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How do I sue for pain and suffering in a No Fault accident that happened in NY?

Vista, CA |

My fiancée and I were in NY when we got in a rear end three car accident. We were the first car to get hit and no fault was put on us. My Fiancee was 7 months pregnant and spent 14 hrs in the hospital for contraction and got seen for her neck and back. Because she was pregnant they couldn't do any xrays or mri. We have already filed a claim with the insurance company. We are so lost because NY is a no fault state and we have no idea what that entails. My fiancée and I are both now listed as injured in this accident. We are both military veterans and are unsure if we can claim injuries sustained in the line of duty as aggravated by the accident. Need help almost going on a yr since the accident happened. Can see be excused for not have certain things done because of pregnancy at the time?

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Attorney answers 10


Sounds like you need to talk to a New York personal injury lawyer. The "Find a Lawyer" tool on this site may be helpful.


I believe you have three years to file a claim in NY, but don't bet on that - contact a lawyer in the area in which you were hurt immediately. You will probably have to sue where the defendants live.


Get to a good personal injury lawyer, who will give you a free consultation and no fee unless she/he recovers money for you. A good attorney will be able to talk to colleagues in NY or know how the law there will effect your claim. Don't worry about the delay in your wife's treatment; everyone understands that some tests have to await delivery. Get advised right away since an attorney will not want to deal with a last minute suit right before the statute of limitation runs. Good luck!

Every situation is different, and good legal advice cannot be given based on a short question without an exploration of all the facts that may bear on your situation. This is not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been established.


I'm sorry you were in this accident, and it hope that the baby and your wife are well. I'm a New York PI Lawyer. You have three years to file suit. As you found out, there is a no fault component to claims in New York, and it is apparent that you complied with the thirty day filing requirement for no fault benefits. That will NOT cover past and future pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future lost earnings beyond a nominal amount. Your no fault benefits will cover up to $50,000 of what is termed "basic economic loss," which largely consists of medical expenses.

Because we are a no fault state, before one may recover beyond no fault benefits, one must have suffered "serious injury" as defined by Insurance Law section 5102(d) and amplified, clarified and categorized by case law. There is a nuance to making the no fault threshold where one does not "match" one of the categories, such as having a fracture.

To answer your other question, yes, you can certainly claim activation of an underlying condition, or exacerbation of a preexisting condition. Of course, there has to be competent medical proof of such an exacerbation. Most doctors who are willing to testify are intimately familiar with the requirements of the threshold, and your attorney must be as well.

You may contact a NY PI/Auto accident lawyer here, through Avvo. Again, I hope your wife and baby are doing well.

We are serious lawyers for the seriously injured. I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not legal advice. These opinions are based on New York practice. We have no attorney-client relationship. Conducting a conversation with me through the avvo comments section does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Immediately consult with an experienced NY personal injury attorney who can explain everything in detail and represent your interests. Do not have any further communication with the insurance company.


Call an NY lawyer based in the city where the accident took place.


Not sure if you meet "serious injury" threshold, so have a personal injury lawyer investigate


Mr. Weitz laid out the answer to this question well. Follow his advice and contact a New York auto accident lawyer. Good Luck!


I would strongly recommend hiring an experienced car accident attorney in the location where the accident took place to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Best of luck.


Consult a local N.Y. personal injury attorney - most will offer a free consultation. You can locate a local attorney right here on avvo by using the tab "Find A Lawyer" Good luck

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.

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