States can establish their laws, especially when it comes to auto accidents. For this reason, you may have heard about some states adopting a no-fault guideline. At first glance, it is easy to simply assume that this guideline means that no person can be held responsible, or at fault, for an accident. However, the truth is much more complex than this. Should you live in a no-fault state, you need to be informed.
The Basis of No-Fault
First, it is important to understand that the no-fault term has little to do with fault or negligence. Instead, these laws dictate who an accident victim can seek damages from. In no-fault states, recovery for any losses incurred as a result of the accident must be submitted to your own insurance company. Whereas in states without this law, victims generally recoup damages from the insurance company of the person thought to be responsible or file suit against them.
Potentially Faster Process
An advantage of the no-fault process is the fact that the settlement process is generally faster. Lawsuits take time to process as several legal requirements go along with the process. As a result, it takes longer for the victim to receive compensation. In a no-fault state, since you are submitting a direct claim with your insurance company, the process is generally handled much faster.
A drawback of this process is the fact that victims are sometimes limited in terms of the claims they can submit. For example, in a state without this law, victims can also seek compensation for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are those that do not necessarily have a specific dollar amount and must be calculated, such as pain and suffering. In a no-fault state, you can generally only receive compensation for medical expenses and property damage.
While there are claim limits, it is equally important to remember that no-fault states do provide provisions for high-value claims. If the value of the claim exceeds the compensation threshold set by the state or the individual suffered a serious injury, they can bypass a claim submission to their insurance company and instead file a suit against the responsible party. Keep in mind; if your case does not meet the requirements, you will not be able to move forward, so you want to be certain.
Again, no-fault laws are not as black and white as you might assume; they are quite complex. To ensure you are exercising your rights to the fullest extent of the law, partner with an attorney who can help you with a claim.
For more information, contact an accident lawyer in your area.