State law requires insurance, and most New Yorkers comply with that rule. They carry liability policies, as well as no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on their vehicles.
When another driver sideswipes your car or rear-ends you in traffic, their fault for the crash means that their insurance will primarily pay for your expenses. Even if you pay for excellent coverage, you could easily get hurt by someone who carries the least insurance allowed by state law.
Could you wind up in a situation where the driver to blame for the wreck cannot fully compensate you for your property damage losses and injuries?
New York’s mandatory car insurance has gaps
There is no guarantee that the other driver’s insurance will be sufficient to cover your crash costs. New York only requires $25,000 worth of property damage coverage. A minimal policy could have the same amount of bodily injury liability coverage if a crash hurts one person and $50,000 for everyone to share in a wreck that hurts two or more people.
Typically, you make a claim against your own PIP coverage before the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage. In addition to your PIP coverage, you may have paid for underinsured motorist protection. This additional insurance can cover costs when a collision results in major injuries or catastrophic damage to your vehicle. However, there could still be thousands of dollars of lost wages and medical bills that insurance won’t pay. What happens then?
You may need to go to court
If you don’t have underinsured motorist coverage or if your costs still exceed what is available, you may need to go to civil court. Those hurt in traffic collisions in New York can file personal injury claims in some cases for their financial losses not covered by insurance.
Provided that you have documentation of the costs and reason to take action against the other driver, such as proof that they broke the law, a lawsuit could help you defray the additional expenses that insurance has not reimbursed you for after the crash.
Knowing how insurance works, especially uninsured and underinsured motorist protection, can help those dealing with big bills after a recent car wreck.