Car Accidents

Frequently asked questions:

Q: If I am injured in a car accident, how long do I have to bring a lawsuit?

A: If you are a New York resident, the statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit for injuries arising from an auto accident is 3 years. If there is a death, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of death.

Q: If I am hurt in a car accident, who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?

A: The “No-Fault” automobile insurance carrier has primary responsibility for payment of medical bills and lost wages. This is even before Medicare, Medicaid, or private medical insurance. There is a $50,000 limit on these payments. However, if the injury arises “on the job”, Workers’ Compensation is primary coverage for medical bills and lost wages.

Q: What does “No-Fault” mean? And what is “No-Fault insurance”?

A: “No-Fault” means that your automobile insurance carrier is obligated to pay for medical bills and lost wages up to a maximum of $50,000 for anyone who is in your car when it is involved in an accident, no matter whose fault the accident is; the insurance which covers these losses is known as “PIP” (personal injury protection) or No-Fault insurance. You may obtain PIP coverage greater than $50,000 if you pay an increased premium.

Q: What can I recover in a lawsuit?

A: You can recover money damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering; permanency of injury; loss of enjoyment of life; and medical payments and loss of income (only to the extent that they are in excess of $50,000 and have not been reimbursed by some other coverage).

Q: What happens if I am in an accident with another car that has no insurance coverage?  Can I recover anything?

A: Yes. If you own a car or live in a household with someone who does, you may recover from the Supplemental Uninsured Motorist Coverage (or SUM) policy provision of that vehicle; to do so, you must file a notice of claim with the insurance company within 90 days of your accident. If you do not own a car or live in a household with someone who does, you must apply for coverage with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (or MVAIC) at 110 Williams Street, New York, New York, and the same notice of claim requirement applies. If you own a vehicle, it is highly recommended that you have as much SUM coverage on your vehicle as possible. Speak with your insurance broker ASAP.

Q: What is the minimum amount of insurance that New York State requires an automobile owner to carry?

A: Automobile owners are required to carry a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 of bodily injury insurance. This means that any one injured person may recover a maximum of $25,000 with a maximum of $50,000 coverage for the accident no matter the number of people injured (e.g., if four people are injured, there is a total of only $50,000 available from this insurance policy to pay for their injuries, and any one injured person can only receive a maximum of $25,000).

Q: Can I recover for injuries I suffer in a car accident even if I am partially at fault for the accident?

A: Yes, although your recovery may be reduced, you may still recover money damages even if you are partly at fault for an accident.

Q: Do I have to pay any money to an attorney to consult with them about a car accident case?  What if they take the case, what do I pay?

A: No, generally you do not pay any money to a “contingency fee” attorney for consulting with them about a personal injury case; if the attorneys take the case, they will receive a 1/3 attorney’s fee of any recovery, after deducting expenses.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is different; the information provided herein is general and may not apply to a particular case. Therefore, if you think you have a possible case, you should consult Christopher Patsos at 212-949-8080.