In some states, there are no-fault auto insurance laws. This means that no matter who causes a car accident, the car insurance company of the injured driver will pay personal injury protection benefits. These benefits include lost wages, medical costs, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. The goal of these laws is to make sure that the negligent driver is protected from a lawsuit. This causes confusion, because the party who was harmed may believe they have no further recourse for compensation. This is not always the case. Here is what you need to know:
Can You Still Sue in a No-Fault State?
The goal of the laws in no-fault states is to keep car accident claims out of court. However, some accident claims can end up in court if you have incurred certain thresholds. These thresholds vary by state.
You may be able to take your case to court if someone died in the accident, if the medical costs exceed a certain dollar amount, if the injured party broke a bone, or if the injury resulted in permanent disfigurement or disability. You will need to discuss the thresholds in your state with your attorney to see if you are eligible to sue the negligent party in your accident based on your circumstances.
How Does Your Claim Work?
If you are injured in a car accident in a no-fault state, there are some different ways you can pursue your claim. You can sue the driver of the car that hit you if you have met or exceeded the thresholds in your state.
You also have an alternative option depending on your state. In some states, you have to decline the personal injury protection coverage to have your medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses covered by the insurer. If you do this, you are not bound by the restrictions in a no-fault state. You can then sue the other party directly. In other states, your injuries have to have exceeded the state's thresholds after personal injury protection benefits to an amount to what is considered non-economic damages. You can then sue the liable party for those damages.
To pursue a lawsuit for your car accident damages in a no-fault state can be extensive. You must work with an attorney to get the most out of your claim. Your attorney will be experienced in these cases and will be able to tell you if your accident claim is eligible for additional legal action.
For more information about personal injury law services, contact a local law office.