Madison County, New York Car Crash Injuring Several Passengers Demonstates New York Car Insurance Principles

The Syracuse Post Standard reports that eight people were injured in a two-car crash last Friday night in Eaton, Madison County, New York. That’s a lot of injured people for one accident! It’s unusual, too, because nowadays most vehicles on the road have NO passengers. Look around next time you are driving and you will see what I mean!

One of the two cars was headed northbound on Route 46, failed to stop at a stop sign at Route 20, and was struck by the other car heading east on Route 20. The car that failed to stop at the stop sign was carrying three passengers, all whom were injured, though apparently not seriously. The driver traveling on Route 20, who had the right of way, suffered neck injuries, but one of his three passengers suffered a serious leg injury, so serious that she was taken by helicopter to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.

In this blog post I want to discuss how insurance will cover all these injuries, minor and serious alike.

Under New York State car accident law, everyone’s medical expenses and lost wages up to $50,000 will be paid out of the “no-fault” insurance for the car they were traveling in. There might be additional insurance in the policy, but $50,000 is the standard, and the minimum. In addition, if any passenger owns his or her own car, or if a family member they live with does, they ought to check those auto insurance policies for additional no-fault insurance, known as “APIP” (additional personal injury protection).

So that’s it for the basic medical expenses and lost wages. But what if the passengers and innocent driver have MORE medical expenses and lost wages than no-fault insurance covers? What then? And what about compensation for their pain and suffering?

That’s where “liability”, also known as “bodily injury”, insurance kicks in. The insurance policies for the at-fault vehicle (the one who blew the stop sign) will have to pay for any “excess economic loss”, meaning medical expenses and lost wages beyond what no-fault paid. In addition, it will have to pay pain and suffering compensation for any “serious injuries“. I discussed what a “serious injury” is in an earlier blog.

But there might not be enough “bodily injury” insurance here to cover all the injuries, so everyone needs to seek out additional, hidden insurance, called “SUM” (supplemental underinsured motorist) coverage, which I wrote about on our website. Such additional insurance might be found in the insurance policy for the vehicle they were traveling in, or in the auto insurance policy for the vehicle each victim owns, or is owned by a family member who resides with them.

I wish luck and a speedy recover to all the victims of this unfortunate auto crash. I also hope they all have lawyers who know how to track down all available insurance to help them cover their costs and compensate them.

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