Central New York presents challenging driving conditions during the winter season. Syracuse, New York, is known for its significant snowfall, having recorded the most snowfall in 62% of the winters over 79 years. The snowfall in Syracuse is influenced by its geographical location near the Great Lakes, which contributes to heavy lake-effect snow.
If you’re hurt while driving in winter, our New York car accident lawyers at Catalano Law can discuss your benefits under no-fault insurance. We can also determine whether you can seek additional compensation from the driver responsible for the accident. Read on to learn more about New York’s no-fault car insurance system and how it might relate to your winter-weather accident.
What Does “No-Fault” Mean?
The no-fault system in New York ensures that any party hurt in an accident receives compensation for their injuries and related expenses. This applies no matter who is at fault. Under no-fault laws, you can still seek benefits under your insurance policy even if you were partially responsible for the crash.
In New York, no-fault insurance includes up to $50,000 for the driver and passengers in a crash for the following:
- All reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses
- 80% of lost earnings, up to $2,000 per month for up to 3 years
- $25 per day for a year for transportation expenses related to medical care and household help
- $2,000 death benefit to the deceased’s estate if they were eligible for no-fault benefits
Winter Weather Crashes and No-Fault Insurance: How This Can Affect Your Case
Despite careful driving, winter’s unpredictable conditions, such as icy roads and reduced visibility, can result in accidents without clear fault.
Under your no-fault policy, you can file a claim for coverage of medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of whether the accident was caused by another car or a single-vehicle incident like sliding on ice into a guardrail.
What if Another Driver’s Actions Cause Your Crash
In New York, if your collision results from another driver’s negligence or recklessness, you can pursue a claim for damages that exceed your no-fault coverage limits. However, this is contingent upon your situation fulfilling these specific criteria:
- Serious injury threshold: Your injuries must meet the state’s serious injury threshold under Statute 5102(d). This threshold typically includes harm that results in disfigurement, permanent disability, loss of a fetus, dismemberment, or death.
- Death resulting from the accident: In the tragic event of a fatality caused by another driver’s negligence, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver for compensation.
- Prove negligence: To initiate a third-party claim for a winter weather-related accident, establishing negligence is essential. However, the other party might argue that the icy or snowy conditions, which were beyond their control, were the primary cause of the accident.
An experienced auto accident lawyer can assist in collecting vital evidence, such as GPS data and testimony from expert reconstructionists. This helps establish that the other driver was speeding or acting recklessly, linking their behavior to your injuries, and reinforcing your claim for compensation.
Filing a No-Fault Insurance Claim in New York
To navigate New York’s no-fault car insurance system after a winter crash, follow these essential steps:
- Seek medical attention. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, regardless of injury severity. Delaying medical care could potentially affect your eligibility to make a no-fault claim.
- Notify your insurance company. Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible after the crash. Your insurer will supply the required claim forms and guidance. Ensure you file a notice of claim within 30 days of the collision to maintain your eligibility for benefits.
- Document the accident. Collect evidence, including photographs of the accident scene, weather conditions, and any visible injuries. This documentation can strengthen your claim.
- Keep detailed records. Maintain records of all medical expenses, prescriptions, and treatments related to your injuries. Keep track of any lost wages resulting from your inability to work. This documentation is required to file your no-fault benefits claim.
- Submit your claim. Fill out the no-fault claim forms provided by your insurance company accurately and submit them within 30 days of the accident. Failure to meet this deadline may result in a denial of your claim. You have 45 days to submit your medical bill and 90 for wage claims.
- Cooperate with insurers. Comply with any requests from your insurance company for further details or statements regarding the accident. Collaborate with your attorney throughout this process to ensure you fulfill all filing obligations and accurately provide the necessary documentation.
Get Legal Guidance for Your Winter Weather Crash
Knowing your rights after a winter weather crash can ensure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. At Catalano Law, we have over 50 years of combined experience handling auto accident claims in Central New York. We can help you file for no-fault insurance benefits and seek excess economic damages and pain and suffering if another driver causes your injuries.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We can review the details of your collision, discuss your legal options, and help you seek a fair settlement for your losses.