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No-fault Auto Insurance and Car Accidents

No-fault Auto Insurance and Car Accidents

Twelve states in the U.S. have "no-fault" automobile insurance laws, which limit the driver's ability to recover money from other drivers who cause automobile accidents. Instead, in the case of car crashes, each driver's own insurance pays for most accident-related expenses.

No-Fault Auto Insurance Basics

No-fault auto insurance rules vary from state to state, but generally restrict a driver who is injured in a crash from suing the person who was responsible for causing the accident. According to the Insurance Information Institute:

"Under current no-fault laws, motorists may sue for severe injuries and for pain and suffering only if the case meets certain conditions. These conditions, known as a threshold, relate to the severity of injury. They may be expressed in verbal terms (a descriptive or verbal threshold) or in dollar amounts of medical bills, a monetary threshold. Some laws also include minimum requirements for the days of disability incurred as a result of the accident."

Proponents of no-fault auto insurance argue that it decreases premiums and speeds the processing of claims. Opponents of no-fault insurance, however, say that states with no-fault insurance actually have higher premiums. Additionally, no-fault insurance doesn't sufficiently punish drivers whose negligence or reckless driving causes accidents in the first place.

As of 2013, no-fault automobile insurance is available in:

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

If you've been injured in an auto accident in a state with no-fault automobile insurance, a personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal options and whether you meet the threshold to file a lawsuit against the driver at fault in your accident.

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