New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

George E. Pataki
Governor

Gregory V. Serio
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on June 9, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Court Filing Costs Under No-Fault

Question Presented:

Are costs incurred by an applicant for No-Fault benefits in initiating a court action against a No-Fault insurer in order to resolve a dispute over the payment of No-Fault benefits reimbursable under No-Fault, specifically court filing fees and process server fees?

Conclusion:

No. Under the No-Fault law, costs incurred by an applicant in initiating court actions are not reimbursable as covered No-Fault benefits.

Facts:

None presented.

Analysis:

Pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 5106(a) (McKinney 2003), "If a valid claim or portion was overdue, the claimant shall also be entitled to recover his attorney’s reasonable fee, for services necessarily performed in connection with securing payment of the overdue claim, subject to limitations promulgated by the superintendent in regulations." This statutory mandate is implemented in No-Fault Regulation 68, which establishes limitations on reimbursement for attorney’s fees under No-Fault. Pursuant to N.Y. Comp. R. & Regs. tit. 11, Part 65-4.6 (2002), the only attorney fees eligible for reimbursement from a No-Fault insurer are derived from preparation and appearances at arbitration or court for dispute resolution, or fees based upon the issuance of an award of benefits to the applicant.

There is no provision in the regulation that permits or authorizes reimbursement for the costs incurred by an applicant in initiating a court action over disputed No-Fault benefits, such as court filing fees or process server fees.

For further information you may contact Supervising Attorney Lawrence M. Fuchsberg at the New York City Office.