Can You Get Insurance After an Accident?

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Posted: April 30, 2024

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience, especially if you or a loved one has suffered injuries. Someone seriously injured in a New York auto accident due to the wrongdoing of another may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

When seeking compensation after a New York State auto accident, accident victims generally turn to their own auto insurance provider for coverage for their medical bills and lost wages. This is one reason why purchasing car insurance is so important.

Understanding New York’s No-Fault Insurance System

New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that regardless of who is at fault in a car accident, each driver’s own car insurance company will cover their medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit. This system aims to streamline the claims process and reduce the number of lawsuits filed after minor accidents.

New York law requires all drivers to purchase auto insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. So, in the event of an accident, the insurance company steps into the shoes of the person responsible for the crash and, in exchange for already paid insurance premium payments, agrees to pay for damages caused. Personal Injury Protection coverage protects the insured from claims made by other people.

This is known as a “third-party” claim because the person making the claim is not insured under the insurance contract (which is known as “first-party” coverage), but instead makes a claim against the person insured under the contract.

In New York, the minimum PIP, or no-fault coverage is $25,000 per person per accident or $50,000 for two or more people per accident. This covers medical expenses and lost wages. However, it’s essential to understand that no-fault coverage has its limitations. For starters, it does not allow for pain and suffering damages.

If your injuries are severe and your expenses exceed this limit, you may need to explore other options for compensation, such as filing a personal injury lawsuit.

What Happens When Someone Doesn’t Purchase Car Insurance?

In New York State, car insurance is not just a recommended precaution—it’s a legal requirement. Driving without insurance can lead to serious consequences, both financially and legally.

Unfortunately, thousands of drivers choose to break the law and drive cars with no insurance at all. Financial irresponsibility in this regard sometimes translates to irresponsible driving behavior that puts others at risk.

If someone doesn’t have an auto insurance policy and they are involved in a traffic accident, the New York State DMV will revoke the person’s driver’s license and vehicle registration for at least one year. The DMV will also revoke the license and registration for at least one year of someone who lets another person drive their uninsured vehicle, and that person is involved in a car accident and is convicted of operating without insurance.

Traffic court fines for driving without insurance or allowing someone to drive your vehicle without insurance can be as high as $1,500. If someone’s license is revoked due to lack of insurance coverage, they will have to pay the DMV an additional $750 to get their license back.

What to Do If You Are Hit by an Uninsured Driver

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver in New York, you may face challenges when seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. However, there are still options available to you:

  • File a claim with your own insurance company: If you have uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), you can file a claim with your own insurance company to cover your damages.
  • Sue the uninsured driver directly: You can file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Consult with a personal injury lawyer: An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights, explore your options, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Can you Get Insurance After An Accident?

A car insurance contract cannot be purchased after the fact, as needed. In other words, if someone without insurance causes harm on New York roads, that person cannot go ahead and purchase new insurance to cover an existing insurance claim arising from the incident.

Insurance premium payments are exchanged for coverage over a specified period. One either has bodily injury liability coverage in effect at the time of the crash or not. If someone purchases bodily injury liability insurance after a car accident, it will generally provide coverage for future, but not past, accidents. In legal terms, coverage is not “retroactive.”

If the person responsible for the crash does not have insurance, that is where supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist (“SUM”) coverage can make the difference. SUM coverage is a safety net. It is a form of first-party coverage that provides the injured person with an important source of compensation in the case of an uninsured (meaning, the driver has no insurance) or underinsured (meaning, the driver has insufficient insurance) driver.

Example Of Crash Involving Uninsured

For example, if you are struck by an uninsured motorist but you carry SUM coverage of $100,000 per person, you would be able file a claim of up to $100,000 with your insurance company. Assuming you demonstrate that your damages meet or exceed that amount, you can receive up to that amount from your own insurance company.

This might seem counterintuitive or even unfair: Asking your insurance company to pay for something someone else caused. But it is not counterintuitive. In exchange for your premium payments, the insurance company agrees to insure against the risk that an uninsured or underinsured river will harm you. That bargained-for exchange is fair.

Keep in mind, SUM claims can get complicated with various policy conditions. If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver on New York roads, your best bet is to consult an experienced car accident lawyer.

The Importance of Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident involving an uninsured driver can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you have suffered injuries. Consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer is essential to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation.

Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. They will also handle all communication with insurance companies and negotiate for a fair settlement that covers your damages.

If necessary, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the uninsured driver and represent you in court. They will fight tirelessly to hold the responsible party accountable and secure the compensation you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Contact a Lawyer You Can Trust

If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver on New York roads, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. Our attorneys have extensive experience identifying all available first- and third-party insurance coverage, putting insurance companies on notice, and helping you receive maximum compensation for pain and suffering—no matter the source.

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