Car accidents happen for a lot of different reasons:: weather, inattention, driver impairment, and more. Most if not all collisions cause damage to your car. Many cause physical injuries, lost wages, medical bills, and even fatalities. All of these can impact how much money to which you are entitled. But, by far the most important factor in determining the value of most cases is the location of the crash. If your car accident happened in a no-fault state, both the procedure and outcome will be different than if your crash happened in a fault-based state.
What ‘No-Fault’ State Means for You
Generally, state law determines whether car accidents will be judged as no-fault or by another method. For example, Michigan is a no-fault state, but Illinois and Indiana are not.
In no-fault states, everyone in an accident files a claim with his or her own insurance company to cover medical expenses and other claims such as loss of income, etc.. You will not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect pain and suffering unless damages exceed a certain level of expenses incurred and/or a particular severity of the injury. Also, your insurance may not agree to compensate you for pain and suffering. In cases like this, you must file a lawsuit against the other driver and/or owner of the at-fault vehicle.
On the other hand, the at-fault driver in a ‘fault’ state may foot the bill for most, if not all, damages incurred by everyone in the accident.
Sometimes damages are split between the parties based on their own percentage of fault.
For example, two cars driven by Dana and Chris collide in an intersection possibly because Dana failed to yield to Chris. Both drivers are injured, and their cars are damaged. In a no-fault state, Dana and Chris both will file claims with their insurance companies. However, if the accident occurred in a fault state, Dana might be found at fault and have to pay for Chris’s damages as well as his own.
State Liability Laws Matter
In some cases, liability laws also play a part in how much compensation you might receive. Typically, your accident may be judged under one of three general types of negligence:
- Pure Comparative Negligence. You may be found partially at fault for the accident. Your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
- Modified Comparative Negligence. In some states, you can only recover financially if your percentage of blame is less than 50 percent.
- Contributory Negligence. You may receive nothing if you were even partially at fault for any damages.
Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan adopted modified comparative negligence laws for personal injury lawsuits, including those involving car accidents.
Will No-Fault State Laws Affect Your Compensation?
In some cases, the answer is yes. State laws in no-fault and fault states could determine how much you receive and who pays. Since this is a complicated issue, it’s important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer.
At the Dailey Law Firm, P.C., our team of skilled lawyers and professionals provide sound and current legal representation that you need. Call us at 844-342-5353 to set up a free consultation or use the Contact Form on our website. There’s no fee for personal injury cases unless we win.