If you are injured in an automobile accident, you are entitled to receive NO-FAULT benefits for accident related losses, regardless of fault of any party involved. No-Fault benefits include payment of lost earnings, medical expenses, household care, travel expenses, prescription medications and death benefits. All of these benefits are provided by the insurance company insuring the vehicle you were in, or in the case of a pedestrian, the vehicle which struck you.

However, in an effort to deprive these benefits to accident victims, regulations sponsored by the automobile insurance companies took effect on February 1, 2000 which drastically restricted the time after an accident in which a victim can apply for benefits. Under these rules, an accident victim only has 30 days after the accident giving rise to the claim to notify the insurance carrier that the accident occurred, and a medical provider has only 45 days after medical services are rendered to submit bills to the no-fault carrier for payment. If these deadlines are not met, the victim, or provider can not claim these benefits.

The New York State Trial Lawyers Association, of which Bill Wingate is a Director, sued to invalidate these regulations. In a great victory for all New Yorkers, the State Supreme Court tossed out the new no-fault regulations. While it is not over yet, since the decision will certainly be appealed, this is a great win!

> Clifford H. Shapiro

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