The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on August 1, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: No-Fault: Reimbursement for Court Filing Courts
Does the No-Fault law preclude a recovery by an applicant for No-Fault benefits for costs and/or disbursements incurred by the applicant under Section 1908 of both the New York Civil Court Act and McKinneys Uniform District Court Act, when the applicant has initiated a court action against the insurer for payment of benefits which have been denied?
No. An applicant for No-Fault benefits may recover from an insurer any costs and/or payments incurred in initiating a court action for the payment of benefits when such reimbursement is authorized by Section 1908 of both the New York Civil Court Act and McKinneys Uniform District Court Act.
This office has previously opined that under the No-Fault law, costs incurred by an applicant in initiating court actions are not reimbursable as covered No-Fault expenses. However, there is nothing in the No-Fault law or regulation that precludes an applicant from recovering any applicable costs and/or disbursements which are incurred when initiating a court action for the payment of benefits from an insurer and which are reimbursable to the applicant under Section 1908 of both the New York Civil Court Act and McKinneys Uniform District Court Act. Section 1908 of both Acts provide that:
Except where the contrary is specifically provided by law, a party to whom costs are awarded, or a prevailing party who has appeared in person, shall be allowed his necessary disbursements as follows:
- (a) All fees paid to the clerk or an enforcement officer, including injury fees, and the
reasonable expense of serving process where service is made by other than an
Therefore, it would appear that a prevailing applicant in a judicial action to recover denied benefits from a No-Fault insurer in New York Civil Court or one of the New York State District Courts, in accordance with Section 1908 of both the New York Civil Court Act or the Uniform District Court Act, may recover costs and/or disbursements from the insurer under those Acts.
For further information you may contact Supervising Attorney Lawrence M. Fuchsberg at the New York City Office.