We usually talk about fault when we discuss a car accident case. The reason is that the person who caused the accident (i.e., the responsible party) can be held liable for damages caused by the crash. However, what happens when no one is at fault after a Buffalo car accident? Who pays for your damages?

No-Fault Car Accidents in Buffalo, NY

Most car crashes involve at least one at-fault party. Sometimes, both drivers contributed to the cause of the accident. In some cases, a third party may be partially to blame for the accident. However, some car accidents are truly no-fault crashes.

In a no-fault car accident, no one is negligent in causing the crash. The crash may have occurred because a driver experienced a medical emergency while driving, such as a stroke or heart attack. A car accident might also happen when an unexpected obstruction in the road cannot be avoided.

Determining fault for car accidents is essential. If you sustain serious injuries, you may have a claim against the at-fault driver. You should never admit fault or assume no one is at fault until you speak with a Buffalo car accident lawyer.

Who Determines Fault for a Buffalo Car Accident?

Many people assume that the police officer determines fault when they investigate the accident and complete an accident report. The officer may indicate whether a driver contributed to the cause of the crash. The officer may issue a traffic ticket to the at-fault driver.

However, the police officer bases their opinion on evidence and information gathered after the crash. They did not see the accident. Therefore, their opinion of whether a driver is at fault is rebuttable.

A Buffalo car accident lawyer investigates the cause of the crash. They interview witnesses, search for video evidence, gather physical evidence, and consult with experts.

After a thorough investigation, the attorney analyzes the evidence to determine causation and fault. Causation is why the accident happened. Fault is who is responsible for the cause of the crash.

Disputes regarding fault mean you have to fight to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. You are unlikely to receive damages (at least from the other driver) without evidence proving fault.

What Is PIP Insurance and How Does It Work in a No-Fault Car Accident?

New York requires drivers to purchase no-fault insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. No-fault insurance pays lost earnings, medical expenses, and other reasonable and necessary expenses if you are involved in a car accident.

No-fault does not refer to the accident being anyone’s fault. Instead, it refers to PIP insurance paying regardless of who caused the crash. You could be at fault for causing the accident, and your PIP insurance provider still pays your claim.

Your PIP coverage should pay your claim unless:

  • You were drunk when the accident occurred
  • You intentionally caused the accident
  • You were riding an ATV or motorcycle
  • You own an uninsured vehicle
  • You were driving a stolen vehicle
  • You were injured while committing a felony

Your PIP coverage does not pay all damages caused by an accident. It does not cover pain and suffering damages. Also, you may exhaust your policy limits without receiving reimbursement for all medical bills, expenses, and lost wages. However, if the other driver caused the accident, you might have a claim against them.

Filing a Claim Against an At-Fault Driver in Buffalo, NY

If you meet the serious injury threshold or if another exception applies, you can sue an at-fault driver for damages for a Buffalo car accident. New York Insurance Code §5102 defines serious injuries as permanent impairments, death, significant disfigurement, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, a fracture, and among other injuries.

If you sue the other driver, you could receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. However, you must prove the other driver was negligent in causing the car crash. The elements of negligence are:

  • The other driver had a legal duty of care. All drivers in New York have a duty to follow traffic laws and use reasonable care to avoid accidents.
  • The other driver did not use reasonable care, thereby breaching their duty of care.
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your car accident.
  • You incurred damages and sustained injuries because of the other driver’s conduct.

Most car accident cases are handled by the liability insurance company for the other driver. Regardless of whether you intend to sue the other driver, seeking legal advice about your accident is wise.

Contact The Buffalo Car Accident Lawyers At O’Brien & Ford PC For Help Today

For more information, please contact the Buffalo car accident lawyers at O’Brien & Ford PC to schedule a free consultation with an accident lawyer. We have a convenient office location in Buffalo, NY.

We proudly serve all throughout Erie County and the state of New York.

O’Brien & Ford Buffalo Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
4549 Main St, Suite 201
Buffalo, New York, 14226
(716) 222-2222