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What Is The Difference Between An ‘At-Fault State’ and a “No-Fault State’?

Submitted by Elizabeth V on

Being involved in a car accident can leave you facing medical bills and various other such expenses. Luckily, you might avoid covering the cost of these expenses yourself by filing a car accident claim with an insurance company.

How you seek compensation can vary depending on a number of factors. A major such factor is whether you live in an at-fault state or a no-fault state.

What Is An At-Fault State?

You may be a responsible driver. Nevertheless, it’s possible to sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident as a result of the negligence of another party.

Such an experience may significantly impact your finances. For example, your injuries may require costly medical treatment. They could also prevent you from working and earning an income.

You shouldn’t have to pay for these expenses yourself if your accident resulted from another party’s actions or carelessness. In an at-fault state, when someone else’s negligence causes an accident, a victim can seek compensation accordingly by filing a car accident claim with the negligent party’s insurance.

Sometimes, the party who causes an accident isn’t insured. Or, their insurer might not offer the compensation a victim deserves. Filing a lawsuit to seek damages in court might be an option in these circumstances.

What Is a No-Fault State?

Most states in the U.S. are at-fault states in regard to car accidents and car insurance. However, some states use the no-fault system.

In a no-fault state, a motorist typically needs to purchase car insurance offering a certain degree of personal injury protection (PIP). If they ever sustain injuries in a car accident, they can seek compensation by filing a car accident claim with their own insurance, even if someone else caused their accident.

The following are currently no-fault states:

Puerto Rico also uses the no-fault system. Be aware, states sometimes change their car accident laws, with a no-fault state potentially becoming an at-fault state.

It’s also worth noting that filing a car accident claim or lawsuit with the party whose negligence causes an accident is sometimes still an option in a state that uses the no-fault system. In many no-fault states, victims can seek additional compensation if their injuries/losses are severe enough to meet certain criteria.

How Is Fault Determined In a Car Accident?

Determining whose negligence resulted in a collision is vital before filing a car accident claim with a liable party’s insurance. Ways to potentially determine fault in a car accident include:

You don’t need to investigate an accident yourself to identify the liable party. Determining fault is a task a personal injury lawyer can assist you with.

Considering a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether you live in a no-fault state or an at-fault state, negotiating with an insurance company for the full amount of compensation you may deserve after an accident is often easier with assistance from a car accident personal injury lawyer.

If you’re planning on filing a car accident claim, strongly consider taking the Free Case Evaluation form on this page today to get connected and speak with an attorney accepting clients in your area who can review your case today.

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