What Is a “No-Fault State” and What Does This Mean for My Claim?
In the USA, different states set different laws regarding how drivers can claim compensation for injuries as a result of road accidents. Though the regulations differ from state to state, there are two broad law types – tort and no-fault. Understanding the difference between the two is essential because it will affect how and when you can make a claim depending on which state you reside in (or had your accident).
First, let’s look at what a ‘no-fault’ car insurance state is.
Introducing No-Fault Care Insurance States
In a no-fault state, of which there are about a dozen, a person involved in an accident can’t claim compensation from the at-fault driver. Instead, their own insurance company is liable to cover costs such as medical bills, loss of income and other out-of-pocket damages. Usually, your insurance will include Personal Injury Protection, which means your insurer – regardless of who caused your accident – will be liable to provide you with compensation following an accident.
A primary aspect of the no-fault scheme is that you can never make a claim for pain and suffering with your own insurance company. You can only pursue this kind of claim against the at-fault driver if the cost of your medical bills surpasses a certain threshold (your insurance company will usually set these rules). The state may also have related laws. For example, your state may prohibit you from claiming against the at-fault driver unless you suffer a severe injury, or your medical bills exceed $3,000.
The no-fault scheme aims to make car insurance cheaper and prevent fraud. For example, your insurance company will probably request that you undertake a medical exam with a physician of their choice to make sure you can’t demand more money than you need.
What Are The No-Fault States?
There are currently around a dozen ‘no-fault’ car insurance states, though many states have complicated laws that incorporate tort and no-fault regulations. Tort states allow you to secure compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover medical bills, loss of earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.
Currently, the no-fault states include:
- New Jersey
- District of Columbia
- New York
- North Dakota
Things to Bear in Mind
When you make a claim against your insurer in a no-fault state, your insurance company may not be liable to cover 100% of your medical bills. Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of your state so that you can select the most suitable type of cover for your requirements. The last thing you need is to be bankrupted by a car accident because you chose a cheap policy with an inadequate personal injury protection (PIP) aspect.
Finally, you must cooperate with your insurance company in a no-fault claim. You should also probably avoid giving the at-fault driver’s insurer a statement. If you fail to communicate with your insurance company or see a physician to assess your injury without their permission, you might not be able to make a claim.
Discuss Your Case with Our Legal Experts
Corradino & Papa, LLC employs a highly experienced team of personal injury lawyers in New Jersey that knows the ins and outs of the no-fault laws that exist in our state. If you need advice or help to make a claim, we encourage you to give us a call.