Last Updated on December 7, 2023

Understanding New York’s No-Fault Insurance Law

In New York, understanding the no-fault insurance system is essential for anyone on the roads. This system guarantees immediate medical care and financial compensation after a car accident, regardless of who is at fault, providing a crucial layer of protection and peace of mind for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.

Conceptual Overview of No-Fault Insurance

The beginning of no-fault insurance in the United States marked a significant shift in handling auto accidents. New York adopted this system with specific goals in mind:

  1. Reducing Litigation: To alleviate the court system by minimizing the need to litigate fault after an accident.
  2. Ensuring Prompt Treatment and Compensation: To guarantee that individuals receive the necessary medical care and financial support swiftly.

Key Principles and Coverage Basics

The no-fault insurance system in New York is supported by several key principles:

  • Coverage Regardless of Fault: Individuals are covered by their insurance policy regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This mandatory coverage is part of every driver's insurance policy, covering necessary expenses related to injuries from a vehicular accident.

The basic coverage requirements as per New York law include:

  • A minimum of $50,000 for PIP.
  • Coverage for 80% of lost earnings from work, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for up to three years following the accident.
  • Up to $25 per day for a maximum of one year from the date of the accident to cover other reasonable and necessary expenses.

Comprehensive Coverage Under No-Fault Law

No-fault insurance in New York extends to:

  • Drivers: Regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Passengers: Ensuring they're not left out of coverage.
  • Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Offering protection even to those not in a vehicle.

However, there are clear exclusions. Coverage does not apply if the damages are due to:

  • Intentional Damage: Acts done on purpose to cause harm.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Incidents where the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Benefits and Limitations of New York's No-Fault Insurance

Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses

Under New York's no-fault insurance, a range of medical and rehabilitation costs are covered:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor's visits
  • X-rays and imaging tests
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescribed medicines
  • Necessary medical equipment

To claim these benefits, you must file a claim with your insurance provider, typically within 30 days of the accident. The coverage is up to $50,000 unless you have additional protection. 

Lost Wages and Economic Loss

If an accident leaves you unable to work, no-fault insurance can compensate for lost wages:

  • It covers 80% of your lost earnings.
  • Payments are capped at $2,000 per month.
  • Benefits can last for up to three years after the accident.

Additional PIP and Supplementary Coverage Options

The basic no-fault policy in New York caps benefits at $50,000, covering medical expenses, lost earnings, and other necessary costs. If costs exceed this amount, you have options such as Additional Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which raises your coverage limit, and Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) Coverage, safeguarding you against underinsured at-fault drivers. 

Coordination of Benefits Post No-Fault

Once no-fault benefits are maxed out, your private health insurance may take over. Here's how it works:

  • Coordination of Benefits: Your health plan may cover remaining medical costs after no-fault benefits are used up.
  • Subrogation: If your insurer pays for costs related to the accident, they may seek reimbursement from the at-fault party's insurer.

No-Fault Insurance Claim Process in New York

After an accident, your first move should be to inform your insurance company. This is crucial:

  • Notify your insurer immediately: Quick notification helps avoid delays in coverage.
  • File within 30 days: You typically have 30 days from the date of the accident to file a no-fault claim to be eligible for benefits.

Missing these deadlines can result in a denial of your claim. To start your claim, you'll need to complete the No-Fault Claim Form (NF-2).

Documentation and Verification

When filing a no-fault claim in New York, compiling the right documents is important. Here's what you'll need:

  • Police Report: Confirming the accident details.
  • Medical Records: Documenting your injuries and treatment.
  • Proof of Lost Wages: Verifying income loss due to the accident.

These documents are the backbone of your claim, providing evidence of your accident and resulting expenses. 

When No-Fault Doesn't Apply

1. Motorcycle Accidents and Pedestrian Incidents

Motorcycle accidents are typically not covered by no-fault benefits in New York. This is because motorcycles are considered inherently riskier, and policies are structured differently. Pedestrians and cyclists, however, do receive protection under no-fault laws if they are struck by a motor vehicle. 

2. Crossing the Threshold for Litigation

New York Insurance Law Section 5102(d) defines a serious injury as one that meets certain conditions, such as:

  • Significant disfigurement
  • Bone fractures
  • Permanent limitation of use of body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of body function or system
  • Full disability for 90 days

Injuries that meet these criteria may allow you to pursue additional legal action outside of the no-fault system. 

No-Fault Insurance Fraud

  • Staged Accidents: Deliberately causing a collision to claim insurance money.
  • Exaggerated Claims: Reporting higher expenses than actually incurred.
  • False Medical Reports: Billing for treatments that were never provided.

Comparative Analysis: NY vs. Other States

  • PIP Coverage: New York offers $50,000 in PIP coverage, much more than states like Florida's $10,000. New Yorkers have better initial coverage after an accident.
  • Serious Injury Threshold: In New York, “serious injury” is strictly defined, affecting when you can sue for more damages. Other states might be less strict, leading to more lawsuits.
  • Property Damage: Unlike some states, New York's no-fault law does not cover property damage. This means that vehicle damages are handled separately, often through the at-fault driver's liability insurance.
  • Motorcycle Exclusions: New York's no-fault insurance doesn't cover motorcyclists, a policy not shared by all states. Motorcyclists must have separate insurance.
  • Out-of-State Coverage: New York's no-fault insurance includes "extraterritoriality," meaning residents still receive benefits if they have accidents in other states. However, the exact coverage can vary based on the other state's laws.
  • Interstate Considerations: New Yorkers traveling or moving should know other states' no-fault laws. For example, Michigan offers unlimited medical PIP, unlike New York's limit. This matters for extra insurance when going out of state.

If you or your loved ones have been injured in an accident, Porter Law Group is here to assist you. We specialize in personal injury cases, especially complex cases involving serious or catastrophic injuries or death.

For dedicated legal support and to protect your rights, contact us at 833-PORTER9 or send us an email at We offer a free consultation and are committed to achieving top recoveries for you and your family.  

Written By
Eric C. Nordby
Personal Injury Attorney
Eric, with nearly three decades of experience in personal injury litigation, holds a law degree with honors from the University at Buffalo School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University. His extensive career encompasses diverse state and federal cases, resulting in substantial client recoveries, and he actively engages in legal associations while frequently lecturing on legal topics.
Legally Reviewed on December 1, 2023
Michael S. Porter
Personal Injury Attorney
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike built a distinguished legal career after graduating from Harvard University and earning his juris doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He served as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, gaining expertise in trial work, and is now a respected trial attorney known for securing multiple million-dollar results for his clients while actively participating in legal organizations across Upstate NY.
This Article Was Professionally Reviewed
This page was Legally Reviewed by Michael S. Porter on December 1, 2023. Our experts verify everything you read to make sure it's up to date. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have any questions about our content please contact us.
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