If you’re injured in a car accident in the State of New York, you are entitled to something called No Fault insurance. This entitles you to some very important benefits. Chief among them are payment of your medical bills as well as lost wages if you miss time from work. The insurance company for the car you’re in at the time of the accident is responsible for paying these benefits and you automatically qualify for them.
Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, no, not so simple.
There are all sorts of requirements that must be fulfilled to successfully obtain these very important benefits and the system is full of traps and pitfalls. You are far better off having an attorney assist with this process than you are on your own because if it’s not done right you could find yourself in big trouble.
Perhaps the most important thing to know is a very basic fact. You have 30 days from the date of the accident to submit your application to the No Fault insurance carrier. Failure to do so within that time period can result in a complete denial of your No Fault claim. How important is this? Consider the following scenario which I see all the time.
Imagine you’re in a car accident.
You don’t necessarily feel any pain at the scene, but you’re not really focusing on that. The car is in bad shape. It needs to be towed. You’re dealing with the police and swapping information with the other driver. You need to call somebody to come get you. You report the accident to your insurance company but you’re mostly worried about the car and when they ask you if you’ve been hurt you tell them no.
You wake up the next day and your back and neck are definitely stiff but you need to arrange for a rental car and figure out how you’re going to handle things at work and with your family because there’s always so much to do. You wake up the next day after that and now you’re definitely feeling a lot of pain, but you really need to get stuff done so you just do the best you can. Besides, you figure it will just take a few days and you’ll start to feel better.
A few days turns into a week and then two weeks and you are no better. In fact, you’re feeling worse. It’s tough to even get out of bed in the morning. You’re just barely making it through the day. So, you finally decide to call your insurance company and tell them you were hurt in the accident after all and they tell you they will send you a form. It usually takes at least a week for the form to be mailed out. In the meantime, you call your primary care physician and they tell you the earliest the doctor can see you is in two weeks.
You still believe that this is only a minor thing and you’ll be getting better soon, so when the letter from the insurance company comes you leave it on the table for a few days because you’re really busy and don’t have time to figure it out.
Then, finally four weeks after the accident you see your doctor for the first time. Your pain has gotten even worse so it’s not much of a surprise when the doctor tells you that you’ve sustained a serious injury to your spine, refers you out for an MRI, gives you the name of a specialist, and takes you out of work.
Hmmm. Now this seems serious.
You go back home and dig out the letter from the insurance company which is buried under the rest of your unopened mail. The first thing you see is that the application is due within 30 days after the accident. Failure to submit it in a timely manner will result in a denial of your benefits. That means no payment of medical bills. No payment of wages for your lost time from work. You scramble to find a calendar. If you’re within 30 days you’re still ok, but you’ve got to move on it immediately. If you’re past the 30 days, you could be in trouble.
I see this happen all the time. I have seen benefits denied. Cases ruined. Serious injuries gone untreated because there was no insurance to pay the doctors. It is absolutely devastating.
But it is also avoidable. Here’s what you do.
When you report the accident to your insurance company always ask them to send you a no fault form, even if you’re not sure you will need it. Sometimes it takes a day or two to feel pain after an accident. As soon as you do you should start the no fault application process. If you move on it right away, you will have plenty of time to submit the application and secure the benefits.
Unlike some firms, the Multerer Law Firm assists our clients with their No Fault claims. We will help you obtain and fill out the application immediately to ensure your eligibility for these benefits. We can help you with the process every step of the way and contact the insurance carriers directly on your behalf whenever any issues arise with your claim. And trust me, issues will arise.
We don’t even take a fee for this.
It’s just part of the over all service we provide when you trust us with your personal injury claim. So, remember. After an accident time is of the essence. You need to get that No Fault application in immediately. We can help.