Liability Insurance

When an individual causes an accident, they will be held accountable for injuries or property damage resulting from that accident.

Costs of injuries and property damage can be expensive. The best way for one to protect themselves from huge financial losses after an accident is by having liability insurance.

Liability insurance is composed of:

  • Bodily injury coverage– pays for injuries suffered by others in an accident the person caused.
  • Property damage coverage– pays for damage the person caused to the other party’s vehicle.

Liability Coverage Limits

Liability coverage refers to the maximum amount your car insurance company will pay in a claim. For example, 15/25/10 representing $15,000 for bodily injury (per person), $25,000 for total bodily injury (if 2 or more people are hurt), and $10,000 for property damage.

Liability insurance only pays for bodily injuries or property damage suffered by others when you are at fault in an accident. Your own injuries or property damage are not covered through liability insurance.

 New York State Serious Injury Threshold

While your injuries are certainly “serious,” Section 5102(d) of the New York State Insurance Law  defines “serious injury” as any one of the following conditions:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • A permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • A permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • A “medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”

 

If your injuries do not satisfy this threshold, the negligent driver’s insurance company is not responsible for paying for damages, and you will not be able to pursue an action in court.

Common auto accident injuries such as herniated disks, muscle strains, and other “soft tissue” injuries may not be specifically listed in the statute, but may still satisfy the threshold, depending on the effect of the injury.