I have two questions: a. Is my father liable for any medical payments or property damages? b. w/ no fault guidelines are unlicensed drivers protected?

My boyfriend drove my car (which is under my father’s name) and got into a car accident. He is an unlicensed driver living in the state of New York. However, witnesses at the scene have expressed the other licensed driver as the responsible party in creating the accident.

Asked on June 26, 2009 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No-fault coverage and liability are not the same thing.  Having a license does not mean that you are automatically assumed to have not been at fault for the accident so not having a license does not necessarily mean that you are at fault in an accident.  

The state of New York follows a No Fault system. This means that if you are involved in an accident, it doesn’t matter who is at fault. Your insurance covers you, and the other party’s insurance covers them.

In the state of New York, auto insurance companies can write policies that list certain possible circumstances that would free the insurance company from the responsibility of paying a claim. It is important to examine your auto insurance policy carefully and see if this situation is listed.

The amount of coverage you have for property damage and the actual amount of the property damage is also something that you need to explore on top of the list of exclusions.  Go an see someone on a consultation basis with the policy, the police report and witness report.  And report it to you insurance company regardless.  That is very important.

 

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

NY is a no-fault state, so unless there are serious injuries involved, your own insurance takes care of your own damages regardless of who was at fault.  The fact that your boyfriend had no license has no bearing on how the insurance companies pay for the damages.  Your boyfriend, however, could be sited for driving without a license and have to pay a large fine, but that's a separate issue.


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