New York operates under a no-fault system when it comes to auto accidents. If you are in a crash, it does not matter who caused it. Everyone will cover their losses and damages with their own insurance.
But there are some exceptions. You could face a lawsuit if you end up in one of two situations and the other party claims you caused the accident. Making the mistake of believing that under a no-fault system you will never have the risk of going to court is something many people do, but because of the exceptions, there is always a chance you may find yourself facing a lawsuit.
The no-fault law does allow one party to sue the other if they suffer serious injuries. The definition is not completely clear, but in general, you can assume excessive medical care required or debilitating injuries would fall under this umbrella. Typically, it means the damages the other party is seeking will be rather high. There is a threshold for the amount of expenses under the no-fault system of $50,000. Once costs reach that amount, the other party does have the right to take you to court for the expenses that exceed his or her insurance coverage.
The no-fault law does not apply in accidents involving motorcycles. Passengers or operators of a motorcycle involved in a crash can come after you for damages right away. They have the right to seek payment for all damages and losses they incurred as a result of the incident.
The no-fault system does protect you in some instances and up to a certain extent. But it does not completely keep you safe from a potential lawsuit in an accident for which you were responsible.