What is the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnity Company? Do I Qualify?
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New York State offers protection for those who are injured in auto accidents that were not their fault. This coverage is designed specifically for those who do not already have automobile insurance. The organization that provides this protection is called the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnity Company, or MVAIC. They have been operating as a non-profit organization since 1958, providing a safety net for those who are the victim of car accidents and don’t have insurance coverage.
Who is MVAIC intended for?
MVAIC is intended for those who are the victim of car accidents but don’t own a car themselves. In particular, it is very helpful for cyclists and pedestrians, but can also be helpful for those who are passengers in auto accidents who don’t qualify for coverage from either the driver of their car or the injuring vehicle. Many people who receive benefits from MVAIC are victims of hit and runs, or of drivers who are completely uninsured, underinsured, or driving a stolen car. This is a particularly important program in New York, where many people rely on public transit, bicycles, or other alternative forms of transportation to get around, and don’t have car insurance.
Do I qualify for MVAIC?
There are very specific requirements to qualify for MVAIC benefits. To qualify, you must be a resident of New York and have been in a car accident in New York state. You must not have any car insurance available to you – if you or any family members you live with have auto insurance that you could qualify for, you must first contact that insurance company and see if they will provide benefits for you. You will only qualify for MVAIC if they will not offer you any benefits at all. You must not be the owner of the uninsured vehicle involved in the accident, and you must not be married to the owner of the uninsured vehicle. You also must not have been a passenger in your spouse’s uninsured vehicle. If you are unsure of whether or not you qualify for MVAIC benefits, you can go online to their website and fill out a questionnaire, which will tell you whether or not you are eligible.
Keep in mind that New York state typically only offers benefits if you experience a ‘serious injury’. Legally, the state has a very specific definition of what a serious injury is. Unfortunately, this can still result in confusion and a lot of gray areas. ‘Serious injuries’ include death, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, or significant disfigurement. This definition also includes loss or limitation of a body part or system, either permanent or significant enough to affect your daily life. You may also fit this definition if you are unable to perform your usual daily functions for at least 90 days over a period of 6 months after the accident.
Additionally, you must report the accident to the police within 24 hours. You also must file a notice of intention, or NOI, with MVAIC, within a certain time period. If it was a hit and run or the accident was with an unidentified motor vehicle, you have 90 days to file the report. If it was with an identified motor vehicle, you have 180 days to file the NOI. If there’s a chance you qualify for MVAIC, it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. You do not want to run the risk of not getting benefits you would have otherwise qualified for, just because you did not get your documentation in on time.
What benefits does MVAIC offer?
If you qualify for MVAIC benefits, you will receive compensation to help you with the cost of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. They provide benefits of up to $50,000 or $25,000 per person injured in a crash. It may help to work with a personal injury lawyer when applying for MVAIC benefits to ensure that you get adequate compensation. They can help you navigate the complexities of the MVAIC program. Having this extra guidance can be extremely helpful in the challenging days directly following the car crash. Many lawyers will offer a free consultation before you commit to using their services, which can help you determine if you are a good candidate for MVAIC, as well as if you have a good case for further legal action.
If you have been the victim of an automobile accident that wasn’t your fault and has caused you serious harm, it’s worth applying for MVAIC benefits. Car accidents can be financially, emotionally, and physically debilitating, and sometimes you need a little extra help to get your life back on track. The MVAIC program in New York state can serve as this source of financial assistance in times when you need it most.