We’ve handled several cases where an individual was struck by another driver who had no automobile insurance. If your injury is severe enough, your No-Fault coverage may not be enough to cover your medical bills or lost wages. In most car accident cases, if your injury breaches New York State’s “Serious Injury Threshold” (click here to learn more about the Serious Injury Threshold), you are entitled to bring a claim against the at-fault driver. If successful, your claim may help compensate for any medical bills or lost wages (as well as any pain and suffering you’ve endured because of your injury). The insurer of the at-fault driver would pay for these losses (proportionate to the driver’s percentage of liability in the accident). However, if the at-fault driver has no insurance, what can a personal injury attorney do for you?
Every insured must have a policy that covers bodily injury, property damage, personal injury protection (No-Fault coverage), and what is known as “SUM coverage” (Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage). SUM coverage is designed to offer protection to individuals who are involved in a hit-and-run or an accident with an individual who has no automobile insurance. Around 6.1% of drivers in New York State do not have automobile insurance, so SUM coverage is crucial should you ever find yourself in this scenario.
Your own No-Fault will cover medical bills and lost wages (up to 2,000 a month). Unfortunately, if you haven’t purchased APIP or OBEL (click here to learn about APIP and OBEL), which is essentially additional No-Fault, your coverage will be exhausted at $50,000. If your injury is severe and you still require compensation, your personal injury attorney will make an SUM claim against your own insurance policy. SUM coverage may compensate for pain and suffering, whereas No-Fault coverage will not. It will also supplement for medical bills and lost wages your No-Fault doesn’t cover. All New York State insurance policies require you to purchase a minimum $25,000 SUM policy. With this policy, if you are driving alone (or are the only individual injured in your car) and incur an injury in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may receive up to $25,000 for losses not covered by No-Fault (including pain and suffering). If there is more than one injured individual in your car, however, SUM may cover $50,000 (split between you and the passengers of your car) after each individual’s No-Fault is exhausted.