Here are some of the basic facts every New York resident needs to know if they are involved in an auto accident in New York:
1. Every automobile owned or operated in New York is required to have insurance providing at least $50,000 in PIP (No-Fault) benefits per person, per accident.
2. Most of the time, the insurance company for the automobile in which you are the driver or a passenger has to provide your PIP benefits. One exception is buses; bus passengers must apply to their own personal auto policy for PIP benefits after a bus accident; if they or a member of their household do not have their own auto policy, then the bus must provide the PIP.
3. To qualify for PIP benefits you must report both the accident and your injury to the insurance company within 30 days.
4. Motorcycle drivers and passengers do not qualify for PIP unless the motorcycle has a special optional PIP endorsement on its insurance policy.
5. Pedestrians and bicyclists hit by a car qualify for PIP from the car that hit them.
6. PIP pays for your medical expenses for any treatment or testing made necessary by an accident, including psychological treatment, and lost wages up to a maximum of $2,000 per month.
7. If you send your medical bills to your health insurance company instead of your PIP carrier, you may forfeit your right to collect PIP benefits. It is almost always a better idea to use your PIP benefits first.
8. If you do not comply with your PIP insurer's demands to take your testimony under oath, or to show up for a medical exam demanded by your PIP carrier, you may forfeit all your PIP benefits.
9. Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered by PIP, but aggravation of pre-existing conditions due to an auto accident IS covered.
10. Even illegal aliens are entitled to PIP benefits.
**11. Your ability to sue for your "pain and suffering" depends on whether or not your injuries meet "the no fault threshold," a complex formula which requires either a fracture, a permanent and significant loss of use of a body part or function, or substantial disability for at least 90 of the 180 days following an accident.