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If New York is a No-Fault State, Who is Liable in a Car Accident?

July 5, 2020

Although New York is a no-fault state, liability is still important in many cases. Motorists in New York must carry both no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) benefits and bodily injury liability coverage. It is this latter coverage that kicks in if another motorist is at fault for a crash.

Put simply, a motorist is liable for an accident when they are at fault. Our attorneys have extensive experience collecting evidence to prove fault and can swing into action to help you. Please contact one of our New York City car accident lawyers for more information.

Proving Fault

A motorist is at fault when their driving error is the cause of the car accident. For example, motorists can be at fault when they:

  • Speed
  • Drive dangerously
  • Pass illegally
  • Tailgate
  • Weave in and out of lanes
  • Drive while distracted
  • Use a cell phone while driving
  • Drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol

These are only some of the most common examples of errors that drivers make that can make them liable for an accident. There are certainly others.

Our lawyers understand how to collect evidence that strengthens our clients’ cases. For example, if you thought you saw the other driver on a cell phone when they hit you, then we might subpoena the driver’s phone records and check if they were on the phone. We can also rely on eyewitness testimony to establish liability.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

All people who register a vehicle in New York should have at least $50,000 in PIP benefits. This coverage is usually the first policy an injured driver uses to pay medical care and other expenses. Because these are no-fault benefits, a motorist can always make a claim on them, and the insurer should not worry about liability for the crash.

However, all drivers should also have bodily injury liability coverage. If you were injured and someone else is to blame, you might make a claim on their insurance policy. New York requires that all people who register a vehicle carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person injured, up to $50,000 for a single accident. This policy should also cover $50,000 in death, up to $100,000 for two or more deaths in an accident.

Often, our clients need to make a claim when they have expenses above and beyond what their PIP policy covers. Even moderate injuries can cost tens of thousands of dollars. One day in a hospital costs around $3,000 in New York—and that is only an average, not including the costs of administered drugs or procedures performed. If a client needs surgery or rehabilitation, then the expenses only mount.

A bodily injury liability insurer will only pay benefits if you can prove that their insured was liable for the crash. This is where our services are most helpful.

Speak with a New York City Car Accident Attorney Today

At Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, we have handled many of the most complex car accident cases. We understand how the state’s insurance rules apply and can maximize the amount of money a client takes home following a collision. Schedule your free initial consultation with us.

You can reach us at 212-285-3300 or by filling out our contact form.


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