Minimum Insurance Requirements
All drivers and vehicle owners in New York are required to carry insurance. Failing to do so may result in fines and the suspension of one’s driver’s license. The minimum insurance required is:
- Property damage: $10,000 per accident.
- Bodily Injury: $25,000 for injury to one person; $50,000 for injury to two or more people
- Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 for injury to one person; $50,000 for injury to two or more people.
- Death Benefits: $50,000 per person, or $100,000 per accident.
Under New York’s no-fault law, if you are involved in a minor accident, your insurance will cover your property damage and injuries up to the limits stated above. If you suffer serious or permanent injuries in an accident in which another driver was negligent, you may sue the other driver for your damages above the no-fault limits. Unfortunately, some drivers ignore the law and either let their insurance policies lapse or fail to carry insurance at all. Others carry only the minimum required coverage. What happens when the other driver has no insurance?
An Uninsured Accident Scenario
Suppose, for example, you are in an accident with a drunk driver and you suffer broken bones and other injuries. Broken bones are automatically considered serious injuries, which means the no-fault limits do not apply. You may sue a drunk driver for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if the driver only carried the required minimum insurance or had no insurance at all, you only have two choices: try to obtain a judgment against the driver and collect directly from him/her or make a claim against your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
The likelihood of being able to collect damages from an uninsured driver is pretty small, so it is probable that you will have to make a claim under your uninsured motorist policy. In this scenario, it is easy to see how your damages can exceed the required minimum uninsured motorist amounts. The medical expenses alone from even one broken bone can exceed $25,000. If your entire family is injured, the $50,000 per accident minimum will be completely inadequate.
Don’t wait until an accident happens to find out if you are adequately covered. Make sure you have enough uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself and your family in case you are in an accident with a driver who carries only the legal minimum coverage or no insurance at all. Talk to your insurance agent about your options. As soon as possible after an accident, talk to a New York accident attorney who can help determine all possible sources of payment. The experts at O’Brien and Ford will help you receive full compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses and pain and suffering. Call us for a free consultation at (716) 907-7777