How Does Establishing Fault Affect a Car Accident Case?
New York has no-fault automobile insurance. Regardless of who was at fault for causing an accident, insurance covers expenses up to $50,000 (or more, if the no-fault coverage purchased has limits greater than $50,000).
However, what happens when an injury is extremely serious or when costs exceed $50,000 insurance limits? When this occurs, you can sue an at-fault party for damages through a lawsuit.
Serious Injury Threshold in a Car Accident Under NY Insurance Law
Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law defines what constitutes a serious injury in car accident cases.
Any one of the following is considered a serious injury:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature, which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
What If You Were Partly at Fault in Causing the Accident?
During the case, a judge or jury assigns both parties a percentage of fault for causing the accident. If the other party was not 100% at fault for the accident, can you still bring a lawsuit? In New York, the answer is “yes.”
Pure comparative negligence law is the basis for personal injury cases in New York. Under this law, your percentage of fault in causing the accident reduces your recovery amount by that percentage. For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 50% at fault, the most you could recover would be $50,000. Even if you were 99% at fault you could still recover damages, but in this instance, you could only recover $1,000.
In a car accident case, your attorney must prove the other party had some percentage of fault in order to recover compensation for damages.
If you have questions about your car accident and recovering damages, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The initial consultation is free, and you owe nothing unless the attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.