No-Fault States: How This Impacts Accident Claims
Most individuals in America live with the safe understanding that, if they’re ever involved in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, the neglectful person’s insurance will pay for all damages. Specific nuances to the law will obviously vary depending upon which state an accident occurs in, but when it comes to “no-fault” states, many drivers are completely taken aback when they learn how negligence laws work in the state. This is why it’s so essential for anyone, regardless of whether they’re visiting or live in a no-fault state, understand the rules of liability when it comes to auto accidents.
Who Pays for Damages?
Unlike most other states in America, no-fault states do not automatically require a negligent party’s insurer to provide compensation for monetary losses in an accident. It is a person’s own insurer who will cover these losses. These laws are passed in an effort to reduce the amount of litigation that comes before the courts related to auto accidents, and in reality, it’s been shown to actually work. This doesn’t mean, however, that a person will always get what they think is fair.
No-fault laws require a person’s insurer to cover only financial damages. This could be medical bills, property damage and even lost wages. It doesn’t, however, cover general damages such as loss of enjoyment in life and pain and suffering losses. Luckily, the fact that an insurer will not automatically cover these doesn’t mean that a person still cannot receive this type of compensation.
Third Party Claims
When general damages do occur in an auto accident, a person in a no-fault state is often allowed to still file a lawsuit against the negligent party in their accident. This ensures that they’re able to collect what they’re fairly owed even within the confines of no-fault laws.
In these situations, a person often does well if they use an attorney to file their claim. Since the insurer of a negligent party will have already provided financial compensation to their policyholder, they’ll want to do everything in their power to avoid paying off the victim. Luckily, an attorney well versed in a state’s specific laws will know the best way to go about making these claims successful.
Variances in State Laws
Much like nearly every law in America, no-fault laws can still vary by state. While they have the same basic framework, how they are implemented can differ based on a state’s specific statutes. In New York, for instance, a person can only file a third-party lawsuit against the negligent driver if their economic losses exceeded $50,000 or they sustained what the state considers a “serious injury.” Retaining a New York Car accident lawyer would be ideal for such a claim.
A “serious injury” has very specific parameters under New York law. For this threshold to be met, there must have been an injury such as disfigurement, dismemberment, miscarriage, broken bones or a variety of other damaging injuries. If these factors are met, New York will allow an individual to file a third-party lawsuit. These variances are another important reason why a person in a no-fault state should have legal representation.
No-fault state rules are undoubtedly confusing to those who never had to live with them, but for those who call a no-fault state home, they’re a simple fact of life. Living in these areas, though, doesn’t mean that a person can’t get the compensation that they deserve after an accident. It’s simply important to understand a state’s laws and have appropriate legal help in these situations.
Lisa Coleman shares the impact of accident claims in no-fault states. She recently read online how a New York Car accident lawyer could legally make a difference for such a claim.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66992990@N00/8381226076/
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