When a driver has been in an auto accident, no-fault auto insurance allows the driver to collect from his or her insurance company no matter who was at fault. Not every state has a no-fault insurance structure, but those that do have very specific laws governing when, how much and for how long the injured party may collect. Consult with an attorney to discuss how your state views fault and to determine how the laws may affect your right to recover damages for injuries.
How No-Fault Insurance Works
No-fault insurance is a system in which auto insurance pays benefits the insured driver in case of an accident. The insurance compensates the insured driver for monetary losses, no matter who was at fault. This is contrary to systems in which the at-fault driverís insurance company must pay the bulk of the compensation after an investigation and determination of fault by the insurance companies or the courts.
The system is designed to streamline the process of payments to injured people and to lower the burden on the courts. Under the no-fault insurance system, it can be more difficult to sue an at-fault driver for damages; the insured typically must have been quite seriously injured in order to take such legal action. On the other hand, monetary recovery for the insured is more certain under no-fault insurance because the compensation is immediately available through the insurance policy of the injured party. No-fault insurance policies often have a cap on the compensation they will pay.
The no-fault insurance system prevents injured parties from receiving a windfall due to the accident, but it also ensures compensation no matter who caused the accident. In a no-fault state, the other driver will also receive compensation from his or her insurance company if that driver sustained certain economic losses. The specifics of no-fault insurance laws vary widely by state.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
If you have a no-fault insurance policy, it is probably called a personal injury protection (PIP) package. PIP insurance pays for the medical expenses of the insured driver and the passengers who were injured in an auto accident. PIP insurance typically covers things like medical bills, wage loss and funeral expenses, but not pain and suffering or vehicle damage. This varies by state and particular insurance policy. The PIP packages have limits on what they will pay.
Speak with an Attorney
How you handle the situation after a motor vehicle accident can make a significant difference in your monetary recovery. Dealing with insurance companies can be especially tricky. In addition, the no-fault and fault insurance systems vary widely by state. Speaking with an attorney will help to clear up the confusion these systems can cause.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.