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CAR ACCIDENTS AND NO-FAULT INSURANCE

By Rachel A. Abbott, Esq. and Robert R. Jones, Esq.

One quiet Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from a distraught young gentleman. He was a husband and a father of small children. His wife had been in a terrible car accident. She was only a few miles from home. Another car crossed the yellow line hitting her head-on. She was in serious condition. He had never been in this situation before. He was overwhelmed. He was worried about the medical bills.

The first important thing he needed to know was that under his own automobile insurance policy there was something called No-Fault Insurance. If your car or truck is registered in New York and you purchased a car insurance policy in New York, then you should have No-Fault Insurance as part of your coverage. No-Fault Insurance pays medical expenses related to the car accident, a portion of income lost and certain other expenses (such as travel to doctor's appointments). The insurance will cover these costs up to a total of $50,000-maybe more.

To get the No-Fault coverage to kick in, you must fill out a form that you can get by calling your insurance company. You must send the completed form to your insurance company. Remember, even if the accident was someone else's fault, this is your insurance and not the other driver's insurance. This is why it is called No-Fault Insurance. The insurance companies will sort out who was at fault on their end. You must notify your insurance company of any car accident right away. The completed form must be sent to your insurance company as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from the date of the car accident. If you delay, the insurance company can deny coverage.

Even if you think your injuries are minor and you will get better, you should fill out the form and send it to your insurance company before the 30 days expires. Sometimes injuries that seem insignificant at first end up getting worse over time. Don't take any chances. It is important that the forms are completed properly to protect your rights, so we always assist our clients with the forms.

In this gentleman's situation, we helped him fill out the paperwork to get the No-Fault Insurance coverage in place. We were able to ensure that all of the medical expenses were covered and the wife's lost wages are being paid while she is recovering from her injuries. This was a big relief to the gentleman as he could concentrate on taking care of his family.

We are now working for this family to get the wife additional compensation for her pain and suffering, from the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident.

If you are in a car accident, contact Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP immediately. We will answer questions about No-Fault insurance, and may be able to help you complete the form and get it submitted to your insurance company to protect your rights.

Rachel A. Abbott, Esq. and Robert R. Jones, Esq.

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