No-Fault Car Accident States
In the United States there are 12 states that are considered no fault car accident states. These states fall under the no fault insurance system. What this means is that your insurance provider will cover all of your damages, whether you or the other driver was at fault. This only applies to a certain limit. See below a list of all no fault car states in the USA.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
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Frequently Asked Questions:
What does no fault mean?
If you are in a car accident, you may have heard something about a ‘no fault accident’ or ‘no fault insurance.’ What does this mean?
Approximately 12 states currently have what is called a ‘no fault’ system of various sorts. These states include FL, HI, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, NK, PA and UT.
No fault insurance means that your own auto insurance company will pay for some or all your damages, including property damage, medical bills and lost earnings, up to a certain amount that varies by state. Even if you were not at fault for the accident, no fault means your own insurance will cover your damages, but again, only up to a certain amount.
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Every state with no fault has different rules. Some require your own insurance to pay up only to $3000 or $5000; you then could make a claim or file a lawsuit against the other party for any additional damages. Some states, such as KY and PA, give you the choice to opt out of the no fault system when you buy auto insurance.
A no fault insurance claim may also be called a personal injury protection or PIP claim. This is where you make a claim with your own car insurer for payment of your medical bills, lost wages and other out of pocket damages after an auto accident. Note that you cannot make a pain and suffering claim against your own insurance; if you wish to do that, you may go outside the no fault system and file the claim or lawsuit against the other driver.
If you are in a no-fault state, it is a smart idea to carry more than the minimum level of insurance. If you are in a car accident with serious injuries, even if it is not your fault, you could have a large medical bill and lost earnings that your own insurance may not cover all of because you did not purchase enough insurance. Yes, you can file suit for the rest, but this takes weeks and months, while getting benefits from your own insurance policy is generally much faster.
How is responsibility determined in a “no-fault” state?
Auto insurance for most states is based upon the concept of fault. If the accident happens in a ‘fault state,’ then the person who caused the accident usually is responsible for paying for repairs, medical costs, pain and suffering, etc. for the injured party.
However, there are some states that are ‘no fault.’ This means that no matter who is at fault for the accident, your own insurance policy will pay for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of future wages, etc., up to a certain point.
There is no responsibility determined for an accident in a ‘no fault’ state in most cases because each party’s own insurance policy pays for their damages.
That said, there are cases where you can go outside the no fault system and still file a claim against the other driver. For example, if your medical bills are above a certain level, your state may allow you to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver. A common number is $3000 – if your damages go above this amount, you may be able to file a claim.
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Another factor regarding no fault claims is that you cannot make a pain and suffering claim on your own policy. So, if you want to do so, you will need to file the claim against the other driver if your medical damages rise to a certain level.
So, there are many cases where responsibility for the accident in a no-fault state does not occur. But if your damages rise to a certain level and include pain and suffering claims, then you will rely upon the insurance and/or legal system to determine the other party was at fault for the accident and allow you to claim damages from their policy.
How does no fault auto insurance work?
There are about 12 states that have a no-fault auto insurance system. These states are Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah. No fault insurance means your own auto insurance policy will pay for some or all of your medical bills and lost earnings if you are in a car accident. In most cases, your policy will pay for your damages even if you were not at fault for the accident. Most no-fault auto insurance claims are made through your policy’s personal injury protection plan. This is mandatory coverage in most no-fault states.
In most claims in a no-fault state, you will file your auto accident claim with your own insurance company. However, there are exceptions. You cannot make a pain and suffering claim against your own policy. You can only go after this type of compensation from the at fault driver, IF your medical bills rise to a certain level, or your injury is determined to be serious. In these limited cases, you may be allowed to go outside the no fault rules for your state.
For instance, your state laws may not allow a personal injury claim against the other driver until your medical costs go over $3000, or if you have a serious injury such as a broken bone. The purpose of these rules is to try to streamline auto accident cases, particularly small claims.
For instance, if you are in a car accident and have $7500 in bills and the other driver is at fault, you may be able to go outside the no fault system, if your injury is ‘serious’ according to state law. This might include a broken bone, disfigurement, permanent limitation or full disability for 90 days. This needs to be determined by a doctor.
Can you sue for a car accident if your state is a no-fault state?
For the most part, you cannot file a lawsuit against the other driver in a no-fault state. This system has been set up in 12 states to limit the number of personal injury claims. You usually must file your claim with your own insurance company to pay for your lost wages and medical costs.
However, most at fault states do allow lawsuits against the at fault driver if the personal injuries meet a certain threshold; note that the definition of this threshold will vary by state. The injured person can usually file a lawsuit against the other driver if the claim is more than a dollar amount – $3000 is common – and/or the injury is determined by a doctor to be serious. In most states, this means that the injury must involve the loss of use of a body part, disfigurement, bone fracture or permanent disability. Some states feature both, so you can sue if the claim meets either standard.
For example, states with a monetary threshold for filing a lawsuit are HI, KS, KY, MA, MN, ND and UT. States that have a serious injury threshold are FL, MI, NJ, NY and PA. The choice states are KY, NJ and PA.
Keep in mind that if you want to file a lawsuit against the other driver, you will need to be seen by a medical professional in many cases to determine if your injuries are serious enough to warrant filing suit. Or, you will need to prove that your medical costs and lost wages are more than a certain dollar amount.
Because of the different laws in each state regarding personal injury protection, whether you can sue or not will always depend upon the no fault law in your state. The best idea is to talk to a personal injury attorney who is well versed in your state’s no-fault insurance laws.
Will a car accident in a no fault state have different payouts than in other states?
If you live in a no-fault state, the laws will affect the amount of any potential personal injury compensation owed as a result from a car accident. In a no-fault state, the general law is that all drivers are to insure themselves. In the case of an auto accident, if you are injured and have damages to your vehicle, the source of compensation owed will come from your own insurance provider. Payouts will be different in a no-fault state due to the insurance coverage you have chosen. It is possible you can file a lawsuit against someone to recover damages if certain criteria are met. No- fault insurance covers the medical expenses under your PIP policy. The policy will cover inconvenience, disfigurement and punitive damages. Drivers are required to have no-fault insurance in order to have the following coverage:
- Personal injury protection: Covers medical expenses and pays as high as 85% of wages lost for up to three years.
- Residual liability: Protection from being sued by others (with the exception of special circumstances).
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Can you sue for pain and suffering in a no fault state?
No-fault states are tricky when lawsuits are involved. Certain criteria must be met in order to sue. This is to prevent any fraudulent claims that may be attempted to file. For instance, if you are experiencing any minor, soft tissue injuries such as whiplash, it is not viewed as a serious enough injury and will not meet criteria for a lawsuit. In a no-fault state it is highly unlikely that you will be compensated for non-economical damages including pain and suffering. Although you cannot sue for pain and suffering from an injury caused by a collision, you can still receive compensation from your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) for medical expenses as well as wages lost during recovery time. Every State has different laws and some have loopholes that allow you to collect compensation for pain and suffering through a monetary threshold. This means that your medical costs for your injuries must exceed a specific dollar sum.
How long does a not at fault accident stay on your record?
When you become involved in a traffic accident regardless if it was your fault or not, your auto insurance rates will increase. Numerous drivers are uninformed as to how long an accident will remain on their record or falsely believe there are no options to reform their record. Over time the accident on your record will be lifted and insurance rates will go back to normalcy however, the accident will remain on your record for 3 years starting from the day of the accident. Now, in order to keep insurance rates from skyrocketing, you have options such a defensive driving courses. You will be paying extra out of pocket to take such course however, this will help insurance rates from increasing. Other factors that go into determining how insurance rates will fluctuate will be influenced on your past driving record. If this is your first accident with minimal damages, some insurance policies have accident forgiveness and will not punish your first offense.
Does no fault insurance cover car damage?
If you live in a no-fault state you are required to have no-fault insurance. So what does no-fault insurance cover? Every policy is different and every State is different, but generally they all follow the same guidelines. Unfortunately, most States exclude property damage and are typically not covered. This means that damage to your vehicle and damages to the other parties’ vehicle will not be covered. Although property damage is not covered by no-fault insurance, there are other opportunities for coverage. If you would like property damage coverage, it is likely you will need to purchase a separate coverage for collision damage. In the unfortunate event you become involved in an accident and sustain damage to yours or the other parties’ vehicle, it would be wise to have collision insurance coverage in order to make a claim with your own insurance company to be compensated for the damages.
What Happens in a No Fault Accident?
Were you involved in an accident? Was it determined that there was no fault involved? This usually occurs when there are no tickets issued to any of the drivers involved in the accident by the responding police officers. Accidents with no fault also occur because none of the drivers involved broke a traffic law, the officer was not present to witness the crash, and when observing the scene, the officer cannot deem who would be at fault for the crash. So, what happens in a no fault accident?
You Can Pursue a Claim
Even though no fault was handed out by the officer after the accident you can still pursue a claim, especially if you suffered an injury as a result of the crash. You will need to work with a personal injury attorney who can open an investigation into the crash to help determine which of the drivers involved was at fault for the crash. This will go a long way in determining if you can recover compensation for your injuries.
Carry No-Fault Insurance
It’s best that you carry no-fault insurance as part of your overall auto insurance policy. Why? This insurance, also known as personal injury protection, or PIP, will help protect you when involved in an accident, no matter who is deemed to be the at-fault driver. This means you will be able to file a claim against your own insurance company for your medical bills, lost wages, and any other damages incurred because of the crash. This type of insurance policy helps lower overall insurance costs because you don’t have to build a case that proves the other driver was the cause of the accident.
Will No Fault Insurance Cover You if You Were Driving Drunk?
Drunk driving is a serious crime that thousands of people are charged with annually across the country. Many who are involved in drunk driving accidents often wonder if their no fault insurance policy will cover them for the crash. This is a common question many attorneys receive from their clients and the answer is not cut and dry. There are times where the policy will cover you and times where the no fault insurance policy will not cover you if you were driving drunk.
Is it Intentional Conduct?
Where insurance companies get you is by claiming that driving drunk is intentional conduct. Insurance companies will not cover their drivers for any accident that involved intentional conduct. Some will argue that drunk driving is intentional conduct because the driver intentionally drank the alcohol, intentionally got drunk, and then intentionally drove their vehicle. They will also argue that the driver then knew what the consequences of their actions would be if they drove drunk.
You Should be Covered
For the most part, you should be covered if you are involved in a drunk driving accident when you have no fault insurance on your policy. Almost all claims involving personal injury are solely based on the fact that the at-fault party acted in a negligent manner or made a mistake in their actions. This is why most insurance companies will provide coverage for drivers who were driving drunk at the time of an accident. There is still the outside chance that coverage will be denied if the accident is serious enough that it could be deemed you acted intentionally.
Who Pays for Car Damage in a No Fault State?
Another important question many car accident victims ask their attorney centers around the damage to the car. Who will pay for the car damage in a no fault state? First off, a no fault state is one in which fault does not need to be determined in order for compensation to be paid out to the victim of a car accident. So, who winds up footing the bill for the damage to your car if you live in a no fault state?
Your Insurance Company
In almost all car accidents that occur in a no fault state, your own insurance company will foot the bill for the damage to your car. This is due to you holding no fault insurance and the lack of requirements from the state that negligence must be proven. There are some states out there that do not require insurance companies to pay for the damage to your car even if they are no fault states. You should always review your insurance policy periodically, as well as the laws of your state, to understand what will be covered in the event of an accident.
Up to Policy Limits
It doesn’t matter where your car accident occurred, in a fault or no fault state, the insurance company that holds your policy will only pay a claim up to the limits of your policy. This means that if you have a policy limit of $15,000 and the total amount of damage to your vehicle was $20,000, you will need to file a claim with the insurance carrier and then file a lawsuit against the other driver for the remainder of the damage. If the repair costs for your vehicle exceed the vehicle’s value, it will be declared a total loss. The insurance company will issue you payment for the fair market value of the vehicle and then take it from you.
Do You Have to Pay a Deductible in a No Fault State?
Many drivers often wonder who has to pay the deductible when involved in a car accident. What about a deductible in a no fault state? The thought of having to pay a deductible after being involved in a car accident, especially one where you were not at fault, is very stressful. When you have to pay a deductible you typically have to pay it out of your own pocket before repairs can be made to your vehicle. There are some instances where the insurance company will deduct it from the total value of the claim they are going to pay you after the accident.
Deductible Not Impacted
The deductible on your insurance policy will not be impacted if you are involved in a car accident that happens in a no fault state. Why? Because no fault insurance typically only covers lost wages and medical expenses, not the damage to your vehicle from the crash. This means that you will still need to file a claim against your insurance company for the damage caused to your vehicle and pay the deductible as requested, most often out of your own pocket for repairs.
Required to Pay the Deductible
You are required to pay the deductible that you agreed to when you signed on the dotted line for your insurance policy whether you are in a fault or no fault state. If you fail to pay the deductible to the insurance company, the company will not issue you a check for repairs and you will either have to drive the vehicle with damage or find alternative transportation. It is possible that you could be reimbursed for the deductible you pay and it could come from your own insurance company, the other driver’s insurer, or even the other driver involved in the car accident.
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