Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 24, 2020

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When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you would expect that the other driver be adequately insured and that the insurance companies involved would pay out your claim in a timely manner. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s been in that situation will tell you, these things rarely occur. So, how do overcome insurance hurdles?

Dealing with a lack of insurance

The issue of a cancelled policy and whether insurance is in effect is something to consider, according to Ira Slavit, a New York attorney in practice for over 20 years whose firm concentrates its practice in personal injury matters and medical malpractice litigation. In a recent interview, he told us:

There are different coverages afforded that might come into play if the other vehicle doesn’t have insurance or if it’s a pedestrian who doesn’t own a vehicle and the negligent vehicle doesn’t have insurance. There’s something called the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation in New York that will step in and provide the minimum level of insurance that’s required in New York; which is $25,000 per person injured; $50,000 per accident, subject to that individual limitation; and $100,000 for wrongful death.

Dealing with insurers

We asked Slavit to give us his experience dealing with insurance companies in New York. He said:

It really depends on the company and the adjuster. The first few months are often spent monitoring what kind of treatment is being rendered. It the beginning, you’re actually dealing more with the no-fault insurance company because that’s the company whose paying the bills. Sometimes it’s the same company. If it’s a pedestrian hit by a vehicle, that vehicle’s insurance company provides no-fault and also the liability coverage for pain and suffering.

However, if you’re driving your own car and somebody runs through a red light and hits you, you’re insurance company is paying the no-fault and it’s the other insurance company that could be held to indemnify you for pain and suffering.

So, very often an individual is dealing with his own insurance company at the beginning. That can become difficult because sometimes the party’s own insurance company won’t pay for necessary medical testing or treatment.

An adversarial relationship

In a way, the insured and their own insurance company become adversaries in the process because the no-fault insurance company often attempts to pay as little as possible and to deny further treatment, according to Slavit. He explained, “So, right off the bat, the denials that you deal with can affect whether or not the individual gets the medical treatment and testing that is required. Once the medical history and treatment are developed, you deal more with what the liability insurance company’s evaluation is and whether or not the claim can be settled or if a lawsuit must be filed.”

If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident in New York, contact an experienced New York auto accident lawyer to discuss your situation confidentially.