No-Fault Blog No. 1: Let’s talk about automobile No-Fault insurance coverage. What the heck is it?
If you were hurt in a collision while the operator of a car or truck and have a New York State registration and insurance on the vehicle, you will need to get No-Fault insurance benefits from your own company under New York law to pay for medical care for your injuries and lost wages if you lose time from work.
Know that No-Fault coverage is also known as “Personal Injury Protection,” or “PIP.” PIP and No-Fault are the same thing. This is, of course, completely confusing and totally unhelpful, maybe the result of a bad lawyer joke years ago.
Note to motorcyclists: injured in a collision while operating your motorcycle? Sorry, you don’t get No-Fault benefits in New York State. Your vehicles are considered too dangerous to be insured with first-party No-Fault benefits. I still want to talk to you, please contact me. But you’ll have to skip this No-Fault discussion as it does not pertain to you. We’ll cover medical treatment and liability issues relating to motorcycles and injured motorcyclists in New York State in another blog post.
Back to car and truck injury claims. That’s right. Your own insurance company is going to pay for your medical treatment related to your injuries, your out-of-work wage losses, and any incidental expenses you incur (it’s hard to shovel snow when you’ve got a cast on your arm and you had shoulder-repair surgery; you’re probably going to have to pay someone to clear your driveway temporarily). No-Fault insurance benefits are known as “first-party benefits,” because they belong to you, on your own insurance, as the “first-party.”
This frequently drives my clients nuts, because it is hard to understand. The other driver was negligent and caused your collision and injury -- why does your own insurance company have to pay your medical bills and lost wages if you were injured in a car or truck by someone else and it wasn’t your fault? What about the negligent driver who hit you? That’s how the No-Fault law works in New York State (it’s called no-fault, remember?), and it has to do with statistical probabilities of collisions statewide: by the end of each year, all the insurance companies insuring cars in New York State will likely have a relatively equal number of No-Fault claims, which makes it a wash for the purposes of premium payments for all insurance carriers doing business in New York State. And it is easier for your company, which owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing under New York law, to manage your injury claim.
To be continued.