All New York drivers need to have car insurance — it’s the law. However, you might be wondering, “Does my car insurance cover other drivers?”
New York’s No-Fault Laws
New York is a no-fault car insurance state. In a nutshell, this means that both drivers’ insurance policies should handle any monetary or economic damages in the event of an accident. The object of the no-fault laws is to prevent frivolous lawsuits from clogging up the court system.
For example, imagine that you and another driver are involved in a fender-bender accident. Rather than you or the other driver suing each other, both of your insurance companies foot the bill(s) for damages. Consequently, the entire situation can usually be resolved expediently and without legal fuss.
Moreover, no-fault laws typically apply even in cases involving more severe accidents, including those resulting in serious injuries.. That said, depending on the nature of your injuries and the actions of the other driver, a lawsuit against an at-fault party may still be possible.
Required New York Car Insurance
Because New York is a no-fault state, every legal driver is required to have car insurance. There are several car insurance coverage types that you must have in your policy in order to maintain your license.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily injury liability coverage covers any expenses related to the injury or death of a pedestrian or another driver if the crash is your fault. All drivers are required to have bodily insurance liability coverage up to $25,000 per person and up to $50,000 per accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
New York drivers are also required to have property damage liability coverage, which pays for any expenses related to the damage of another person’s property, including cars, buildings, homes, etc., if the crash is your fault.
Your own insurance policy must have a $10,000 coverage limit at minimum for its property damage liability coverage to qualify.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage provides financial coverage if you and any passengers in your vehicle are hurt in an auto accident. PIP coverage pays for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and related costs. To meet New York State minimums, you must have PIP coverage of $50,000 or higher.
Your PIP policy can cover a family member or anyone else in the car with you. This is also true if you let someone else drive your car. However, your auto insurance policy should determine whether it kicks in for a rental car or if you have to pay a deductible and any other fees.
Uninsured Motorist Or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your medical expenses if you’re in a crash and another driver is at fault, but the other driver doesn’t have any car insurance. You need at least a $25,000 limit per person and a $50,000 limit per accident for your coverage to meet New York State minimums.
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar, though it covers you if the other driver is at fault and they don’t have enough liability insurance to pay for your medical bills. It’s a type of supplementary coverage meant to be used in conjunction with an existing insurance policy.
In any case, both of these insurance coverage types protect you from financial difficulties if you’re the victim of an auto crash and suffer serious physical injuries.
Optional Insurance Types
In addition to the above auto insurance requirements, New York also allows drivers to take out additional insurance policies. These are completely optional and are not strictly required, though they are often valuable because they can cover high bills you might have to pay for otherwise. These optional insurance types include:
- Collision coverage, which covers any expenses for the repair or replacement of your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. There’s no legal minimum, so your collision coverage can be as high as you like.
- Comprehensive coverage, which covers any expenses to repair or replace a vehicle that is stolen or damaged by accidents in addition to storms, vandalism, and other potential hazards. Again, there’s no legal minimum for this insurance coverage type. Comprehensive insurance is excellent if you want full coverage for your car or a friend’s car, especially if you have a strong relationship with your insurance provider.
For more on the types of car insurance that are available to you, speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers auto accident pro now by calling 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.
Does Your Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?
In general, your insurance policy will cover the other driver’s injuries if you are found to be at fault for a crash.
You should remember, however, that in the event that you are assigned blame for an accident, both your bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages will typically cover accident-related expenses.
Note: If you aren’t found at fault, the other driver will likely be on the hook to pay for their own injuries and/or property damages.
Similarly, under permissive use, your policy covers other people driving your own car when you’ve allowed them to borrow your car.
So, what happens if you aren’t held responsible for a crash, and the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance coverage or a high enough policy limit? That’s where the underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage types typically kick in. As such, your comprehensive car insurance policy should cover the actions and damages of other drivers in most scenarios.
What Happens If Your Costs Or Injuries Are Higher Than Your Insurance Coverage?
Even though New York State has insurance laws that are designed to encompass almost every kind of car accident, it’s still possible that your damages exceed your insurance coverage(s) as well as the coverage(s) of another driver.
Note: In this kind of situation, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver to recover additional compensation for medical bills related to post-concussion syndrome, broken bones, and more.
Can You Sue An At-Fault Driver In New York?
Although New York is a no-fault state, it does allow injured auto crash drivers and passengers to sue at-fault parties under specific circumstances, including:
- When their injuries are particularly severe, debilitating, or paralyzing. For example, if you are injured in an auto accident and become paralyzed from the waist down, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for medical damages to cover your medical bills and other expenses even if both you and the other driver are covered by insurance.
- When the other driver was behaving in a recklessly negligent or malicious manner. For example, if you get into an accident because another driver was road raging, they could be vulnerable to a lawsuit as a type of punitive measure. A court may allow you to file a lawsuit against them as a punishment.
Even with these possibilities, it can be difficult to know whether your case qualifies. Speaking with knowledgeable auto accident attorneys can help you discover whether a lawsuit is a good idea, whether you qualify for a lawsuit, and also the kind of damages you can expect to recover. To this end, feel free to contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online to learn more now.
Injury And Property Payments With Insurance
In most New York auto accident cases, injury-related bills and damaged property payments that need to be paid must first be covered by your insurance policy.
For instance, say that you have $100,000 in medical bills because of injuries related to an auto accident. Your personal injury protection coverage should apply first. Once that’s depleted, any ancillary damages or compensation you recover from a successful lawsuit could be used for your medical bills.
Note: This also holds true for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you are injured by an uninsured driver, for example, your uninsured motorist coverage should apply to pay for your medical bills before anything else. This is true even if the underinsured motorist is potentially on the hook for damages through a lawsuit.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
As you can see, any comprehensive New York car insurance policy should cover other drivers when needed. However, just because a car insurance policy technically covers damage(s) caused by other drivers, that doesn’t mean that coverage will be enough to pay for all medical and accident-related expenses.
As such, if you believe you have grounds for a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, you should contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today. Our experienced car accident attorneys can provide you with sound legal counsel, collect evidence on your behalf, and will work to ensure that you recover all the damages you are entitled to under the law.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!