Settlement in a no-fault state?

by Lisa
(New York)

In New York state, does an insurance company offer a settlement to include pain and suffering, or do they not have to do that? It's a no-fault state but my injuries are pretty bad.

I was NOT at fault in the accident, and the other driver (cop) was found negligent. I had $7000 in auto damages, plus $6500 in medical bills, and ongoing medical costs for a while. My soft tissue injuries included bruising, burns on my legs from coffee I had just bought, and neck, back and chest contusions. I've suffered lots of pain and aggravation, and I'm now scared to drive.

Will the insurance company offer me a settlement or just pay for damages and medical? This is all so confusing. I think that because of all I have been through they should give me some sort of pain and suffering, but I don't know. There is this "serious injury threshold" and I'm not sure how it works.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Settlement in a no-fault state?":

Lisa (New York):

From the facts you present, you do not qualify for pain and suffering compensation. While you indicate the collision and subsequent injuries reached the serious injury threshold set by New York State’s insurance code, the facts you present do not support that claim.

Under Section 5102(d) of New York State's Insurance Code, to qualify for a settlement which includes pain an suffering, you would have needed to sustain one or more of the following injuries, which have been determined to rise to the level of serious injury threshold:

- Death

- Dismemberment or significant disfigurement

- Fractures

- Loss of a fetus

- Permanent loss of a body organ, member, function or system

- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member

- Significant limitation of use of body function or system, medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature, which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts the injured person would normally pursue in daily customary activities.

You indicate your injuries are soft tissue. Soft tissue injuries normally do not rise to the level required. Regardless, you should have an attorney review your case.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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