within 30 days, medical bills within 45 days and lost wages within 90 days. For lawsuits seeking compensation for serious injuries, you must file a complaint within three years.

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