Assignment of responsibility for compensation for injuries in a car accident is governed by the laws of the state where the accident happened. In a no-fault insurance state, and injured party is entitled to be reimbursed by their own insurance company for the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care and a portion of their lost wages, among other benefits. No-fault insurance is governed by a host of separate rules and procedures for resolving disputes between you and your no-fault insurance company. There are also specific rules that apply when pursuing a lawsuit against a negligent driver in a no-fault state. If you have been in an accident, it is important that you consult a personal injury lawyer with experience in motor vehicle accidents to discuss your state's laws and how they may affect your right to be compensated for your injuries.
A. No-Fault Insurance System
Any vehicle insurance system that requires all drivers to purchase insurance for their own injuries and limits a driver's ability to sue another driver is a “no-fault” insurance system. If you are involved in an accident under a no-fault insurance system, you are entitled to have your own insurance company pay for treatment expenses and wage losses, subject to the state statutes, regardless of who was at fault in causing the collision. Other drivers who were injured in the collision will likewise obtain compensation from their own insurance company.
The requirements for the type and amount of no-fault insurance vary from state to state. Some states allow an injured person to sue if their injuries are severe, while lawsuits depend on the total dollar amount of the injuries in other states. In many modified no-fault systems, insurance companies compensate the injured person for economic damages to the insurance policy limit, but the injured person can sue for non-economic damages greater than a certain amount only if their claim meets certain monetary thresholds. If you have been in an accident in a no-fault state, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in motor vehicle accidents to examine the facts and determine what benefits are available to you.
If you are insured in a no-fault state, that part of your motor vehicle insurance is usually called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The items covered under a Personal Injury Protection package varies from state to state, but generally, compensation is available for most costs related to an injury, including medical costs, lost wages, and loss of services, funeral expenses, and death benefits. Other types of compensation are usually not covered by no-fault insurance, including pain and suffering and emotional distress. Additionally, medical expenses or lost income above an established maximum is usually not covered.