New York Attorney Christopher McGrath Explains Benefits of Optional Basic Economic Loss Coverage to Those Injured in Car Accidents
In this informative and helpful piece, attorney Christopher T. McGrath advises car insurance holders in New York to consider purchasing Optional Basic Economic Loss coverage. This addition to basic, state-mandated coverage protects automobile accident victims with an extra $25,000.00 for medical costs and to offset lost wages.
In New York, when you have been seriously injured in a car accident, there are different types of insurance that may provide coverage, paying some of your medical bills and/or your lost earnings from work. One of those types of insurance is called Optional Basic Economic Loss (“OBEL”) coverage. OBEL coverage is what its name suggests: optional, not required. If obtained, OBEL coverage supplements the motorist insurance coverage that must be purchased by vehicle owners under New York State law.
Pursuant to New York law, every driver of a motor vehicle in New York is to possess mandatory Personal Injury Protection, otherwise known as No-Fault insurance. The mandatory amount of No-Fault coverage is $50,000.00. OBEL provides $25,000 in insurance coverage above the required $50,000 in No-Fault benefits. OBEL coverage applies to not only you, the policy holder, but to pedestrians, your family members, and your passengers, if they happen to be injured in an auto accident.
OBEL coverage is triggered under very specific circumstances. First, it applies only when your $50,000 worth of No-Fault coverage is exhausted. Next, OBEL permits you to direct how you would like the additional $25,000 in benefits to be paid. This important option affords the covered accident victim control over benefit coverage. In contrast, under basic, mandatory No-Fault coverage the first medical provider to bill the insurance company is the first to be paid.
With OBEL, the allocation of funds is yours to decide. The options available to you include the following:
1. Basic economic loss, whether health care expenses, loss of earnings from work, or other reasonable and necessary expenses;
2. Loss of earnings from work alone;
3. Psychiatric, physical, or occupational therapy and rehabilitation; or
4. Combination of options two and three.
It is important to understand that once you have chosen a listed option, you cannot change or switch to a different one. So allocated, all of the $25,000 of your OBEL coverage will be used exclusively for costs and/or expenses incurred under that option.
When you have been seriously injured in an accident, it is very important to determine the availability of OBEL. For the catastrophically injured, the first $50,000 of No-Fault coverage is exhausted rapidly, and these patients may face large, unpaid hospital bills at the time of their release. Instead of trying to understand the complexities of insurance law alone, especially when you are dealing with the havoc a motor vehicle collision may bring into your life, you should consult with a New York attorney, experienced in prosecuting lawsuits arising from car and truck accidents.
 To read more on New York’s No-Fault Law, visit https://www.newyorkinjurynews.com/2008/12/18/car-accident-christopher-t-mcgrath-attorney-new-york_20081218312.html and for a discussion on No-Fault’s Serious Injury requirement, visit https://www.newyorkinjurynews.com/2008/12/29/when-no-fault-inew-york-attorney-christopher-mcgrath-explains_20081229316.html.