Who Pays for the Damage in a Car Accident in New York?

after effects of a serious car crash with damaged brake light

If you have been involved in a car accident in New York, you are likely facing a multitude of bills and other financial damages. Who is responsible for paying for your damages? In New York, the answer depends on the type of damages you are claiming. As we have previously discussed, New York follows a no-fault system for personal injuries following a car accident whereby each person’s insurance covers their own medical costs, with some exceptions. Property damage, however, is treated differently from personal injury claims. Read on for a discussion of how liability is apportioned following a New York motor vehicle accident.

Required insurance in New York

New York state law requires all drivers to maintain minimum levels of insurance coverage to cover expenses in the event of an accident. For bodily injury, drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 for injuries to a single person and $50,000 for injuries to multiple people, as well as a mandatory $50,000 in “no-fault” coverage. Additionally, drivers must carry a minimum $10,000 of coverage for property damage.

The at-fault driver pays for car repairs

After a crash in New York, the driver who is at fault is responsible for paying for any and all property damage caused. Unlike with personal injury claims, anyone whose car or other property was damaged can directly collect from the driver at fault, for the full amount of the damages caused. Liability is generally passed on to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, assuming the driver complied with state law and carries appropriate insurance; you will thus likely be filing a claim with their insurance company.

If you are the at-fault driver, you will want to rely on your insurance to cover the damages. Your policy type will determine what is covered:

Collision coverage offers protection for when you are the at-fault driver in an accident. If you crash into another driver or into someone’s property, your collision coverage will cover the damages up to the policy limit. Additionally, if you were not at fault but the at-fault driver does not have insurance sufficient to cover your repair costs, then your collision coverage will cover you for the remaining costs.

Comprehensive coverage applies when something other than an accident damaged your car. If your car was hit by a falling tree, was damaged by vandalism, was stolen, or if you hit a deer or some other animal, then your comprehensive coverage will cover your expenses up to the policy limit.

Getting the insurance company to pay for your repairs

Regardless of who is at fault for the accident and whether you use your insurance company or the other driver’s, you will need to submit an insurance claim. The insurance company is only required to pay for repairs up to the value of the car. Additionally, if your car is totaled, then they will pay you for the total value of the vehicle.

You may disagree with the insurance company about the total value of your car or about the reasonable cost of repairs. The repair shop may speak with the insurance claims adjuster, which may help get you more coverage. But, the insurance company may simply undervalue your car or the cost of repairs when the final numbers are tallied. In that case, your auto accident lawyer can help you determine your best next step, including filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.

Get Help after a Serious Car Accident in the Bronx

If you have been the victim of an auto accident by a careless driver in New York, find out if you’re entitled to money damages for your property damage and injuries by contacting the passionate and effective Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm at 718-409-1200.

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