What is No-Fault Car Insurance?
For States that follow a “no fault” car insurance system, you must go to your car insurance carrier, who pays for your medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses for anyone covered by the policy, up to the coverage limit, regardless of who in fact caused the accident. However, you cannot receive payment under the policy for non-economic damages that are a result of the accident. An example of non-economic damages could be the pain and suffering you endured from your injuries. Note, no-fault car insurance claims apply only to injuries caused by car accidents, not to vehicle damage claims (damage or loss of a car), which can be handled by filing a claim against the driver that caused your accident also known as an “at fault” driver.
No-Fault Insurance in New York
New York is a no-fault car insurance State. New York has set it’s own rules on when you can file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver in order to recover non-economic losses. To do so, the plaintiff must meet New York’s “serious injury” threshold.
What is the "Serious Injury" Threshold Requirement in New York?
In order to file a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver outside the limitations of your insurance policy and pursue compensation for all other available non-economic damages, your injuries must be considered a “serious” injury in order to pass the threshold under New York State law. To qualify as a serious injury, as a result of your accident, you must have experienced at least one of the following:
- significant disfigurement
- bone fracture
- permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
- permanent limitation of use of a body function or system, or
- substantially full disability for 90 days
Connecticut: an "At-Fault" State
Unlike New York, Connecticut follows an “at-fault” approach to injuries and damages that result from a car accident. In Connecticut, the driver who causes the car accident is responsible for compensating anyone who is injured from the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will often cover the losses up to their policy limit. If you suffer an injury or damage from a car accident in Connecticut, you have three options:
- You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
- You can file a claim with your own insurance company if the loss is covered under your policy, or
- You can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier
written and updated by Michael Jasper, Esq.