A: If you are hit by a car – even if you were on bicycle, skateboard or on foot – you’ll need to turn first to your own New York driver’s insurance for an injury claim. It doesn’t matter who was at fault for the accident (which is why it’s called “no-fault.”) Many, but not all, car accident injury claims will start and end with the injured person receiving a settlement from his or her own car insurance company.
If you – or anyone in your household – does not have auto insurance, New York State law says you have a right to have your medical expenses covered by the driver’s auto insurance.
If you have a serious injury, you have a right to sue the driver for the harms, losses and damages the driver has caused you. It is important to get a lawyer involved if the extent of the injuries is serious and the damages and expenses may exceed those typically covered by automatic protections within the law.In New York, this is an option if the your injuries include:
- significant disfigurement
- bone fracture
- permanent limitation of use of a body organ or limb
- significant limitation of a body function or system, or
- substantially full disability for 90 days.
If it turns out that your claim is exempt from New York’s no-fault rules because of the seriousness of your injuries, you should know that there are time limits in New York for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The “statutes of limitations,” are different depending on the circumstances of your case. The New York statutes of limitations for car accident cases are:
- three years after the accident for filing a personal injury lawsuit (i.e. for medical bills and other personal harm suffered) (N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 214).
- three years after the accident for filing a lawsuit for property damage (i.e. damage to your vehicle) (N.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 214).