Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer: When Can You Sue in a No-Fault State?

In a city of about 8.5 million people (a national population already in some countries), it’s easy to have overcrowding problems. The traffic situation in New York City, particularly in its major districts, are world-known, and it has become a concern, especially since it’s making car accidents more common and costlier these days.

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In fact, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives found that car crashes take out about $4 billion from the city’s economy. That’s roughly 1% of its Gross City Product. The accidents bring a multitude of hefty costs, including medical expenses, repairs for property damages, and emergency services. The victims can sustain minor injuries or suffer disabling injuries, end up in a critical condition, and even die right after the car accident. The total costs of property damage and personal injury for each person can easily go up to tens of thousands or even millions.

One issue that may be confusing for residents caught in a car crash is the fact that New York is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of an auto accident, you have to claim from your own auto insurance first and exhaust its benefits. It might seem unfair, especially if you know that the other driver is at fault for instance, but that is the law that the state and others follow.

What happens if you do exhaust your insurance benefits because you required extensive (and expensive) medical treatment? What if you think the other driver should really be held liable for the accident? A skilled Brooklyn personal injury lawyer can step in and help you navigate the laws surrounding car accidents in a no-fault state like New York.

When Can You Sue

The no-fault regulations only apply to personal injury. If you want to claim compensation from the at-fault driver for your property damage or loss, you are free to do so. You can check with the driver or their insurance company how to file the claim and check with your lawyer how to pursue more if your property losses cost more than the other driver’s coverage.

As for personal injury claims, you must have suffered a serious injury before you can pursue compensation or sue the other driver. There are statutory definitions of injury, including significant disfigurement and substantially full disability for 90 days. Reputable firms like The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein can give you an experienced Brooklyn injury lawyer to examine your case and advise if you should take the case to court.

(Source: Car accidents cost NYC nearly $4 billion a year, New York Post, March 20, 2015)