If you get into a car accident with no insurance in New York, you might have difficulty recovering the compensation you need to pay for injuries and other losses.
What If the Other Party Was At-fault For the Accident?
Even if the accident was not your fault, you might still have difficulty recovering compensation. This is because New York is a no-fault state. Per New York laws, you must first turn to your own insurance company to pay for your injuries.
If you do not have insurance, this is, of course, impossible.
However, you might be able to file a claim against the other party if you can meet certain criteria.
Under New York’s no-fault laws, you must establish you suffered a serious injury to be able to step outside the no-fault system. Per New York Insurance Law § 5012(d), a serious injury is one that leads to:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Limitation of a body function or system”
- Injury or impairment that keeps you from performing daily activities for at least 90 of the first 180 days following your accident
In some cases, proving a serious injury is straightforward. For example, if you can prove that you broke your arm in the accident, you have suffered a serious injury.
In other cases, it can be quite difficult. This is especially true in cases where the accident resulted in the permanent loss of use of an organ, system, or member. However, doing so is imperative to your case. If you cannot prove you suffered a serious injury, you may end up paying your accident costs out of pocket.
We can help you establish your serious injury by examining your medical records and discussing your case with your doctor. We might also need to work with a medical expert to prove the severity of the injuries you sustained.
Will I Have to Pay for the Other Driver’s Injuries?
It depends on whether you were partially at-fault for the collision. As we mentioned above, New York is a no-fault state, which means the other party will turn to her insurance first to cover her injuries.
However, if her injury costs exceed her policy limit or she suffered serious injuries and you were partially at-fault for the accident, you could be looking at thousands out of pocket for the other driver’s injuries. Per New York’ pure comparative fault law, if you are at least one percent responsible for the accident, the other driver can recover damages from you.
Will I Face Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?
Yes. New York State Traffic Law 319 dictates that you could face traffic court fines up to $1,500 dollars if caught driving without car insurance. In addition, the state of New York will suspend your driver’s license for a year following a car accident. Reinstating your license requires paying a civil penalty of $750.
The state of New York will also revoke your vehicle registration for a year if you do not have car insurance. Reinstating your registration requires paying an additional civil penalty. The amount it will cost you to reinstate it depends on how long it has been since your car insurance lapsed.
- Within 1-30 days: Your civil penalty is $8 per day
- With 31-60 days: Your civil penalty is $10 per day
- Within 61-90 days: Your civil penalty is $12 per day
That said, it is not as simple as taking the number of days since your insurance lapse and multiplying it by the civil penalty. Let’s say your insurance lapsed 75 days ago. You must pay for each tier of payment up to the most recent day (e.g., $8 for 30 days, plus $10 for the next 31 days, plus $12 for the last 15 days).
If you are seriously injured and unable to work, you might find yourself owing thousands in fines with no way to pay them.
Can I Get Help Recovering Injury Compensation?
Driving without insurance does not automatically mean you are unable to recover compensation for your injuries. However, it will likely be an uphill battle. We can help. We have over 20 years representing clients who have suffered injuries in car accidents, some of whom were driving without insurance. We can investigate the accident, determine who was at-fault, and discuss your options to recover compensation.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates, PLLC to discuss your case today for free: 631-600-0000. We handle all cases on a contingency basis which means you pay no costs unless we win your case.