By definition, accidents aren’t supposed to happen. I think we do all we can to learn from them – and use what we learn to reduce the risk. That’s how we develop safer cars, roads, and driving rules. But accidents aren’t absolutely avoidable – which means you have to be prepared, and understand your options if you are ever in a car crash.

A local man and woman were very seriously injured last week in a car accident that’s cause is still unknown. WETM reported the incident in the story “Southport Woman in Critical Condition After Crash” (pasted below). The woman veered out of her lane and hit a bakery truck in the oncoming traffic on Route 352. The truck driver was seriously injured too.

A crash like this raises a lot of questions: “What happened?” and “Why?” And then “What happens next?”

After an auto accident, that question is strongly connected to Auto Insurance. How does it work to cover damages and injuries? It’s a complicated topic, which I’ve helped many clients understand. There are even a different set of rules when motorcycles are involved, a topic I write about frequently on my motorcycle blog, the NY Biker Law Blog.

In the Route 352 accident, the driver of the car, who appears to be at fault, will have coverage for her injuries through the No-Fault portion of her policy. The bakery truck driver was likely working at the time of the accident, meaning that rather than No-Fault, his Worker’s Compensation carrier would be responsible for paying his medical bills and lost wages.

What is “No-Fault” Insurance?

We have an FAQ section at devoted to the legal issues our firm covers, from injuries and accidents to family law; bankruptcy, medical malpractice to real estate. There’s a section explaining No-Fault coverage and how it works.

No-Fault Insurance in New York state means that the insurance carrier for your vehicle, rather than the insurance carrier for the other vehicle, pays your medical bills or lost wages. This is true regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident, hence the name.

Some No-Fault benefits:

  • All No-Fault policies in New York are required to provide TOTAL coverage of no less than $50,000 for both medical costs and lost wages.
  • No-Fault covers hospital and medical expenses.
  • No-Fault covers lost wages at 80%, up to $1,000 per month (that’s the N.Y. minimum, some policies pay more) for a period not exceeding three years

What doesn’t No-Fault cover?

No-Fault does not apply to property damage claims. Such claims are usually paid for by the insurance carrier for the vehicle that caused the collision or by your carrier if you carried collision coverage.

No-Fault does NOT apply to motorcycles.

It’s sad when accidents happen and people get injured. I think about Chris Ackley, the truck driver, just doing his job and probably a family and children relying on him at home.  He did nothing wrong, and yet he is now laying in a hospital bed.  No one yet knows why the accident happened, why the other driver left her lane. We have seen it happen many, many times in other cases. She could have been distracted by her cell phone, texting, changing the radio station, eating, or even putting on nail polish, the cause of a fatal accident I recently blogged about in the post “‘Nail Polish Crash’ Driver Sentenced for Causing Fatal Motorcycle Accident.”

Thanks for reading and please drive safely!

ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062

Southport Woman in Critical Condition After Crash

Reported by: Naveen Dhaliwal (

BIG FLATS – A Southport woman is in critical condition in Rochester.

The Chemung county sheriff says the crash happened about 10:15 am on Thursday morning on State Route 352 in the Town of Big Flats.

They say Christina Pappas of Southport was driving her jeep Cherokee westbound.  She veered into the eastbound lane and hit a Stroman’s bakery truck.

The Sheriff says the truck driver is 52-year-old Christopher Ackley.  Ackley is in stable condition at a local hospital.

Pappas is in critical condition in Rochester.  The Sheriff says the road was closed for about an hour and a half.  The road is open now.