If you are involved in a car accident in New York, you expect the insurance of the at-fault party to pay for damages or injuries. But what happens if that driver doesn’t have insurance? There are two important options you have to avoid paying out of pocket in this situation.
New York Requires Insurance
Before exploring your options for an accident with an uninsured driver, keep in mind that driving without insurance is illegal in New York. The state requires three types of auto insurance. Liability insurance pays for damage or injuries caused by the driver. No-fault or personal injury protection (PIP) in most cases pays for medical expenses, lost earnings, and other relevant expenses related to injuries. Finally, uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in an accident with someone without insurance.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
In New York, uninsured motorist coverage is there to protect you in case of a car accident when the other car is at fault and has no insurance.
Your uninsured motorist coverage in New York covers you as well as anyone in your house and anyone in your car in case of an accident with an uninsured driver. It also applies to hit-and-runs where you can’t even check insurance information for the other driver.
Notably, New York only requires uninsured motorist coverage for bodily damage. You can choose to add coverage for your property or auto from an uninsured motorist but expect to pay extra premiums.
The minimum uninsured motorist coverage also applies if you are injured while in a car you didn’t know was uninsured, and it also covers pedestrians, as well.
If there is no uninsured motorist coverage policy that applies to your accident, there may still be no-fault coverage and/or uninsured motorist protection through an organization called the MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT INDEMNIFICATION CORPORATION (MVAIC ). This organization was created by the NYS legislature to provide benefits to certain eligible claimants who were involved in a car accident in NEW YORK wth an uninsured driver and no other insurance is available. There are a lot of rules, qualifications and regulations involved in obtaining benefits through MVAIC, as well as strict time deadlines to presenting a claim, and therefore you must contact a Car Accident Lawyer immediately to preserve your rights.
How Do You Use Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Using your uninsured motorist coverage in New York is just like using any other part of your auto insurance. You start by notifying your insurer about the accident, then, you file a claim. You should expect your insurance company to ask for information and documents like medical bills.
The caveat is that you may only receive compensation up to the limit of your insurance policy. Your uninsured motorist coverage must be the same as your minimum bodily injury limit, which is $25,000 for injuries and $50,000 for death for one person.
Can You Sue an Uninsured Driver for Damage?
If your uninsured motorist coverage and PIP are not enough to pay for your medical bills and their consequences, you have another option. You can also sue an uninsured at fault driver.
While suing an uninsured driver for damages is an option, you also need to be realistic about your expectations. That is because it is very likely that someone without auto insurance will not have enough assets to pay your claim, even if you win.
Of course, that is not always the case, and it is typically worth consulting an attorney to consider the option of suing an uninsured driver for damages. At the very least, there will be a legal record that they owe you money.
A Lawyer Makes the Process Easier
As you can see, there are extra complications when you are in a car accident where the other driver has no insurance, therefore, it is best to work with a lawyer. Even if your uninsured motorist coverage covers the full damages, your lawyer can help ensure you receive fair compensation.
It becomes even more critical to hire a lawyer if your uninsured motorist coverage is not enough to cover your damage. If you are in an accident without insurance and not at fault, your lawyer will also help you estimate future medical costs related to your injuries. This is an essential step to ensuring that you receive fair compensation that accounts for future lost income or medical care.
The important thing to remember is that your lawyer will help you through the process after a car accident, including when the other driver is at fault and doesn’t have insurance. You won’t have to navigate your options yourself or decide if it is worth suing the driver. To ensure you make an informed decision, consult with a lawyer.