No Fault vs. Fault States

If you have been involved in a car accident you may need compensation for lost wages, medical bills or property damage. What you may not realize is that certain states limit the rights of car accident victims to file a personal injury claim against another person if certain thresholds are not met.

Laws restricting these rights are called “no-fault” laws, and they have been implemented in a handful of states. Other states have not implemented these laws, and injured victims from a car accident claim may be able to file a personal injury claim for additional compensation after a car accident. If you are injured in a car accident and need more information about your rights, contact a personal injury lawyer for more information about filing a personal injury claim.

States with No-Fault Laws

If a state has passed no-fault laws it simply means that it does not matter which party in the accident is to blame. The injured person’s insurance will pay all of their lost wages and medical costs up to a specific policy limit. If the victim wishes to sue for additional damages, like pain and suffering, they may be unable to unless the medical costs or the severity of the injuries meet a specified state threshold.

Each state’s threshold may vary. In certain states, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the victim must suffer permanent and severe injuries to receive additional compensation. In Kentucky and Massachusetts, the cost of the victim’s medical expenses must exceed a dollar threshold before the victim can file a personal injury claim. All injuries must be documented by a medical professional. Talk to a car accident lawyer if you have questions about the laws in your state.

No-fault accident laws exist in the following states.. States with a monetary or serious injury threshold include the following:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Utah
  • Verbal thresholds:
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

No-fault insurance laws have been created to potentially eliminate the proliferation of unnecessary and frivolous personal injury claims. The ultimate goal for each state is to reduced to the cost of automobile insurance. Unfortunately, it may be more difficult in these states to receive adequate compensation for your car accident injuries.

At-Fault States

The remainder of the states have fault auto insurance which means that one or more parties can be held responsible for an injured person’s injuries. Under this system, the insurance companies do not make payments to the injured party until the injured party can prove who is responsible for their injuries.

In many cases there are several parties who are responsible and states have varies calculation methods they use to determine how payments should be dispersed based on the level of fault for each person involved.

At-fault states also allow the injured party, who does not agree with the compensation awarded by the insurance company, to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover additional damages. Additional damages can include wage loss compensation, medical compensation and compensation for pain and suffering. The right to sue is allowed in these states regardless of the severity of the injuries. Proponents of no-fault laws argue that this additional right to sue should be avoided to reduce costs.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

State laws vary and it is dangerous to rely on your insurance company for information about your rights to file a car accident injury claim. Do not forfeit your right to compensation without first talking to a car accident attorney.

If you have suffered any type of loss from your car accident, including wage loss, high medical costs, or damage to your property or car, a car injury lawyer can help.